Innovating Medical Technologies in Interdisciplinary Teams


Fellows of the Biodesign Finland project in 2017


From left to right: Jari Rantala, Kalle Kotilahti, and Sami Elamo. Picture: Mikko Raskinen, Aalto University

Sami Elamo, M.D., M.Sc.

Sami is a medical doctor with a specialist degree in orthopedics and traumatology from the University of Turku. He also holds a degree in the field of industrial engineering from Tampere University of Technology. In addition to clinical work, Sami has worked along the way in IT industry for companies like Logica and CGI. He has also participated in projects concerning patient record systems and registries in Turku University Hospital. Sami is pursuing a Ph.D. degree; his study deals with the operative treatment of traumatic anteroinferior instability of the shoulder. Sami spends his spare time with his family with two little boys and wife doing sports and travelling. Floorball, cross-country and telemark skiing, snowboarding, and running keep him going.

Kalle Kotilahti, Ph.D.

Kalle is an engineer with a doctorate in Engineering Physics from Aalto University. For the last 13 years, he has worked as a researcher developing functional brain imaging suitable for small children. Kalle has a constant drive to develop easier, faster, and more efficient solutions for research as well as for everyday problems. He sees the Biodesign Finland project as a unique chance for an engineer to innovate by starting from the actual clinical needs. When not working, Kalle enjoys cycling, trekking, and traveling with his family.

Jari Rantala, M.Sc.

Jari is an innovation and technology transfer professional with a M.Sc. degree from Tampere University of Technology, where he majored in Physics and minored in Biomedical Engineering. Jari has wide experience from different aspects and roles of research-based innovation development, including intellectual-property creation, start-up coaching, entrepreneurship, licensing negotiation, business development, and funding preparation. Jari believes in multidisciplinary co-creation and in the fact that today’s blue ocean innovations are born on the edges of different disciplines. In his spare time, Jari enjoys “torturing” himself in the gym, traveling, drawing, and taking long walks with his two old best friends (dogs) plus one younger (wife) ;).

Fellows of the Biodesign Finland project in 2016


From left to right: Katja Ivanitskiy, Anssi Mikola, Jukka Kärkimaa and Sakari Nikinmaa

Katja Ivanitskiy, M.D.

Katja is a medical doctor with a specialist degree in Public Health Medicine at the University of Helsinki. In addition to clinical experience gained as a physician in primary health care, Katja has worked in the pharmaceutical industry in the areas of clinical trials and drug safety and as an investigator in clinical vaccine trials at the Vaccine Research Center of the University of Tampere. Katja has also wide regulatory experience on medicinal products that she gained while working in pharmacovigilance at the Finnish Medicines Agency in close collaboration with the European Medicines Agency. Katja is interested in entrepreneurship and, in her spare time, dedicates herself to equestrian sports and competes in showjumping.

Anssi Mikola, M.Sc.

Anssi is a serial entrepreneur with a master’s degree in Naval Engineering. For the last 15 years, he has been working on making health and social care more efficient. Anssi’s strengths are an endless appetite for leaning about new problems and solutions and combining them into new solutions. After numerous years of healthcare consulting projects in UK, Scandinavia, and India, Anssi co-founded Megaklinikka, which commercialized a process innovation of turning dental care patient- rather than dentist-driven. The result was a 40% reduction in cost and doubling the productivity of the dentists. The company is treating over 30,000 patients a year. In his spare time, Anssi enjoys biking, skiing, sailing, and travelling – when not inventing new products or businesses.

Jukka Kärkimaa, M.Sc.

Jukka is a passionate engineer with a M.Sc. degree in Engineering Physics from Aalto University. In addition to experimental physics he has a solid understanding of how to best extract relevant information from data, based on his minor in Information and Computer Science and several years of industry experience from practical, data-intensive applications. Before joining Biodesign Finland, he worked at Eniram Ltd delivering performance-optimization systems and analytics to the maritime industry, helping large vessels to save fuel. Driven by his curiosity of systems thinking, Jukka sees Biodesign as the best way forward in developing healthcare systems and as an ideal platform for talented people to contribute to the society. In his spare time, Jukka enjoys running, dancing, yoga, and spending time in nature with his friends and family.ärkimaa-30b...

Sakari Nikinmaa, M.Sc.

Sakari received his master's degree at Aalto University in 2016 majoring in bioelectronics and minoring in industrial management. He has gained substantial research and work experience by working three years at the HBBG laboratory at Aalto University and by doing an internship in the Andino Lab at UCSF in California. During his studies and work, Sakari has specialized in design and manufacturing of microfluidic systems with embedded electronics and in the research of biological systems. Sakari is a team player who believes that interdisciplinary teamwork is the greatest source of innovation. He loves mountain biking, climbing, and spending time outdoors with his dog.