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At the dawn of drug discovery
for neurodegenerative diseases
Human In Vitro Models for Parkinson's Disease
Who are we?

KAJO Neurotechnologies is comprised of a dynamic team of eight dedicated scientists and experienced startup founders. As a Research to Business project, generously funded by Business Finland, our mission is to bring to market two decades of groundbreaking research in Parkinson's disease and neurodegeneration, originating from the renowned Airavaara Lab at the University of Helsinki.

Our Vision

We envision a future where neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and Multiple System Atrophy can be cured, prevented, or at the very least, effectively modulated. Our goal is to contribute to ensuring a high quality of life for our ageing population.


The KAJO team has pioneered an in vitro drug screening platform specifically designed for Parkinson's disease. Constructed with human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), the platform faithfully recapitulates the pathophysiological hallmarks of Parkinson's disease and ageing neurons. This innovative tool is instrumental in the development of novel treatments for this debilitating condition.

Who are we
How it works
KAJO Neurotechnologies is a Research to Business Commercialisation project affiliated with the University of Helsinki and Funded by Business Finland


Vassilis Stratoulias

Head of R&D

Leading the scientific efforts at KAJO team is Vassilis, who has extensive expertise in neuroscience. Vassilis holds an M.Sc. in Biochemistry from University of Sussex, U.K., and a Ph.D. in Genetics from University of Helsinki, Finland. His insatiable curiosity and dedication to scientific exploration led him to pursue a PostDoc at the prestigious Karolinska Institutet in Sweden

Joel Noutere

Head of Commercialisation

Joel brings a unique blend of expertise to the KAJO team, with a background in Physics and Molecular Biology. Over the past seven years, he has been immersed in the startup world, serving as the co-founder and CEO of a Life Science software startup. Prior to joining KAJO, Joel played a role in commercialization activities at an Organ-on-a-Chip startup, showcasing his commitment to advancing innovative technologies in the life sciences sector.


Amanda Sandelin, MSc

Research Scientist

Amanda Sandelin is a Doctoral Researcher at the University of Helsinki and a Research Scientist at KAJO Neurotechnologies. After obtaining a Master of Science in Translational Medicine, she continued work towards her doctoral thesis focusing on translational preclinical studies. She is working with the experienced team of scientists behind KAJO, developing the human stem cell-derived models of Parkinson’s disease. 

Simas Janutenas, MSc

Research Scientist

Simas, a Doctoral Researcher at the University of Helsinki and Research Scientist at KAJO Neurotechnologies, earned a master's in Neurosciences from the University of Helsinki. Joining the team post-graduation, I embarked on my doctoral thesis, centering on translational preclinical studies of Parkinson's disease. As part of the experienced and innovative team at KAJO, our focus is on developing human stem cell-derived models for Parkinson's disease.


Mikko Airavaara, PhD

Principal Investigator

Mikko has been interested in brain dopamine systems and Parkinson’s disease for over 20 years. My particular focus has been in neurotrophic factors and more recently in protein homeostasis. He did his PhD in pharmacology 2006 in University of Helsinki and afterwards a post-doctoral training in National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH, USA 2007-2011. Then, he established his group in the Institute of Biotechnology and 2019 moved to Neuroscience Center as a group leader. Since 2021 I have been professor of pharmacology and drug development at the University of Helsinki.

Jenni Montonen

Laboratory Coordinator

Jenni, our laboratory coordinator, has been an integral part of the BRAIN✓REPAIR group since the summer of 2019. She brings extensive experience in cell culture and stem cells, along with proficiency in diverse methods and techniques, including advanced techniques in molecular and cell biology and immunogenetics.


Irena Hlushchuk, MSc

Research Scientist

Irena has completed her MSc (pharm) studies in Lviv National Medical University and MSc in University of Helsinki. Her expertise is focused on studying neurodegeneration and researching relevant modelling of neurodegeneration processes in the brain.

Safak Er, PhD

Research Scientist

Safak has expertise in molecular biology techniques such as cloning, lentivirus production, gene editing, and quantitative image analysis from large data sets. She conducted experiments with neuronal cell cultures, including midbrain dopamine neurons and animal models of Parkinson's disease. Safak got her Bachelor's in Molecular Biology and Genetics from Koc University, Istanbul (Turkiye). After completing her Master's in Science (Biotechnology) at University of Helsinki, she pursued her doctorate in Neuropharmacology at the same institution, Faculty of Pharmacy. Her doctoral thesis explored the cellular mechanisms for preventing Parkinson's disease affiliated pathologies inside the neurons. In addition to her active career in research, Safak volunteers for science outreaching initiatives, and continues teaching and supervising at the university. Outside of work, she enjoys yoga, boxing, and nature.

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Supported By
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