Areas of expertise
Laura Airas – a neurologist and neuroimmunologist – directs a multi-disciplinary research group at Neurocenter and the National PET-center at Turku University and the Turku University Hospital. In her clinical practice, she treats patients with multiple sclerosis and other neuroimmunological diseases, and she also leads several clinical trials focusing on multiple sclerosis. Research in her group focuses on the use of advanced MRI techniques and PET imaging to understand the neuroimmunology-related sources of disability in multiple sclerosis and on ways of adapting those approaches for research trials and patient care. She is particularly interested in harnessing noninvasive imaging modalities to dissect biological mechanisms of tissue damage.
As a Professor of Neuroimmunology Airas is responsible for neuroimmunological education at the Medical school of the University of Turku. Currently she has under supervision 10 PhD, 4 master’s thesis and 2 extended studies medical students. She participates regularly in domestic and international scientific congresses as a presenter and organizer.
The major goal of research in Airas group is to understand the pathobiology of multiple sclerosis using noninvasive or minimally invasive imaging methods – particularly MRI and PET. The group develops and performs experiments with new MRI techniques and new PET ligands on state-of-the-art imaging equipment housed in the Turku PET Center, to elucidate the biological underpinnings of imaging abnormalities. This will help understand how such abnormalities relate to clinical disability. Corollary goals of the research are to adapt new imaging and soluble biomarker techniques as biologically (and hopefully clinically) relevant outcome measures in both clinical trials and routine patient care, and to apply them to other inflammatory diseases of the central nervous system.