People make the difference

Contact us

General inquiries: info at

Our offices are at Biomedicum 1 (Haartmaninkatu 8) at Meilahti campus in Helsinki, Arvo (Arvo Ylpön katu 34) at Kauppi campus in Tampere, Medisiina D (Kiinamyllynkatu 10) at Kupittaa campus in Turku and Snellmania (Yliopistonranta 1E) at UEF Kuopio campus.

You’ll find us also from LinkedIn

Management team

Below you find our professionals that are supporting project teams and coordinate activities at SPARK Finland.

Our email addresses are forename.surname at


Anu Meerwaldt

Development Manager, MSc
+358 50 320 4176

Anu Meerwaldt

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Anu is a business-oriented biomedical scientist who holds a MSc in Neuroscience (Utrecht University) and a MSc in Industrial Engineering (Lappeenranta University). She has several years of experience in business consultancy working with large Finnish and European companies. Her biomedical career (UMC Utrecht & Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai) focuses on medical imaging and nanotechnology and she is currently finalising her PhD. She also works – alongside with SPARK – as a business development officer at University of Helsinki Innovation and Entrepreneurship Team.

Her core responsibilities at SPARK Finland are in commercial aspects of the projects and coordination of SPARK activities in Helsinki capital region.

Janina Stauffer

Research & Innovation Coordinator, PhD
+358 44 723 0013

Janina Stauffer

Janina has an academic background as a researcher and teacher at University of Turku (Department of Biology, Physiology and Genetics). As a researcher she focused on ecophysiology and biological ageing. She received her PhD in biosciences in September 2018.

Her main responsibility at SPARK Finland is coordination of SPARK activities and supporting project teams in Turku region. In addition to her role at SPARK, she is involved in several key programs and projects in the Turku region’s health and life science ecosystem as a Innovation Coordinator at The Wellbeing Services County of Southwest Finland and Research Coordinator at the University of Turku (Faculty of Medicine).

Helena Lähdekorpi

Innovation Specialist, MSc
+358 50 309 4393

Helena Lähdekorpi

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Helena is a biomedical professional and holds a MSc in Biomaterials from Tampere University of Technology. She has several years of practical hands-on experience working in HealthTech start-ups mainly focusing on quality, product development and sales of medical devices and other health care products. In addition to SPARK, she works as an Innovation Specialist in Tampere University Innovation Services where she supports university researchers on their path of turning promising research results into successful commercial products.

Helena manages jointly with Juho the SPARK activities in Tampere Region.

Irina Lavikainen

Senior Innovation Advisor, MSc
+358 50 400 1539

Irina Lavikainen

Irina has a degree in MSc in Economic Sciences (management and organization). She also works as a senior innovation advisor at University of Eastern Finland Entrepreneurship and Innovation Services.

She has experience in project management and developing innovations towards their commercial potential. Inventions and technology transfer are some key elements of her work. In addition as a part of her work she is evaluating business ideas in Draft Programme which aims at supporting also researchers to test their ideas with the help of small funding. Coordination of SPARK activities both in Joensuu and Kuopio regions are part of the responsibilities.

Heli Laine

Business Cooperation Coordinator, MSc
+358 50 533 8891

Heli Laine

Heli works as a Business Cooperation Coordinator at University of Eastern Finland Entrepreneurship and Innovation Services. In this topic she has experience in project management and developing support activities for researches and students both university and university hospital. Strengthening cooperation between industry and the university is also one key element of her work. Heli has a MSc in economics and business administration from University of Eastern Finland.

Her core responsibilities at SPARK Finland are support activities and organizing events in Kuopio and Joensuu regions.

Päivi Mulari-Matikainen

+358 29 4126414

Päivi Mulari-Matikainen

Päivi has a long career as an assistant at the University of Helsinki. She has been former assistant for two deans of the Faculty of Medicine, and currently she works closely with professor Risto Renkonen, who is also a board member at University of Helsinki. Päivi has expertise in administrative functions, organizing events, and collaboration between scientific and clinical institutions.

Her core responsibilities at SPARK Finland are support activities, organizing meetings and events, and reporting to our support network.

Otto Kari

Senior Advisor of Pharma & Biotech, PhD

Otto is passionate about translating scientific discoveries out of the lab to benefit patients. He holds a Ph.D. in Pharmacy and has over 15 years of experience in pharmaceutical R&D. He has also been a visiting scholar at Karolinska Institutet (Sweden) and Aalto University (Finland). Currently, he serves as the Vice President and Head of Antigen Business Unit at Valo Therapeutics Oy, and holds a part-time assignment as Laboratory Director at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki. He is also the Chair of the Council at the Finnish Red Cross.
Otto advises at SPARK Finland on topics related to innovation and entrepreneurship in the pharma and biotech space, and supports selected SPARK teams in their early-stage commercialization and business development activities.
Eriikka Siirala

Clinical Specialist, PhD
+358 50 3422511

Eriikka Siirala

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Eriikka has a strong clinical background having been a nurse for 10 years at Helsinki University Hospital. After that she went to University of Turku and received her MSc in nursing sciences and PhD in January 2021. She is highly integrated to several key programs and projects in Turku region health and life science ecosystem.

Her core responsibility at SPARK Finland has been to build SPARK education platform with Outi. Alongside with SPARK duties she works as a Chief Innovation Specialist at Turku University Hospital and Executive Director at Health Campus Turku.

Pasi Sorvisto

Director, MSc
+358 40 8201793

Pasi Sorvisto

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Pasi is an internationally acknowledged business and finance professional – specialized in sensor systems, health IT and bioinformatics. He has more than 20 years of experience as a serial entrepreneur, business builder, consult, early stage financier, advisor,… and also working with his PhD projects.

He is a Founder and Director of our program and his core responsibilities at SPARK Finland are general management of it, contribution with the SPARK Global network, and supporting SPARKees in health IT/bioinformatics and commercial aspects. Pasi is appointed also as a Director of SPARK Europe and member of SPARK Global Steering Committee and Chairman of global working group on “Finance”.

Juho Väisänen

Development Manager, PhD
+358 40 1909834

Juho Väisänen

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Juho is a seasoned biomedical technology professional with more than ten years of experience in managing commercialization of academic discoveries and projects at Tampere University, University of Tampere and Tampere University of Technology. Alongside with SPARK duties he works as a senior specialist in Tampere University Innovation Services with responsibilities in commercialization projects.

His core responsibilities at SPARK Finland have been coordination of Tampere region activities, educational elements and mentor network, and supporting SPARKees in engineering and medical technology challenges. He have had also SPARK Europe activities on his task list. Currently Juho is a Head of Innovation Services at Tampere University and jointly manages Tampere Region activities with Helena.

Key Program Advisors
Sebastian Soidinsalo

Key Biobusiness Advisor, MSc
+358 40 6811716


Sebastian Soidinsalo

Sebastian is a business development professional specialized in pharma and diagnostic industry. He holds MSc in Drug Discovery and Development (University of Turku) and MSc in Business Administration & Bioentrepreneurship (Copenhagen Business School). He has years of experience in early stage product and business development, and commercialization activities in academia and early stage companies.

Sebastian has worked also as a business development manager at Helsinki Innovation Services (HIS) and currently works as freelance consult. He supports SPARK program in commercial aspects of pharma and diagnostic projects and in our educational program.

Antti Kotimaa

Key Biotech Advisor, PhD
+358 44 7856449

Antti Kotimaa

Antti is a molecular biologist by training and has strong scientific background in vascular biology. He has also wide experience in project management and developing academic discoveries towards the commercial potential. He has worked in several roles in the Kuopio region development ecosystem. Alongside with SPARK manager role he has worked as an innovation advisor at Neurocenter Finland.

His core responsibilities at SPARK Finland were in validation studies and commercial aspects of the projects, and coordination of SPARK activities in Kuopio and Joensuu regions. Currently he has two professional roles; he works at Savonia University of Applied Sciences as RDI Advisor and alongside with that he is a founder of a startup Sonai Health.

Juuso Blomster

Key Medical Advisor, MD, PhD
+358 50 3100194

Juuso Blomster

Juuso is a cardiologist by training and brings a wide spectrum of competencies on drug development from pre-clinical through phases I-IV, clinical research, regulatory issues, companion diagnostics and eHealth. Whilst continuing his clinical engagement in cardiology, his former assignments include Director Physician role at AstraZeneca R&D (Gothenburg, Sweden) and research physician at The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney, Australia.

Currently he is a CEO and co-founder of a health tech startup Precordior Ltd.

Juuso’s support responsibilities at SPARK Finland are in the fields of medical expertise, regulatory aspects and clinical trials. He is also supporting Turku based activities in Finnish program.

Steering group
Prof. Risto Renkonen (Chair)

Member of the Board, University of Helsinki

Prof. Janne Laine

Vice President (Innovation), Aalto University

Dr Taneli Ravio

Research Director, Helsinki University Hospital / HUS

Dr Jarmo Takala

Vice President (Stakeholder Relations and Partnerships), Tampere University

Dr Kati Kristiansson

Research Director, Tampere University Hospital / PIRHA

Prof. Pekka Hänninen

Dean of Faculty of Medicine, University of Turku

Prof. John Eriksson

Director General, Euro-Bioimaging ERIC
Åbo Akademi University

Prof. Jussi Kukkonen

Vice Dean, Faculty of Science and Forestry, University of Eastern Finland

Dr Juha Töyräs

Research & Innovation Director, Kuopio University Hospital

Ms Jaana Rantanen

Senior Advisor, Fast Growth, Acceleration Services, Business Finland

Mr Petteri Kauppinen

Counsellor of Education,
Ministry of Education and Culture

Ms Tarja Enala

Chief Specialist Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment