Hasse Karlsson

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Hasse Karlsson

“Effects of prenatal stress on child brain development – implications for later health”

Hasse Karlsson is currently professor of Integrative Neuroscience and Psychiatry in the University of Turku, Finland. Additionally he is chief physician at the department of psychiatry at the Turku University Hospital and the director of Turku Brain and Mind Center (www.tbmc.fi). He was previously professor of Psychiatry at University of Helsinki. He is a renowned expert in brain research and epidemiology and his innovative research programs have aimed to advance knowledge of neurobiological and psychological mechanisms of emotion, personality, mood and cognition using neuroimaging methods. In his research he has utilized PET, MRI, fMRI, EEG and NIRS. He is also a psychotherapist and he has studied the effects of psychotherapy on brain serotonin and dopamine receptors.

In 2010, he established a large pregnancy cohort (www.FinnBrain.fi) in order to study prospectively the long-term effects of prenatal and early life postnatal stress exposure on child brain development and later risk for psychiatric and physical illness. By now, FinnBrain has collected a baseline sample of over 4000 families and performed repeated assessments (questionnaires, biological samples, neuropsychological assessments, multimodal brain imaging, parent-child interaction) during pregnancy and infancy. One of the main aims is to find biomarkers of vulnerability during early childhood.