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Okko Alitalo

Doctoral Candidate (Pharmacy), Graphic Designer


Okko Alitalo

Doctoral Candidate (Pharmacy), Graphic Designer



Okko Alitalo

Doctoral Candidate (Pharmacy), Graphic Designer

I’m Okko, 26 year old doctoral student and marketing assistant currently based in Helsinki. I enjoy learning and studying various subjects, such as neuroscience, computers, and graphic design. I strive for new challenges and projects.

Hit me up with any new scientific or artistic projects, I’m always up for commissions and collaborations!



University of Helsinki, Finland

Ph. D. Candidate

Mar 2018 –

Working at Laboratory of Neurotherapeutics (Dr. Rantamäki) at Regenerative Pharmacology Unit, Faculty of Pharmacy, researching the biochemical mechanisms of novel rapid-acting antidepressants. For more details, see our lab website.

Additionally, part of SleepWell consortium of Faculty of Medicine.

Key skills and responsibilities:
• Wet lab protocols
• Functional imaging & Isotope imaging
• Data visualization
• Use of translational mouse models of depression
• Immunohistochemistry
• Animal handling
• Coding; MATLAB, Tableau, Alteryx, R
• Teaching – 3 Bachelors students, 2 Masters students, 5 courses ranging from pharmacy customer service to FELASA-degree course on brain surgery practices and experimental planning

University of Eastern Finland

Junior Researcher

Nov 2017 – Jan 2018

Project-based research work related to schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease rodent models. Behavioral & cognitive testing of the animals.

Key skills and responsibilities:
• Rodent cognitive behavioral testing using automated touchscreen
• Behavioral testing of motor impairments in rodent model of Parkinson’s disease
• Rat stereotaxic surgery
• Formulation & other required laboratory work
• Protein activity assays

Farenta Oy

Pharmacist (B.Sc. & M.Sc.)

May 2014 –

Pharmaceutical sales, customer service and pharmacy management in over 30 retail pharmacies.

Key skills and responsibilities:
• Employee IT training
• SOP development
• Customer service
• Pharmacy management

Charles River, Kuopio, FI


Mar 2015 – Sep 2015

For my Masters thesis, titled “Autoradiography in Preclinical Schizophrenia Research”, I worked at Charles River Laboratories in the research group specialized in neuroimaging.
During my time at the company I was tasked for designing, organizing and reporting of the study. A part of the study was published as a poster at Neuroscience 2015 seminar.

Key skills learned during the internship:
• Scientific study planning
• Timing and organization of a study
• Data analysis & reporting
• Animal handling
• Functional molecular imaging of central nervous system
• Autoradiography using digital gaseous scintillator-coupled CCD-camera (BetaImager)

A.I. Virtanen institute, Kuopio, FI

Bachelor's student

Mar 2013 – Sep 2013

Dr. Heikki Tanila group, specialized in the neurobiology of memory. Building of electrodes for brain evoked potential imaging, mouse stereotactic surgery, and the electrophysiological monitoring.

Also tasked perform basic principles of histological sample processing, including cryostat usage, sample labeling, and imaging.

Key skills learned during the internship:
• Precision working using microscopy
• Histology
• Animal handling
• Scientific writing

University of Helsinki, Finland

Ph. D. (Pharm.)

Sep 2018 –

Faculty of Pharmacy, Regenerative Pharmacology Unit, Laboratory of Neurotherapeutics

Fac­ulty of So­cial Sciences, Science communications minor program

University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio

Pharmacist (M. Sc.)

Sep 2014 – Jan 2017

Department of pharmacology. Thesis: “Autoradiography in Preclinical Schizophrenia Research.”

Institute of Marketing, Oulu, Finland

Marketing Assistant

Oct 2014 – Mar 2016

Vocational degree in the pharmaceutical marketing
communications. As my dissertation I planned and implemented a brand reform for a pharmaceutical student organization.

University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio

Pharmacist (B. Sc.)

Sep 2011 – May 2014

Department of pharmacology. Thesis: “In Vivo Electrophysiology of Mouse Visual Pathway in Preclinical Drug Research.”

Scientific Skills
Western Blot
Functional Imaging
General Wet Lab Protocols
Data analysis
General IT skills
Design Skills
Adobe Illustrator80
Adobe Indesign60
Adobe Photoshop80
Acrylic Paint & Ink70
Language Skills

Alitalo O, Saarreharju R, Zarate C, Kohtala S, Rantamäki T: A wake-up call – revealing the oversight of sleep physiology and related translational discrepancies in studies of rapid-acting antidepressants, MedRxive, 30.9.2020, DOI:

• Kohtala S, Alitalo O, M Rosenholm, S Rozov, Rantamäki T: Time is of the essence: Coupling sleep-wake and circadian neurobiology to the antidepressant effects of ketamine, Pharmacology & Therapeutics 107741, 2020

Alitalo O, Rantamäki T, Huhtala T: Digital autoradiography for efficient functional imaging without anesthesia in experimental animals: Reversing phencyclidine-induced functional alterations using clozapine, Prog Neuro-Psychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 100:109887, 2020

• Theilmann W, Alitalo O, Yorke I, Rantamäki T: Dose-dependent effects of isoflurane on TrkB and GSK3beta signaling: Importance of burst suppression pattern. Neurosci Lett 694: 29-33, 2019

Grants & Funding

• Instrumentarium Science Foundation, 2022

• Doctoral Programme in Drug Research, 2020-2021

• The Finnish Pharmacists’ Society travel grant, 2020

• Doctoral School in Health Sciences travel grant, 2019


Alitalo O, Saarreharju R, Kohtala S, Rosenholm M, Rozov S, Rantamäki T: Nopeavaikutteiset masennuslääkkeet ja uni. Farmasian Päivät, Helsinki/Virtual, 2.10.2020
Alitalo O, Saarreharju R, Kohtala S, Rosenholm M, Rozov S, Rantamäki T: Regulation of neurotrophic signaling through bioenergetics. FENS Forum, UK/Virtual, 14.7.2020
Alitalo O, Kohtala S, Rosenholm M, Rozov S, Rantamäki T: Energy metabolism regulates neuroplasticity signaling. FENS Regional Meeting, Serbia, 12.7.2019
Alitalo O, Kohtala S, Rosenholm M, Rozov S, Rantamäki T: Ketamiinia ja kuntosalia: energiankulutus masennuslääkevaikutuksen taustalla? Brain Awareness Week, Porthania, Helsingin Yliopisto, 13.3.2019
Alitalo O, Rytkönen J, Parkkari T, Wolinsky D, Nurmi A, Huhtala T: Quantitative metabolic  changes and G protein-coupled receptor  activation using  autoradiography. Society for Neuroscience meeting, poster 617.01, 2015


• Best Poster Award, B&M Symposium 2019
• Fortis ry award for merits, 2016
• Apteekkari-magazine award, 2014

Additional courses

European Union
FELASA Accredited Course 029/10: The
Use of Animals in Research, 2013–2015

Farmasian Oppimiskeskus (FOK)
Current trends in GMP, 2017
Internal auditing, 2016
Use of opioids in pain treatment, 2016
Treatment of diabetes, 2015
Animal treatment in pharmacy, 2015
Sexual health, 2014
Contraception, 2014

Duodecim Oppiportti
Pharmacotherapy, 2016
Patient safety, 2016





Perttu Häkkisen säätiö

Tämän päivän kulttuurin sanotaan usein olevan pinnallista ja sisällötöntä, mutta sitä ei totisesti ole Okko Alitalon Okkoltism & Dark Arts -näyttelyn teokset.

Tomi Rantamäki
Tomi Rantamäki

Okko is clearly one of the most talented young scientists I know and I am privileged to supervise him.

Tuulia Huhtala
Tuulia Huhtala

Based on his knowledge, motivation, learning skills, and flexibility I can highly recommend Okko as an employee.