Master’s Thesis Position: Finite-element modelling of transcranial brain stimulation Aalto University, Department of Electrical Engineering and Automation Finland

Master’s Thesis Position: Finite-element modelling of transcranial brain stimulation


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Department of Electrical Engineering and Automation

Teaching and research positions

Department of Electrical Engineering and Automation, Electromagnetics in health technologies group, is looking for Master thesis worker in the topic described below. The position is especially well suited for students wishing to continue to doctoral studies.



Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a non-invasive method for eliciting long-lasting changes in cortical activity. TDCS is well tolerable and affordable, and could therefore be a promising alternative treatment strategy for diverse neurological or psychiatric diseases. For instance, tDCS has shown effectiveness for depression, chronic pain, or stroke rehabilitation.


A limitation of tDCS is that the electric currents flowing to the brain depend on individual anatomical features. Therefore, the actual stimulus, i.e., the electric field in the brain, can vary greatly between individuals. In therapeutic applications of tDCS, this could lead to uncertain treatment outcomes.


Our research group has been developing personalized computational MRI-based models that can reveal the detailed distribution of the electric field in each subject’s/patient’s brain. Our goal is to link these fields to individual stimulation outcomes. If we succeed, electric field models could be used to personalize and control tDCS, leading to improved effectiveness.


In this MSc thesis, the task of the candidate is to implement new features into our finite-element method (FEM) solver, which has been implemented in Matlab/C programming language. These features include the ability model anisotropic electrical conductivities and analysing diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data. The second task is to construct individualized anatomical models from 15+ patients, who participated in a clinical tDCS study on depression, and explore whether the individually modelled electric fields are related to clinical outcomes.


The work will consist of the following main parts: theory, implementation of anisotropic FEM solver, image segmentation, analysis of DTI data, modelling of induced electric fields, and data analysis.



  • Applicant must be a student of Aalto University
  • The position is suitable for students in electrical engineering, physics, or biomedical engineering
  • We expect that the candidate has good programming and mathematical skills and basic knowledge of electromagnetic field theory and Matlab (or similar software)
  • Knowledge in finite-element method, statistics, and medical image processing are considered as advantages
  • Candidates willing to continue to doctoral studies are especially welcome



Spring/summer 2019 to autumn/winter 2019 (six months).


How to apply

Please apply through our electronic recruitment system (link Apply now!). The deadline for applications is 22.04.2019. Application materials should be submitted in English or Finnish. Your application should include the following attachments in single PDF document: a cover/motivation letter, CV, and copy of study records.


Aalto University reserves the right for justified reasons to leave the position open, to extend the application period and to consider candidates who have not submitted applications during the application period.


Additional information

For more information please contact Professor Ilkka Laakso (Ilkka.laakso(a) For recruitment related matters please contact HR Coordinator Jaana Hänninen (jaana.hanninen(a)


Aalto University is a community of bold thinkers where science and art meet technology and business. We are committed to identifying and solving grand societal challenges and building an innovative future. Aalto University has six schools with nearly 11 000 students and more than 400 professors. Our campuses are located in Espoo and Helsinki, Finland.


The Department of Electrical Engineering and Automation is a part of AALTO’s School of Electrical Engineering. Hosting a multitude of international and world-leading researchers, the Department of Electrical Engineering and Automation provides a truly inspirational ecosystem, where scientists and engineers from different fields interact and work together by crossing traditional boundaries to solve the most challenging scientific and technological problems, provide an excellent education and produce greater wellbeing for society in general. Its main research focus areas are: control, robotics, autonomous systems, power systems, and Industrial electronics and informatics. The department develops technologies, data models and standards supporting the integration of industrial information systems.

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