The O’Brain Lab @ Nordic Obesity Meeting

The 2024 edi­tion of the Nordic Obe­si­ty Meet­ing took place in Helsin­ki the 1–3 Feb­ru­ary, and the O’Brain Lab was there to present our research! Our post­doc Artemii Nikitin and doc­tor­al researchers Hen­drik Hart­mann and Arsene Kanyamib­wa pre­sent­ed their research projects.

In the ‘Mas­ter­ing Appetite’ ses­sion, our own asso­ciate pro­fes­sor Annette Horsts­mann pre­sent­ed the lab’s work and talked about how the brain reg­u­lates eat­ing behavior.

New paper on working memory in obesity

Does obe­si­ty relate to impair­ments in work­ing mem­o­ry gat­ing? That is what the study by Nadine Her­zog et al. focused on, and the results sug­gest it’s not about BMI per se – a BMI-genet­ic inter­ac­tion might play a role. Read more about the intrigu­ing insights here.

A database of food items for studying eating behavior

We are hap­py to announce that we have added a link to the Finn­Food­Pics data­base on our web­site. The work of Arsene Kanyamib­wa, Finn­Food­Pics is an image data­base of food items for the study of eat­ing behav­iors in res­i­dents of Fin­land. Made for researchers inter­est­ed in local dietary habits, any­one can dive into 720 snack food images cat­e­go­rized by macronu­tri­ent, nutri­tion­al info, and sub­jec­tive ratings!

EASO Early career network Winter School 2023

Our very own Asso­ciate Prof, Annette Horstmann had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to attend the 2023 EASO Ear­ly Career Net­work (ECN) Win­ter School, themed “Hot Top­ics in Obe­si­ty” which took place in the pic­turesque locale of Antalya, Turkey from Novem­ber 30th to Decem­ber 2nd. Through­out the event, ses­sions delved into the fore­front of obe­si­ty research, treat­ment method­olo­gies, and pub­lic health ini­tia­tives, led by a pan­el of esteemed Euro­pean experts. Addi­tion­al­ly, Asso­ciate Prof, Annette Horstmann pre­sent­ed on “Neu­ro­bi­ol­o­gy of Obe­si­ty”. Atten­dees expe­ri­enced an engag­ing blend of lec­tures and hands-on train­ing ses­sions, immers­ing them­selves in a dynam­ic learn­ing envi­ron­ment amidst the scenic beau­ty of Antalya.

Thank you to all who have shared this summer with us

As the sum­mer comes to a close, we want to express our grat­i­tude to all the research assis­tants who joined us and con­tributed to our work. Thanks to all of you!

50th EBBS Meeting in Amsterdam

Our doc­tor­al researcher Arsene Kanyamib­wa attend­ed the 50th meet­ing of the Euro­pean Brain and Behav­iour Soci­ety in Ams­ter­dam from 26–29 August 2023 where he pre­sent­ed a poster on the progress of the Finn­Food­Pics data­base. Amidst engag­ing dis­cus­sions and forg­ing new con­nec­tions with sci­en­tists work­ing to bridge the gap between brain and behav­iour in health and dis­ease, he savored the city’s bustling streets and diverse cul­ture. This pro­vid­ed a stim­u­lat­ing back­drop for the con­fer­ence expe­ri­ence, where he not only enjoyed the aca­d­e­m­ic dis­course but also rel­ished the oppor­tu­ni­ty to immerse in the unique offer­ings of Amsterdam.

The Beyond the Belly-lecture series has concluded

After 7 lec­tures of amaz­ing talks, the Beyond The Bel­ly lec­ture series is com­ing to an end for the year. We have heard about diverse top­ics rang­ing from culi­nary cos­mopoli­tanism to health enhanc­ing food poli­cies to the role of vagal affer­ent sig­nals in the con­trol of behav­ior and many, many more. We wish to thank all the pre­sen­ters, the stu­dents, and oth­er atten­dees for help­ing us in mak­ing this a great and unique expe­ri­ence! Keep an eye out next year for the next incar­na­tion of the lec­ture series!


The depart­ment of psy­chol­o­gy and logo­pe­dics trav­eled to sun­ny Tvär­minne for a two day retreat. Dur­ing those days, there were many pro­duc­tive ses­sions of dis­cussing improve­ments for var­i­ous process­es in the depart­ment, as well as sci­en­tif­ic talks and poster pre­sen­ta­tions. The first day end­ed with a social evening of sauna and board games (although not at the same time).

The O’Brain lab presents: Beyond the Belly

Start­ing in March, a new mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary lec­ture series will begin at Helsin­ki Uni­ver­si­ty. Pro­vid­ed by the O’Brain Lab, ‘Beyond the bel­ly – on the psy­chol­o­gy of eat­ing’ is open to stu­dents and the gen­er­al pub­lic. The aim is to give a broad per­spec­tive on eat­ing behav­ior away from patho­log­i­cal con­di­tions. The lec­tures are giv­en by dis­tin­guished experts from the fields of cul­ture, social media, soci­ol­o­gy, cog­ni­tive neu­ro­science, mar­ket­ing, food lit­er­a­cy, and pol­i­cy mak­ing. See the Beyond the Bel­ly page for more info on the var­i­ous lec­tures, such as where and when, and how to attend.

New year — new lab member

The start of the new year brings with it a new lab mem­ber. Artemii Nikitin has a PhD in biol­o­gy and a degree in clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gy, and will join the lab as a post­doc. His project will use large amounts of data from biobanks to find dif­fer­ent pro­files of obe­si­ty. We wel­come Artemii to the lab!