Introducing University Lecturer, Adjunct Professor Juha Savinainen

Introducing University Lecturer, Adjunct Professor Juha Savinainen

Juha Savinainen, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor, works as a University Lecturer at the Department of Medicine of the University of Eastern Finland and leads the Endocannabinoid system as a drug target research group. “In our current studies, we focus specifically on the mechanisms of migraine and pain conditions and the role of the endocannabinoid system behind them”, explains Juha.    

Endocannabinoid system as a drug target research group has focused on studying the metabolism of bioactive lipids and their role in healthy and diseased tissue. “At present, the focus of our research is to characterize the role of enzymes that break down endocannabinoids in migraine genesis. By increasing the number of endocannabinoids and simultaneously reducing their degradation products, using enzyme inhibitors, we can strengthen the therapeutic effect of endocannabinoids and prevent the emergence of arachidonic acid conductors, prostaglandins, which increase inflammatory responses”, explains Juha. Safe and more accurate medicines and new opportunities in the treatment of migraines and pain are future goals of long-term research. “We are working to develop new selective inhibitors that target these important enzymes and thereby create new alternative therapies for migraine headache, one of the most common pain conditions in the world.”    

The long-term research is driven by a smooth and multidisciplinary collaboration including pharmaceutical chemistry, modelling and diverse methodological expertise at the Kuopio campus of University of Eastern Finland. “The key partners over the years have been Professor of Drug Design Antti Poso, Research Director Marko Lehtonen and University Lecturer Tapio Nevalainen from the Department of Pharmacy, and regarding current migraine research Research Director Rashid Giniatullin from A.I. Virtanen Institute. In addition, we have collaborated in migraine research with the University of Pavia from Italy”, explains Juha.  

Endocannabinoid system as a drug target research group:  

Kuopio Brain & Mind is part of a nation-wide Neurocenter Finland researcher network. For more information, please visit