The Engström group


Our research is focused on combinatorial problems connected to commutative algebra, algebraic geometry and topology. Some questions are motivated by applications in for example biology, computer science and physics.


We are in charge of the courses in Algebraic Geometry and Graph Theory. The master level course MS-E1050 Graph theory is taught every year in period I, currently by Riikka Kangaslampi. The master level courses MS-E1140 Algebraic Geometry I and MS-E1141 Algebraic Geometry II are on hiatus until academic year 21/22.


Alexander Engström, Associate Professor.
PhD 2009 from KTH and then Miller Research Fellow at UC Berkeley. Started the group at Aalto University in September 2011, tenured in March 2014. Co-founder of the Aalto Science Institute. Vice chair of the Aalto School of Science Doctoral Programme Committee. Head organiser of the next Nordic Congress of Mathematicians, August 6-9, 2020. Papers: Arxiv, MathSciNet. Office: Y242b. Email:

Maisa Rein, Secretary.
Office: M213. Email:

Laura Jakobsson, PhD student since fall 2016.
MSc from Universiteit Leiden and Università di Padova advised by Martin Bright. Office: Y250a. Email:

Milo Orlich, PhD student since fall 2017.
MSc from Università di Genova advised by Aldo Conca. Office: Y250a. Email:


Visiting professors and postdocs

Emil Sköldberg, Visiting Professor Fall 2017.
PhD 1997 from Stockholm University and now at NUI Galway.

Kaie Kubjas, AScI Postdoc fellow and associated member 2014-2017.
PhD 2013 from Freie Universtiät Berlin, and then postdoc at MPI Bonn. Microsoft Research Fellow at the Simons Institute at UC Berkeley during Fall 2014. Currently assistant professor at Aalto University.

Cordian Riener, AScI Postdoc fellow and associated member 2012-2015.
PhD 2011 from the University of Frankfurt, then postdoc at the University of Konstanz. Currently at Kostanz and Tromsø universities.

Grey Violet, Postdoc, April 2014 - April 2015.
PhD 2011 from the Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas. Currently postdoctoral fellow at the zukunftskolleg of the University of Konstanz.

Jonathan Browder, Postdoc August 2012 - July 2014.
PhD 2009 from Washington University in St. Louis, and then Acting Assistant Professor at the University of Washington. Currently at Facebook.

Anton Dochtermann, Visiting Assistant Professor, Summer 2013.
PhD 2007 at the University of Washington, postdoc at TU Berlin and Stanford. Visited from the University of Miami and is currently at Texas State.

Ragnar Freij, Postdoc, August 2012 - December 2013.
PhD 2012 from Chalmers University of Technology. Magnus Ehrnrooth fellowship at Aalto.

Matthew Stamps, Postdoc, January 2012 - July 2013.
PhD 2011 from UC Davis. From Summer 2013 an NSF postdoc at KTH and currently assistant professor at Yale/National University of Singapore.

PhD students

Emanuele Ventura, PhD January 2017: Geometry of real tensors and phylogenetics.
The Aalto School of Science dissertation award 2018. Continued as a postdoc at MPI Leipzig and is currently at Texas A&M.

Erik Sjöland, PhD November 2014: Real Algebraic Geometry in Additive Number Theory.
Now working in finance.

Robert Davis, PhD Fulbright Visitor 2013-2014.
PhD from the University of Kentucky, 2015. Then postdoc at Michigan State University with Bruce Sagan.

Patrik Norén, PhD April 2013: Algebraic Statistics.
Continued with an IST postdoc fellowship, a postdoc at NCSU, and is currently an associate professor at Uppsala University.

Master and bachelor students

Yury Elkin, MSc Spring 2017: Configuration spaces of robotic hands.
Coadvised with Erik Elfving at Helsinki University.

Christian Go, Summer intern 2016.
Visited from Yale/NUS.

Samu Potka, BSc Summer 2012: Higher Connectivity of Fiber Graphs of Gröbner Bases, MSc Fall 2015: Hypergraph Containers Applied to Algebraic Geometry.
Now PhD student at KTH with Svante Linusson.

Henry Kirveslahti, BSc Summer 2012: Brouwer's fixed-point theorem, MSc August 2015: The virtual Haken theorem.
Now PhD student at Duke.

Teemu Päkkilä, MSc October 2014: Discrete Morse Theory and Simple Homotopy Theory.

Oscar Kivinen, BSc Summer 2013: Steady states in chemical reaction networks, MSc Summer 2014: Koszul algebras.
Awarded a Fulbright scholarship for PhD studies in the US. Now at UC Davis

Chris Miller, AScI summer intern 2014.
Visited from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and now PhD student at UC Berkeley.

Paul Görlach, AScI summer intern 2014.
Visited from Universität Bonn.

Tillmann Weisser, AScI summer intern 2014.
Visited from Universität Konstanz.

Lauri Loiskekoski, MSc Spring 2014: Resolutions and associated primes of ideals.
Now PhD student at FU Berlin with Günter Ziegler.

Jerri Nummenpalo, MSc Spring 2014: Polytopal big data statistics.
Awarded the Ernst Lindelöf prize for best MSc thesis in mathematics in Finland. Currently a PhD student at ETH Zurich with Emo Welzl.

Wouter van Heijst, MSc March 2014: The algebraic square peg problem.

Lassi Helanti Summer intern 2013: Computational aspects of Folkman numbers

Jaakko Ketola, BSc Summer 2013: Graph limits.

Tatu Leinonen, BSc Summer 2013: Cointerval graph coverings.

Devlin Mallory, AScI summer intern 2013.
Visited from UC Berkeley.

Erik Sjöland, BSc 2009: Ramsey Theory, MSc 2011: Exploring DNA Methylation: A fast approximative Singer-Engström-Schönhuth-Pachter optimization algorithm

Patrik Norén, MSc 2009: Ideals of Graph Homomorphisms