Executive Board Elections 2021

Candidates (in alphabetical order of surnames)


Thomas Janssen

Motivation

Since 1994 I have been involved in research on using electrical stimulation (mainly) in people with spinal cord injuries to reduce the risk of secondary complications and improve health and fitness. Working both at the university and in a rehabilitation center gives me the opportunity to bring science and practice together. I believe IFESS is an important organization that has the same goals, gaining new knowledge on electrical stimulation technologies and therapies and helping to implement this knowledge into clinical practice. I would like to continue as a board member to contribute to these goals.

Biosketch

In 1988, Thomas Janssen received his MSc in exercise physiology and functional anatomy from the Faculty of Human Movement Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. In 1994, he received a PhD degree in Human Movement Sciences for his thesis on Physical Strain and Physical Capacity of Men with Spinal Cord Injuries. Between 1994 and 1998 he was a visiting scientist at and associate director of the Institute for Rehabilitation Research and Medicine, Wright State University School of Medicine in Dayton (Ohio, USA), where he worked alongside and got inspired by one of the pioneers in electrical stimulation of paralyzed muscles, prof.dr. Roger Glaser.

Upon returning to the Netherlands, he took an assistant professorship at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, performing rehabilitation research and teaching classes on exercise physiology and rehabilitation and started working in Reade rehabilitation center. His main research interest lies in the field of exercise physiology and biomechanics applied to rehabilitation and exercise. Most profound research subjects are physical capacity, activity and health of wheelchair users with a spinal cord injury, electrical stimulation therapy of paralyzed muscles, and disability sports. Since 2008 he is professor in Rehabilitation Research, Spinal Cord Injury, and Adapted Sports at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He is currently chair of the Amsterdam Rehabilitation Research Center | Reade and scientifically responsible for the spinal cord injury department of Reade and for the Center for Adapted Sports Amsterdam.

Current research includes the application of daily (and nightly) electrical stimulation of paralyzed muscles to reduce the risk of secondary complications, such as muscle atrophy, reduced circulation, poor skin condition, poor sitting pressure distribution, pressure sores, low blood pressure, and obesity, and studies using spinal cord stimulation to improve function. Also, research on FES cycling and hybrid exercise to improve health and fitness and reduce risk of secondary complications is a main topic. Prof. Janssen is also advisor of the PulseRacing team, a team of MSc-students that aims to participate in the FES-cycling race in the next Cybathlon.

Working both at the university and the rehabilitation hospital (Reade Amsterdam), he has experienced that the gap between science and clinical practice is still large. For the last decade, he has therefore pushed and pulled from and to both sides, trying reduce the gap. This has finally led to the development of an Electrical Stimulation Expertise Center in Reade, where research is strongly combined with clinical care. Reade is currently the only rehabilitation center in the Netherlands that has successfully implemented electrical stimulation into the regular care of all patients with spinal cord injuries.


Samuel Lee

Motivation

I have been a member of IFESS since 2001 and have presented at several conferences as an invited speaker, workshop and platform presenter. As a mid-career investigator, I now feel able to positively contribute to the activities of the executive board having experience in developing FES systems for cycling and walking, and conducting translational clinical trials that included mechanistic approaches to investigate both neuroprosthetic and neurotherapeutic outcomes using FES. My training as a biomedical engineer, physical therapist, and in applied physiology enable me to provide interdisciplinary perspectives in assisting with the board’s mission.

Biosketch

Samuel Lee received his BS in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University in 1988 where he completed a senior thesis entitled “Design and Evaluation of a Multichannel Myoelectric Signal Acquisition System” that improved minimized motion artefact and improved the signal to noise ratio of EMG recordings from multichannel needle EMG electrodes. Upon graduation he worked worked in Dr. Carlo DeLuca’s Neuromuscular Research Center, for the next two years, under Dr. Serge Roy in the Muscle Fatigue Laboratory. He had a role in the development of early prototypes of the Delsys surface EMG electrodes and deployment of muscle fatigue monitoring systems used in clinical settings and on NASA’s first Life Sciences Mission. To better understand the clinical nuances of biomedical engineering applications to rehabilitation, he matriculated in the University of Delaware’s Masters of Physical Therapy program in 1990 and completed the clinical degree requirements in 1992. Dr. Lee continued in the program to complete an optional research thesis entitled “The Effects of a Variable-Frequency Train on Human Quadriceps Femoris Muscle During Passive Isokinetic Movements” in 1993, under the mentorship of Dr. Stuart Binder-Macleod. This work was the first of its kind in exploring muscle force optimization using variable-frequency trains during non-isometric contractions that could be applied to FES systems for clinical use and laid the foundation for his future PhD work. Dr. Lee then completed a pediatric physical therapy fellowship and worked as a staff physical therapist in both outpatient and inpatient rehabilitation settings. He returned to the University of Delaware in 1994 to enter the inaugural class of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Biomechanics and Movement Science, also under the mentorship of Dr. Binder-Macleod. There, he completed a dissertation entitled “Optimization of Isotonic Performance of Human Skeletal Muscle”, which further explored the boundary conditions for using variable-frequency trains capable of maximizing muscle force production during both non-fatigued and fatigued muscle contractions that could be applied in FES systems for prolonging FES use. In 1999, he did a Neurorehabilitation Post-Doc at the University of Pennsylvania and then started a Research Associate position in 2000 at Shriners Hospitals for Children, Philadelphia Unit working with children with spinal cord injury and cerebral palsy. Through his association with Shriners Hospitals and his current faculty position at the University of Delaware, Dr. Lee has enjoyed approximately 18 years of funding consisting of a combination of Shriners Hospitals for Children clinical and developmental research grants and 2 NIH R01s. His research team investigates methods to improve the function of children with central nervous system injury through the application of electrical stimulation to activate paralyzed/weakened muscles or to enhance somatosensation for improved motor control. Dr. Lee became the director the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Biomechanics and Movement Science in 2016. During his time as director, the program attained the highest level of enrollment consisting of 56 graduate students. To date, he has advised 7 successful PhD students, and is currently training an additional 2 PhD students. Dr. Lee currently is serving as a co-editor on a Special Issue on Advanced Sensors/Devices for FES for the journal Sensors.


Winfried Mayr

Motivation

I am member of the IFESS family since the foundation meeting, 1995 in Vienna, including preceding preparation activities. I am gladly following the prosperous developments since and have served as a board member in the recent reorganization phase of IFESS to a non-profit association, registration seat in Graz/Austria, as well as in establishing partnership with Artificial Organs, which has now become the official journal of IFESS. I would like to continue supporting the Board activities with handling of on-site administrative necessities and, as far as useful, my scientific network and expertise, I have collected over many years in FES.

Biosketch

Winfried Mayr received his Diploma in “Electronics and Control Engineering” from Vienna University of Technology in 1983, his work is focused on Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) and rehabilitation engineering, mainly at Vienna Medical University, since. His Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering (BME) was on “Reactivation of Paralyzed Muscles by FES via Implants” (1992) and included experimental and applied research on phrenic pacing, lower extremity, pelvic floor and denervated muscles. Work in the subsequent years was dedicated mainly on non-invasive FES of lower extremity in paraplegia, in microgravity and clinical bed-rest, and upper extremity. Outcome of the European Project RISE on FES of denervated muscles, an initiative with 20 partner groups under his coordination, was development of a novel clinical method and associated equipment for rehabilitation after flaccid paraplegia. His special current focus is spinal cord stimulation for modification of spasticity and restoration of movement after SCI.

Between 2009 and 2017 he chaired the Austrian Society for Biomedical Engineering (OeGBMT), and is current vice-president and IFMBE delegate of OeGBMT, and councillor in EAMBES, the roof organisation of European BME Societies. He is foundation member and board member of the International FES Society IFESS. He serves as reviewer in various journals and funding agencies, Co-Editor for FES in the journal Artificial Organs and Associate Editor for Neuroprostheses of Frontiers in Neuroscience.

After retirement with Oct. 2020, he continues teaching at the Medical and Technical Universities in Vienna, being part of the Multidisciplinary Outpatient Clinic for SCI at the Vienna Medical University, having roles in scientific societies and review boards, and being part of collaboration projects with FES-related industry. An actual project with University of Rwanda is dedicated to develop strategies for a new Center of Excellence in BME and eHealth (CEBE) in Kigali, with focus to building up Neurorehabilitation education, research and services for the 6 EAC countries.


Tamsyn Street

Motivation

I have thoroughly enjoyed working with and learning from the IFESS executive board.  As part of my role, I have set up and led the IFESS Webinar Series with Professor Ken Yoshida and the support of the University of Purdue Indiana as well as the UK & Ireland IFESS Chapter.  A welcome opportunity for learning, lively debate and great questions thanks for all your contributions.  

My role has also involved communications and social media providing updates on IFESS news, events, publications, announcements and overseeing the content of the website.  As a small, specialist society of cutting-edge researchers, engineers and clinicians from around the world, IFESS is perfectly placed to collaborate and engage with other societies to provide specialist knowledge about electrical stimulation technologies and translate research into evidence based clinical practice.  I have worked to develop relationships and initiatives with colleagues from other societies such as ACPIN and the ANPT to contribute to bridging the gap between FES research and clinical practice.  I’m delighted to see many new FES clinicians have joined IFESS.    

In the near future we will launch a patient section on the website which will include an IFESS Clinician map to enable patients to locate treatment, patient accessible FES definitions and a patient public involvement section with layman summaries of ongoing research and design projects.  We have recently updated the education section on the website with a list of electrical stimulation courses offered by members and have plans for other initiatives.   A lot of these different initiatives are supported through the invaluable technical support of our IFESS web master Michael Obach who works tirelessly in the background.   If you elect me, I will continue to work on these different initiatives to further the aims of IFESS, benefit IFESS members and patients.  If I am elected, I look forward to hearing from you with feedback, fresh new ideas and initiatives to further the work of IFESS. 

Biosketch

I am an NHS interdisciplinary research fellow with a background in cognitive neuroscience and motor neurorehabilitation which I completed at the University of Nottingham in the UK with Professor Stephen Jackson and Dr Alan Sunderland. I am interested in bridging the gap between research and clinical practice and improving patient access to evidence-based interventions.  I am currently involved in a project to develop FES clinical practice guidelines to support walking for all upper motor neuron conditions with the Association of Chartered Neurophysiotherapists interested in Neurology (ACPIN) in the UK.   My other interests in FES include neurogenic bowel and bladder, sexual functioning, respiratory functioning and ICU acquired weakness and research exploring the development of telemedicine options for certain types of FES interventions.  I am also interested in exploring the underlying mechanisms of electrical stimulation to optimise outcomes for patients.


Maura Whittaker

Motivation

My motivation is to see a more universal acceptance, understanding and usage of electrical stimulation in rehabilitation. Currently, particularly in Canada, electrical stimulation as a modality is underutilized and not recognized as an intervention in patient care. (Uptake in Canada reported at less than 50% in PT practice).  My goal is to increase recognition/understanding of the modality within the medical field and promote understanding of the benefits it can offer patients.  After 50 years since the first published clinical trial of electrical stimulation for hemiplegic gait, the reality is that the intervention has not yet gained universal recognition in rehabilitation. Addressing this issue should be a priority.

Biosketch

  • Graduated in Physiotherapy, University College Dublin, 1973.
  • Emigrated to Canada 1974 for employment at Vancouver General Hospital.
  • Employed on the Spinal Cord Rehabilitation program, GF Strong Rehab Centre, Vancouver 1980-2008.
  • Since 1990’s used electrical stimulation extensively in clinical practice after  training with Dr Richard Stein & Marguerite Wieler PT, University of Alberta.
  • Collaborated on publication of gait studies from FES research completed through U of A (Dr Richard Stein) and GF Strong (Dr Janice Eng).
  • A principal clinical interest included early restoration of walking in incomplete SCI (Brown Sequard) patients where outcome data generated was presented at SCI conferences in Canada & the US.
  • Since 2004, provided education courses to PTs across Canada including the first “FESAiR” presented in conjunction with the 2004 International Physiotherapy Congress in Vancouver.
  • In 2008, commenced a private PT practice with a focus on FES for gait in hemiplegia, MS and Brain Injury involving fitting Odstock dropped foot stimulators & providing training in the specialty to PTs.
  • Since 2000, lecturer in electrical stimulation, clinical applications to PT students, University of British Columbia.
  • Currently completing a study on FES in hemiplegic gait where subjects were assessed with the Odstock dropped foot stimulator using APDM Mobility Lab.

Dingguo Zhang

Motivation

Dingguo Zhang has worked on FES for about 20 years. He loves FES and wants to make big contribution to the progress of FES. He has much experience on FES research. He introduced biologically-inspired control (central pattern generator) to FES systems in his PhD study. In his early career, he worked on FES systems driven by brain-computer interface (BCI); he developed FES system based on neural oscillator for tremor suppression (Delsys Prize 2011); he proposed a term “muscle-to-muscle interface”, which can connect EMG with FES, and realize master-salve control between different persons. Recently, he has improved multi-pad FES for fine finger control; he combined transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) with FES for stroke rehabilitation; he investigated electrotactile stimulation to provide feedback for myoelectric prosthetic hand. At present, he is conducting research on hybrid rehabilitation/assistive systems combining robotic exoskeletons with FES. Previously, Dr. Zhang worked in China, and he had close collaborations with rehabilitation therapists/doctors in the top hospitals in China, so the clinical FES evaluation and experiments were frequently conducted on patients to test the proposed FES technologies and systems. He has a good network of FES in China, and he proposed to establish China FES Chapter before. Now Dr. Zhang is working in UK, and he is actively involved in the FES network in UK. Dr. Zhang was a member on IFESS Executive Board during 2015-2018. He has much experience to serve for IFESS. He will take the following duties: • Managing the IFESS Association; • Participating in the monthly meetings of the Board; • Participating, if possible, in the annual IFESS conference; • Participating in the working groups; • Doing their best to service and promote IFESS. Besides the above duties, Dr. Zhang would continue to promote FES research in UK and China and encourage more researchers to join in IFESS.

Biosketch

Dingguo Zhang is Reader in Robotics Engineering, Deputy Director of Centre for Autonomous Robotics (CENTAUR), Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering, University of Bath (UoB). His research interests include brain-computer interfaces, rehabilitation robotics, and neural technologies. He serves as an Associate Editor for the IEEE Access, IEEE Trans. Human-Machine Systems, Scientific Reports, Frontiers in Neuroscience, and Frontiers in Neurorobotics. He is a senior member of IEEE (EMBS, RAS, SMC), and serves in three technical committees (BioRob, TST, BMI) of EMBS and SMC. He was a Board Member of International Society of Functional Electrical Stimulation (IFESS 15’-18’) and a Commission Member of International Society of Bionic Engineering (ISBE). He attracted large grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) when he worked at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. He has authored over 190 papers and some were published in high profile journals including TNSRE, TBME, TMECH, TMRB, JBHI, JNE, JNER, NeuroImaging. He has owned 30 patents/software copyrights. His Google citation is 2900+ and H-index is 31. He once got the highest prize of the Science and Technology Progress Award of Shanghai and the first prize of the State Science and Technology Progress Award of China. He was the winner of the Delsys Prize 2011 for innovations on EMG, and a finalist of BCI Award (g.tec) three times (15’, 20’, 21’).