OUR SPEAKERS

Milan R. Dimitrijević

Emeritus Professor, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas USA

Foundation for Movement Recovery, Oslo, Norway

Dr. Dimitrijević founded the field of Restorative Neurology and contributor to the area of Human Neurosciences. During his fifty years of clinical and neurological work he worked to develop Human Neurophysiology as well as mentored hundreds of post-graduates working in the early development of a new branch of Neurological practices and science. Born in Nis, Serbia Dr. Dee received his MD in 1955 and his Ph.D. in 1966 from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, in 1955. He continued with post-doctoral training in clinical neurophysiology at the Stockholm School of Medicine and University Hospital in Ljubljana. He completed a fellowship training in clinical neurophysiology, the Schools of Medicine in Marseilles, France, and Linkoping, Sweden. Dr. Dimitrijevic was awarded honorary doctorate degrees from Warsaw Medical Academy, Poland and Linkoping University, Sweden. He also completed fellowships in Radiochemistry at the Institute of Nuclear Science at the University of Belgrade and Neurology at Queens Square in London. He has held many posts but most recently as the Vivian L. Smith Professor and Division Head of the Division of Restorative neurology and Human Neurobiology at Baylor College of Medicine, Professor Emeritus of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Baylor College of Medicine. He is also the Principal Investigator for the Foundation of Movement Recovery in Oslo, Norway. Professor Dr. Dimitrijević has published 224 research reports, 380 articles in peer review journals, fifty-six chapters, five books, 10.240 citations.

Alojz Kralj

University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts

Alojz Kralj received Dipl. Ing., M.Sc. and D.Sc. degrees in 1961, 1969, and 1970, from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and is Professor Emeritus. His major research aims were studies of functional electrical stimulation for rehabilitation of stroke, and spinal cord injured persons, but also in industrial robotics. 

In 1973 he was Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and in 1974 Visiting Assistant Professor at Krusen Center for Research, Philadelphia. From 1981 to 1982 he was Visiting Professor at the Faculty for Electrical Engineering, and from fall of 1982 to 1986 with Pritzker Institute of Medical Engineering, at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. In 1978 he started teaching Industrial robotics, founded the Laboratory of Biomedical Engineering (1972) and started the Laboratory of Robotics (1978) at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Electrical Engineering. Prof. Kralj as Rector leaded the University of Ljubljana from 1995 until 1998. He published numerous journal and conference papers, and text books in the field of electronics, biomedical engineering and robotics. Together with prof. Tadej Bajd he published the first book on Functional Electrical Stimulation of Spinal Cord Injured Patients (CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, Florida, USA, 1989). Dr. Kralj has received several awards, the 10th Anniversary plaque of the Italian Association of Medical and Biological Engineering, the award of Shinsu University in Japan and the award Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia in Science. In 1992 he was elected to the grade IEEE Fellow for his contribution in functional electrical stimulation and gait rehabilitation, and in 2009 he received the Slovenia prestigious Zois Award for his life contribution in the field of electrical engineering.  He was   member of IEEE, ISEK, ESEM and IFMBE. Dr. Kralj is from 1993 associate member and from 1997 regular member of the Slovenian Academy for Sciences and Arts, and served as Vice President of the Academy from 1999 to 2002. In 2009 he was elected as member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts.

Tadej Bajd

Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Ljubljana and Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts

Tadej Bajd received Dipl.Ing., M.Sc. and D.Sc. degrees from Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia in 1972, 1976, and 1979, respectively. He was a Research Assistant at J. Stefan Institute in Ljubljana (1972-77), a visiting Research Fellow at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles (1981), and Strathclyde University, Glasgow (1984). He is Professor Emeritus at Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Ljubljana, where he served also as Vice-Dean (1985-89) and Dean (1999-03). He is author and coauthor of over 100 journal papers and several monographs on functional electrical stimulation and robotics. Professor Bajd received several national awards for his scientific achievements in the field of functional electrical stimulation for paralyzed subjects. He is Fellow of IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers), Fellow of AIMBE (American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering), and Fellow of EAMBES (European Alliance for Medical and Biological Engineering and Science). He is also member of European Academy of Sciences and Arts, International Academy of Engineering and Slovenian Academy of Engineering.  Professor Bajd is President of Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts.

Roberto Merletti

Former Full Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the Dept. of Electronics, Politecnico di Torino, Italy (retired Nov 2015)

Former Director of the Lab. for Engineering of the Neuromuscular System (LISiN), Politecnico di Torino, Italy (retired Nov 2015)

Corresponding member of the Slovenian Academy of sciences and arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Prof. Roberto Merletti graduated in Electronics Engineering from Politecnico di Torino, Italy, and obtained his M.Sc. and PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the The Ohio State University.  He has been Visiting Researcher at the Faculty for Electrical Engineering of Ljubljana University, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Boston University, were he was also Research Associate at the NeuroMuscular Research Center. He has been Full Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Politecnico di Torino where he established, in 1996, the Laboratory for Engineering of the Neuromuscular System (LISiN) of which he has been Director up to 2015. He has trained at LISIN more than 70 researchers (15 doctoral students) from various countries. He coordinated two EU projects and has been a partner in five projects. His research activity covered neuromuscular electrical stimulation, surface electromyography and its applications in prevention, rehabilitation, ergonomics, and sport. This activity led to over 200 peer reviewed publications and five textbooks. He is now developing the website www.robertomerletti.it with free teaching material aimed at clinical rehabilitation operators and is coordinating the Frontiers Editorial Project “Surface Electromyography: barriers limiting widespread use of sEMG in clinical assessment and neurorehabilitation. https://www.frontiersin.org/research-topics/11157.

Winfried Mayr

Professor, Center for Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, Medical University of Vienna, Austria (retired Oct 2020)

Prof. Winfried Mayr received his Diploma in Electronics and Control Engineering from Vienna University of Technology in 1983. His works focused on Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) and rehabilitation engineering, mainly at Vienna Medical University. His Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering was on “Reactivation of paralyzed muscles by FES implants” (1992) and included experimental and applied research on phrenic nerve 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 and clinical bed-rest, and upper extremity. Outcome of the European Project RISE on FES of denervated muscles, an initiative with 20 partners under his coordination, was development of a novel clinical methods 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, currently vice-chair. He is the councilor of the EAMBES, the roof organization of European Biomedical Engineering Society. He is the foundation member and board member of the IFESS.

Dejan Popović

Professor, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Belgrade and Emeritus Professor, Aalborg University, Denmark

Member of the Serbian academy of sciences and arts, Belgrade, Serbia;

Corresponding member of the Slovenian academy of sciences and arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Born in 1950 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (Serbia). Member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SASA) since 2009, Belgrade, Serbia; Member of the Academy of Engineering Sciences (AINS), Belgrade, Serbia since 2004; Professor Emeritus, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark since 2016, Corresponding member of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia. He published about 500 papers (130 journal publications), 34 book chapters, 9 textbooks, and many conference papers). His papers were cited more than 8150 times. h=48 (Google Scholar). He led the research that resulted with eight patent applications. Several of his research results were translated to clinical or home use. He supervised more than 25 PhD and about 100 MSc students. He developed the Laboratory for biomedical engineering and technologies (http://bmit.etf.rs). He is the associate editor: Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing Member of the review board of Medical Engineering and Physics and Journal of Neuromodulation. He is the Editor of the Journal of Automatic Control, University of Belgrade. He is the Founding and Life Member of the IFESS; Fellow and Founding member of the AEMBES, President of the Serbian Society for Electronics, Automatics and Computer Engineering (ETRAN).

Vance Bergeron

President Association, ANTS University of Lyon, Ecole Normal Supérieure de Lyon, Physics Laboratory UMR 5672, Lyon, France

“How FES has Stimulated my Life”

Absract:: In 2013 I was stuck from the side by an automobile while riding my bicycle to work one morning. This accident left me C5-C6 incomplete tetraplegic. My scientific background led me to read the Scientific literature describing the use of functional electrical stimulation for exercise and rehabilitation while I was confined to a hospital bed for over a year. Upon reaching out to the FES community I was able to build a competitive FES tricycle which we used in the last two Cybathlon events. We also initiated and association named Advanced Neuro-rehabilitation Therapies and Sport, ANTS (https://ants-asso.com/). Our primary activity is to offer state-of-the-art FES exercise machines in the first ever SportsCenter (S.P.O.R.T – Stimulating People and Organizing Recreational Therapies) in France that is dedicated to motor handicapped individuals. Although advances in the field have been numerous over the last decade, there exists important obstacles that limit FES usage. First and foremost is the cost of stimulator’s. Moreover, new stimulation protocols are required to overcome fast muscle fatigue and power output. Lastly, systems that are simple to use and do not require a team of experts to be used is needed for orthotic devices that can be used for activities of daily life (ADL). Once these limits have been overcome, this technology has the potential to significantly improve the health and well-being of motor handicap people throughout the world.

Miloš R. Popović

Director of KITE Research Institute at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute - University Health Network; Professor (Tenured) in the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto.

“Use of Functional Electrical Stimulation Therapy to Treat Major Depressive Disorder”

Abstract:  We have discovered that if in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), one is electrically stimulating muscles responsible for a genuine smile (also called Duchenne marker), one can change their mood. Specifically, we have discovered that these individuals experience dramatic improvements in depression scores after only 40 one-hour treatment sessions. According to the Facial Action Coding System, the Duchenne marker is generated when the zygomaticus major and orbicularis oculi muscles are contracted simultaneously. Our functional electrical stimulation (FES) system delivers the Duchenne marker in short bouts using a 4-channel FES system during one-hour sessions. A recently completed pilot clinical trial has shown that this noninvasive FES therapy can help MDD patients experience immediate improvements in depressive symptoms as measured by the Hamilton Depression Scale and Inventory of Depressive Symptoms scale.

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