Candidates / Election 2016

From IFESS President Thierry Keller:

This year the terms of president, vice president,  secretary and treasuerer end. Michael Russold (treasurer) and I agreed to be nominated for another term. Simona Ferrante is nominated for the position of Vice President.
For the position of IFESS secretary we have three nominations, Ines Bersch-Porada, Erika Geraldina Spaich and Jonathan Jarvis.

Please cast your vote for the positions of President, Vice president, Treasurer and Secretary and five Board members. I know the exercise appears a bit of an overkill, but the principle should be maintained that members exercise their democratic right to vote!


Candidates for the Secretary(in random order):


Ines Bersch-Porada
Nottwil, Switzerland

In 1990 I graduated from Physiotherapy school in Germany and moved to Switzerland to gain experience in my profession. After working for one year at the Canton Hospital Glarus I changed to the newly opened Swiss Paraplegic Centre, Nottwil, Switzerland. In May 1993, I became the Deputy Head of Physiotherapy. Since I began working at the Swiss Paraplegic Centre my main concern has been functional electrical stimulation and its implementation in spinal cord injury
rehabilitation. In 1992 I began to work as an instructor at the University of Applied Science in Bern, Zürich (1998-2005) and Basel (2007). My topics are spinal cord injury rehabilitation, treatment of peripheral nerve lesions and functional electrical stimulation. In 2008 I received my Bachelor of Education Science and in 2012 I successfully completed the Master of Science in Neurorehabilitation Research that at the Danube University of Krems (Austria). Since 2015 I am a PhD candidate at the University of Gothenburg, Sahlgrenska Akademin, Sweden. My PhD project investigates the “Role of Functional Electrical Stimulation in Reconstructive Tetraplegia Hand Surgery”. Since January 2014 I am a therapy instructor for physiotherapists and occupational therapists in a team of 120 therapists. I am responsible for the advancement of functional electrical stimulation, robotics and the evidence of therpeutical treatments. I have conducted presentations and workshops on the subject of functional electrical stimulation at the IFESS, ISCOS and the international conference of Surgical Rehabilitation of the Tetraplegic Upper Limb. Furthermore, I organised workshops in Germany and Switzerland specialising on the basics in functional electrical stimulation for patients with upper and lower motor neuron lesions.
In 2014, I began active participation as a member of the BoD of the IFESS. As a clinician, teacher and a part time researcher, my focus lies on the integration of FES into clinical routine. The basis of this focus is the transfer of results from clinical trials and technical research as wells as new technologies into daily rehabilitation and it is my intention to further promote this process.

Jonathan Jarvis
Liverpool, UK

I am an experienced muscle physiologist with long-standing interests in the adaptive response of muscle to voluntary exercise and to applied stimulation. I have BSc (Physics with Physiology) and PhD (Biochemistry) degrees from the University of London. I am Professor in Physical Activity Intervention at Liverpool John Moores University, so my own research in experimental stimulation with miniature muscle stimulators is surrounded by projects in whole human physiology and biomechanics. My current research includes transcriptional analysis of stimulated muscles, to try to understand more completely how patterns of activation and loading of muscles are related to immediate and long-term cellular responses. I have worked for many years with the Vienna group to refine implantable neuromodulators for use in experimental work and we now have the opportunity to use fully remotely programmable devices that can produce any conceivable pattern of activity. These responses are the determinants of force, speed, power and endurance. I am keen to use transcriptional analysis to inform human FES.

I am interested in the limits to training: for example the threshold of activity above which slowing of muscle occurs, the internal signals for muscle hypertrophy, and the threshold above which muscle is damaged. These are important in FES to influence breathing and control of the airway (laryngeal pacing) and the use of skeletal muscle to assist the heart or to provide neosphincter function as well as FES for reanimation of limbs.

I have a renewed interest in the use of magnetic stimulation to provide convenient assisted exercise to elderly persons, and am seeking to gain European level support in this area.

I can offer to IFESS enthusiasm, great respect for the community of engineers, biologists, clinical professionals and biomedical industrialists within IFESS, and substantial academic experience. I provided the opening lecture at The Vienna International Workshop on FES this year. I am willing to continue to contribute to the Board of Directors in the new role of Secretary to maintain an accurate and timely record of business.


Erika Geraldine Spaich
Aalborg, Denmark

I received the Bioengineering degree from National University of Entre Rios, Argentina, in 1998, and the Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Science and Engineering from Aalborg University, Denmark, in 2004. Currently, I hold the position of Associate Professor at the Department of Health Science and Technology at Aalborg University in Denmark.

I have been working within the field of functional electrical stimulation since my time as an undergraduate student in Argentina, where I participated in various projects related to development of custom-made FES systems for quadriplegic and hemiparetic patients. This interest developed further during my time as a Ph.D. student; my current research areas include functional electrical stimulation and therapy, neurorehabilitation, rehabilitation technologies, neuroplasticity, and use of the nociceptive withdrawal reflex in the rehabilitation of the hemiparetic gait. I work in very close collaboration with rehabilitation centers and I think that one of the most difficult tasks, but also a very rewarding one to accomplish, is to bridge laboratory research work with clinical practical work. I am also very engaged with education of biomedical engineering students, physiotherapists, and occupational therapist, who want to learn more about FES and neurehabilitation technologies. My ambition is to continue contributing building the bridge to bring FES-based technologies closer to the patients who can benefit from the latest scientific advances within the field


Candidates for the Board (in random order):


Nur Azah Hamzaid
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I graduated from my bachelor in Mechatronics Engineering in 2006 and did my PhD in Rehabilitation Engineering using FES since then. I am now a Senior Lecturer at Biomedical Engineering Department, University of Malaya, pioneering one of the FES research group in Malaysia. I work closely with the Rehabilitation Medicine department of our University Malaya Medical Centre where we have conducted research on the clinical applications of FES. I am keen on establishing research and collaboration on FES cutting edge technology while translating it into clinical application. This includes of FES in Rehabilitation Robotics. As an active member of Rehabilitation Engineering field I am the President of IFESS Malaysia Chapter since 2014 and is currently the Treasurer of International Society of Prosthetics and Orthotics Malaysia Chapter (ISPO) in 2016. Through this involvement I would like to bring FES closer to ISPO, as a way to bridge the technology provider and its users, including clinicians and service providers. 


Winfried Mayr
Vienna, Austria

I received my Diploma in "Electronics and Control Engineering" from Vienna University of Technology in 1983 and am involved in FES at Vienna Medical University since. My Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering 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 larynx muscle. Work in the following years focused 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 my coordination, was development of a novel clinical method and associated equipment for rehabilitation after flaccid paraplegia.

My special current focus is spinal cord stimulation for modification of spasticity and restoration of movement after SCI.

I have been directly involved in organisation of all 12 "Vienna International Workshops on FES" between 1983 and 2016. As Co-Editor for FES in the Journal "Artificial Organs" have edited a series of special issues on FES, currently together with the organizers of IFESS 2016.

Being a founding and lifetime member of IFESS and co-organiser of her foundation meeting I always felt closely connected to the society and her valuable integrative role in the field. If considered as useful, I would like to contribute more, in particular in supporting publication activities of IFESS and initiatives for early carrier developments of young researchers as well as for wider application of FES technology and its better accessibility for patients.

Ken Yoshida
Indiana, USA
The nervous system can be viewed as the substrate upon which consciousness and our ability to manipulate and interact with our environment resides. I view the capturing and understanding of the electrical activity of the nervous system as the gateway to understanding the systems, states and processes that enable us to be human. From that standpoint, advanced neuroprosthetic devices are the means to that world within us. Applied to those who suffered loss of function of that substrate through injury or disease, they hold the key to replacing the lost function by acting as an artificial bridge, given that we can understand and interpret how and what the nervous system signals. In 15 years of independent research in the field, I have carried out development of electrode structures, bioelectric interfaces, computer modeling, signal processing and interpretation of the neural data stream in acute and chronic animal work. The work was carried out through a series of successful completed research grants at the national (Canadian & Danish) and European levels. I have 20 years of experience with electrical stimulation and recording through implanted and surface neural and muscle based interfaces in animal models ranging from worms to swine, and 10 years of experience with electrical stimulation and biomechanical / bioelectrical characterization of muscle activity in humans.

Takashi Watanabe
Sendai, Japan

Dr Takashi Watanabe is the Professor in Division of Biomedical Engineering for Health and Welfare at Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering, Tohoku University, in Sendai, Japan. Prior to that, He was worked as the Associate Professor at Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering from 2008 to 2012 and at the Information Synergy Center from 2001 to 2007, Tohoku University. He worked as a Research Associate at Department of Electrical Communication Engineering, and at Department of Electronic Engineering, Tohoku University from 1993 to 2000. He received a Ph.D. degree in electronic engineering from Tohoku University in 2000.

Since he was a PhD candidate, he has investigated Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) control of the musculoskeletal system for restoring and assisting paralyzed motor function of motor disabled subjects, especially using feedback controller and learning controller. Recently, he has studied on application of FES to motor rehabilitation developing wearable devices. He has also investigated measurement and evaluation of movements with wearable inertial sensors for applications to motor rehabilitation and healthcare.


Kei Masani
Toronto, Canada

Kei Masani received the Ph.D. degree in physical and health education from the University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan. Since 2005, he has been a Scientist at Toronto Rehab, Toronto, Canada. Since 2012, he has been an Assistant Professor at Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto. From 1996 to 2004, he has been an Assistant Professor in Life Sciences, University of Tokyo. Dr. Masani is a member of the International Functional Electrical Stimulation Society, the International Society for Posture and Gait Research, the Society for Neuroscience, and International Society of Biomechanics. Please see more details in

He has been developing a novel technology to reduce muscle fatigue during FES, supported by Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Further, he aims to develop a FES system for maintaining standing balance, for individuals with spinal cord injury, based on his investigation on the physiological control system of human standing. He is highly motivated to promote connections between North America and Asia in the FES research field.




Christine Azavedo Coste
Montpellier, France

Christine Azevedo Coste is a senior researcher at INRIA, the French National Institute for computer science and applied mathematics. She is leading the CAMIN team in LIRMM laboratory (University Montpellier, CNRS) in Montpellier, France. Her research topics include neuroprosthetics (surface and invasive), assistive devices, automatic control, functional rehabilitation. She obtained her engineer diploma in Automatic Control and Industrial engineering (Polytech Marseille, France) in 1997. She defended her phd thesis (INPG Grenoble, France) in 2002 in the field of Automatic Control and Robotics. Her research was dedicated to humanoid robot posture and gait control.  She did a first one year post-doc in cognitive neuroscience in F Clarac laboratory (Marseilles, France) and a second one  in motor neurophysiology in T Sinkjaer laboratory at Aalborg University, Denmark.



Glen Davis
Sydney, Australia

Glen Davis received his undergraduate degrees in physical education from the University of Ottawa (1974) and his Doctorate (PhD) in exercise physiology from the University of Toronto in 1986. He was conferred Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine in 1987 and received the prestigious Order of Australia (OAM) for research and service to spinal cord injury in 2014.

Currently, Dr Davis is Professor of Clinical Exercise Sciences at the University of Sydney, where he is also Director of the Clinical Exercise and Rehabilitation Unit within the Faculty of Health Sciences. He holds a Professorial appointment in the Department of Biomedical Engineering within the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Malaya, Malaysia.

His main research and innovation activities are to deploy novel assistive and surveillance technologies to clinical populations to improve 'dose-potency' of exercise for health, fitness and functional outcomes in these populations. He has a particular focus on the use of FES technologies, including neuroprostheses, for individuals with spinal cord injury, to improve their exercise quality, guide clinical exercise prescription and increase aerobic fitness and muscular strength.

Professor Davis has been Chief Investigator on numerous national and international projects with research income exceeding AUD12M.  These have included projects funded in Australia and Malaysia into exercise for breast cancer survivors, increasing physical activity in community-embedded individuals with intellectual disability, exercise prescription for chronic stroke patients, use of body-worn sensors as feedback arrays to FES systems, FES robotic systems for walking, and FES-cycling exercise in persons with spinal cord injury. On these topics, Dr Davis has published 19 book chapters and over 94 peer-reviewed journal articles.

Professor Davis is currently Vice President of the International Functional Electrical Stimulation Society (IFESS), where he is a life member. He is now seeking a new term on the Board of Directors for 2017-2019.


Ugo Carraro
Padova, Italy

Born: February 23, 1943, Abano Terme (Padova), Italy. Citizenship: Italy

Degree and Academic Positions: M.D., he was Professor of General Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Padova, Italy. Founder and Principal Investigator of the Laboratory of Translational Myology of the - CIR-Myo – the Interdepartmental Research Center of Myology of the University of Padova, Italy. Recipient of many National and International Grants, Prof Carraro is Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of Translational Myology (EJTM), previously known as “Basic Applied Myology (BAM)”.
He is now Senior Scholar of Padua University and Scientific Consultant at the IRCCS Fondazione Ospedale San Camillo, Venezia-Lido, Italy

Achievements and expertise: Prof. Ugo Carraro is a world-class leader in molecular and structural analyses of skeletal muscle. He developed bi-dimensional gel electrophoresis for myosin light chains, in particular the embryonic isoform, and was the first to separate myosin heavy chain isoforms of mammal muscles. He discovered the long-term potential of denervated muscle to survive denervation by non-compensatory myofiber regeneration and the positive effects of sport life-style on reinnervation of old muscles. Expert of histochemical and ultrastructural morphometry of human skeletal muscle biopsies, he is applying his expertise in translational myology approaches by analyses of denervation-reinnervation and aged skeletal muscles. His main Research Interest are: Basics of muscle plasticity and their applications to medical research (Translational Myology) in: i) Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) of denervated human muscle; ii) Role of apoptosis and regenerative myogenesis in exercise-induced muscle damage.

Publications 129 - Citations 2.918 - h-index 29