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Keynote Speakers

BIOSTEC is a joint conference composed of four concurrent conferences: BIODEVICES, BIOINFORMATICS, BIOSIGNALS and HEALTHINF.
These four conferences are always co-located and held in parallel.
Keynote lectures are plenary sessions and can be attended by all BIOSTEC participants.


Sergio Cerutti, Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy
          Title: Cardiovascular Variability Signals: Towards a Quantitative Assessment of the Complexity of Autonomic Controlling Systems with Novel Application Tools

Alberto Cliquet Jr., State University of Campinas, Brazil
          Title: The Application of Biomedical Instrumentation for Sensory-Motor Recovery and Functional Assessment in Spinal Cord Injured Individuals

Mário Forjaz Secca, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal
          Title: The Application of Simultaneous Acquisition of EEG and Functional MRI in Epilepsy

Tanja Schultz, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
          Title: Biosignals and Interfaces

Bruno Sobral, Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, U.S.A.
          Title: Informatics-Driven Infectious Disease Research

Bradley Nelson, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
          Title: Making Microrobots Move


Keynote Lecture 1
Cardiovascular Variability Signals:
Towards a Quantitative Assessment of the Complexity of Autonomic Controlling Systems with
Novel Application Tools
Sergio Cerutti
Polytechnic University in Milan

Brief Bio
Sergio Cerutti is Professor in Biomedical Signal and Data Processing at the Department of Bioengineering of the Polytechnic University in Milano, Italy. In the period 2000-2006 he has been the Chairman of the same Department and currently he is the Chairman of the Programs of Biomedical Engineering. His research interests are mainly in the following topics: biomedical signal processing (ECG, blood pressure signal and respiration, cardiovascular variability signals, EEG and evoked potentials), neurosciences and cardiovascular modelling. In his research activity he has put emphasis on the integration of information at different modalities, at different sources and at different scales in various physiological systems. Since 1983 he has taught a course at a graduate and a doc level on Biomedical Signal Processing and Modelling at Engineering Faculties (Milano and Roma) as well as at Specialisation Schools of Medical Faculties (Milano and Roma). He has been Elected Member of IEEE-EMBS AdCom (Region 8) in the period 1993-1996. He is actually Fellow Member of IEEE and of EAMBES and Associate Editor of IEEE Trans BME. He is a member of the Steering Committee of the IEEE-EMBS Summer School on Biomedical Signal Processing: he was the local organiser of four Summer Schools held in Siena. He has been Visiting Professor at Harvard-MIT Division Health Science and Technology, Boston, USA for an overall period of 1 year as well as for a period of four months at IST - Department of Physics, Lisbon, Portugal. He is the Author of more than 400 international scientific contributions (more than 220 on indexed scientific journals). In 2009 he received the IEEE-EMBS Academic Career Achievement Award.

Cardiovascular system regulating mechanisms are known to be complex as they have to act in very different physiological conditions and also must play a crucial role in pathological situations where the objective is most often to maintain the vital signs within determined value ranges compatible with stable clinical states.
Furthermore, cardiovascular system in its functioning has direct interactions with other physiological systems (i.e. respiratory, central nervous, endocrine-metabolic, renal systems etc), thus making more intricate the network of information exchange. In clinical studies it could not be easy to have access to the main signals which directly carry information about the functioning of the cardiovascular system: the beat-to-beat variability of the main cardiovascular parameters (heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, respiration and others) is an indirect measurement of the effect of the regulating mechanisms. Variability signals are therefore the manifestation of the normal or the pathological cardiovascular behaviours.
On these methodological bases, important new applicative tools have been conceived, by employing new technologies based upon Smart Wearable Devices (SWD) for personalized services in Health applications: these objectives have been pursued extensively by Governments and Research Agencies in all parts of the world over the past few years and noticeably in European Union Countries where public research has widely supported such an applicative area inside e-Health or ICT topics. As significant examples there are MYHEART Project on "Fighting Cardio-vascular Diseases by Prevention and Early Diagnosis" and PRO-eTEX Project on "Protection e-Textiles: MicroNanoStructured fibre systems for emergency-disaster wear" inside Framework Programme FP6 and HEARTCYCLE on "Compliance and Effectiveness in Heart Failure and Congestive Heart Disease Closed-Loop Management" and PSYCHE (Personalised monitoring SYstems for Care in mental HEalth) in FP7 Programme.
The paper describes a few approaches which are employed to enhance physiological and clinical information from cardiovascular variability signals: in particular, applications of the integration between parametric modelling and signal processing as well as other innovative fusion of information.
Furthermore, a few solutions will be introduced and described which have been studied and implemented inside the previous mentioned Research Programs, with a particular focus in the area of cardiovascular applications and for sleep and stress parameter detection from vital signs obtained through proper signal processing. It will be remarked that a real innovation in this area does not depend only on new and reliable sensors or materials, as well as on advanced telecommunication systems, but also on new concepts of integrating information from vital signals, generally detected from different physiological compartments. Such an integration involves multiorgan, multisource, multimodal and multiscale signal processing approaches.


Keynote Lecture 2
The Application of Biomedical Instrumentation for
Sensory-Motor Recovery and Functional Assessment in Spinal Cord Injured Individuals
Alberto Cliquet Jr.
State University of Campinas
Keynote Video

BIOSTEC 2011 - Keynote Speaker Alberto Cliquet Jr.
Brief Bio
Graduated from the University of São Paulo-USP (Engineering School of São Carlos / Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto), completed his doctoral studies in Scotland, Glasgow (PhD, Strathclyde Univ.) in 1988 and followed two academic careers, at USP and University of Campinas-UNICAMP: Senior Lecturer / Associate Professor (1993); Reader (1997), being a full Professor in the Department of Orthopedics & Traumatology, Faculty of Medical Sciences of UNICAMP since 2003 as well as a full Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering of USP since 1998. He coordinates the outpatient rehabilitation clinic for spinal cord injured subjects (University Hospital of UNICAMP, 90 patients a week) working with neural stimulation, motor control, paraplegia, tetraplegia, biomechanics and biomedical instrumentation. He is involved in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching at USP and UNICAMP (integrated clinical-surgical procedures, electronics and rehabilitation engineering), having supervised about 100 undergraduate students with scholarships, many residents in Orthopedics (Braz. Soc.) and over 50 Doctoral and MSc theses as well as postdoctoral fellows. Two thirds of all pubmed papers in the Country (“Quadriplegia Rehabilitation in Brazil”) come from his labs. at USP (Biocybernetics & Rehab. Engr.) and UNICAMP (Biomechanics & Rehabilitation of the Locomotor System) with many papers having being published ( www.pubmed.com “cliquet a or cliquet junior a or junior alberto cliquet”). Experience was gathered by working at the Institute of Heart of São Paulo, Brazilian Institute of Psychodrama and at the Children Rehabilitation Centre (AACD-São Paulo). He was the Head of the Department of Orthopedics-UNICAMP for 4 years (another 4 as deputy head), Head of Electrical Engineering-USP for 2 years (4 as deputy) and also Head of Biomedical Engineering Dept.-UNICAMP (3 years). Works as referee for many Journals (Spinal Cord, Artificial Organs, Med.&Biol.Engr.&Comp., Clinical Biomechanics, IEEEs, IEE, etc.) and has been the examiner of hundreds MSC/PhD theses as well as full professorships both in Brazil and abroad (UK, USA, Australia, etc.). Besides that, Prof. Cliquet is part of Brazilian Health / Engineering Committees , founding member of IFESS-Int.Functional Electrical Stimulation Soc., full member of ISMRM-Int.Soc.for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine and Editor of “Ortopedia e Traumatologia Ilustrada” (new Brazilian Journal). Along his career he was awarded the 1st and 2nd prizes in Rehabilitation (over 150 candidates) from CNPq-National Council for Science & Technology (1997) and has now reached the highest level as a researcher (#1A) from CNPq (end of 2009).
Spinal cord injury (SCI) is known to be a permanent neurological impairment. Patients are classified by functional ASIA (American Spinal Injury Association) degrees, grade A being a complete lesion. About one year after injury, the sensitive and motor levels are stable and 90% of patients with ASIA A show no functional recovery. Improvement of the remaining 10% is enough to reclassify them as ASIA B.
Artificial Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) is being applied to those patients, aiming at osteoporosis regression, cardio-pulmonary function improvement and artificial gait training, as well as towards triggering the human central pattern generator (CPG). Recent work has also shown complete paraplegics becoming incomplete ones and, as an example, a comprehensive clinical case is presented:
A 45 year old male patient, T8 level ASIA A secondary to a sequela of neurocysticercosis in the spinal cord was submitted to NMES (yielding flexion and extension of the hip, knee and ankle joints) gait training for about 3 years. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) shows a diffuse arachnoidytis leading to an almost complete destruction of cord tissue from T3 to T10, with a central cystic (syringomyelia), leaving a thin layer of surrounding neural tissue. Five years after the lesion, the subject referred sensation below injury level; a month later, he started with voluntary ankle dorsiflexion movements (the same pattern originally generated by NMES). Voluntary gait, as well as sphincter control are now possible, the patient being reclassified as T12 ASIA D! Somatory-sensitive evoked potential (SSEP) after tibial nerve stimulation revealed contralateral cortical activity in the correspondent inferior limb area, thus characterizing the sensory recovery.
Until recently, SCI has been taken as a neurological irreversible damage. Technology and rehabilitation protocols can provide a longer life to such patients and minimize their clinical complications. In this context, a novel paradigm has emerged: is neurological regeneration possible? Are humans able to have their long dormant primitive gait patterns evoked through NMES triggered locomotion? Relevant results from other patients undergoing our protocols (references) using biomedical instrumentation and control strategies towards artificial and voluntary gait, as well as data from MRI, SSEP, etc. give further hope for paraplegics and tetraplegics.


Keynote Lecture 3
The Application of Simultaneous Acquisition of EEG and Functional MRI in Epilepsy
Mário Forjaz Secca
Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Keynote Video

BIOSTEC 2011 - Keynote Speaker Mário Forjaz Secca
Brief Bio
Mario Forjaz Secca is Associate Professor of Biophysics at the Department of Physics of Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal. He was the proponent and creator of the Biomedical Engineering Masters program at Universidade Nova de Lisboa, and has been its coordinator since the beginning, apart from the academic year of 2008/2009. He has been working as an imaging Medical Physicist in a private MRI clinic, Ressonancia Magnetica de Caselas, since 1988, and in a public hospital, Hospital Garcia D’Orta, since December 2008. His research interests are mainly in Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Medicine, with some interest in Biomechanics as well. The main topics he has been involved with are: functional MRI, simultaneous acquisition of EEG and fMRI, MRI flow measurements, diffusion weighted imaging, quantitative measurements, Diffusion Tensor Imaging Susceptibility Weighted Imaging, with particular emphasis in neurological diseases like Epilepsy, Alzheimer and Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus, and with emphasis on muscle and joint imaging to model the biomechanics of movement and fatigue in high level athletes. As part of his biomechanics work, together with one of his PhD student and an MSc student, a national and an international patent has been filed for a mechanical instrument to measure the positions of all the spinal column in a standing position. He is a member of ISMRM since 1994, a member of ESMRMB since 1998 and a member of the Portuguese Society of Neuroradiology since 2002. He has been the President of the Portuguese Society of Biomedical Engineering since 2006, and Secretary of the Portuguese Biomechanical Society since 2007. In 2008 he was elected Chairman of the Secretaries Committee of the IFMBE.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging has become in the past 20 years the imaging modality of choice in the study of the brain and the diagnostics of its pathologies. As the technique developed, it became more and more versatile, due to its richness of parameters and complexity of functioning. With time, multimodality approaches started being studied, not only within MRI itself but combining MRI with other techniques. One of the most promising combinations has been the simultaneous acquisition of EEG and fMRI, where an EEG signal is acquired within the MRI machine while a functional MRI exam is taking place. Because if its high temporal resolution and capability to easily detect ictal and interictal brain activity in epileptic patients, EEG can be used to time trigger the occurence of these events during the fMRI acquisition, which in turn can provide a very good spatial localization of the activity. Although there some problems still to be ironed out and some conceptual questions still being solved, the technique has been very successfully used in several epileptic patients with very interesting and clinically relevant results. The presentation will go through the main principles of the simultaneous acquisition technique, describe its practical implementation, discuss some of its problems, and show some of the clinical results obtained so far.


Keynote Lecture 4
Biosignals and Interfaces
Tanja Schultz
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Keynote Video

BIOSTEC 2011 - Keynote Speaker Tanja Schultz
Brief Bio
Tanja Schultz received her Ph.D. and Masters in Computer Science from University Karlsruhe, Germany in 2000 and 1995 respectively and got a German Staatsexamen in Mathematics, Sports, and Educational Science from University of Heidelberg, in 1990. She joined Carnegie Mellon University in 2000 and became a Research Professor at the Language Technologies Institute. Since 2007 she is also a Full Professor at the Computer Science Department of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany. She is the director of the Cognitive Systems Lab, where her research activities focus on human-machine interfaces with a particular area of expertise in rapid adaptation of speech processing systems to new domains and languages. She co-edited a book on this subject and received several awards for this work. In 2001 she received the FZI price for an outstanding Ph.D. thesis. In 2002 she was awarded the Allen Newell Medal for Research Excellence from Carnegie Mellon for her contribution to Speech Translation and the ISCA best paper award for her publication on language independent acoustic modeling. In 2005 she received the Carnegie Mellon Language Technologies Institute Junior Faculty Chair.

Her recent research focuses on human-centered technologies and intuitive human-machine interfaces based on biosignals, by capturing, processing, and interpreting signals such as muscle and brain activities. Her development of a silent speech interface based on myoelectric signals received the Interspeech 2006 Demo award and was selected into the top-ten most important attractions at CeBIT 2010. Tanja Schultz is the author of more than 190 articles published in books, journals, and proceedings. Currently, she is a member of the IEEE Computer Society, the International Speech Communication Association ISCA, the European Language Resource Association, the Society of Computer Science (GI), and serves as elected ISCA Board member, on several program committees, and review panels.
Human communication relies on signals like speech, mimics, or gestures and the interpretation of these signals seems to be innate to humans. In contrast, human interaction with machines and thus human communication mediated through machines is far from being natural. To date, it is restricted to few channels and the capabilities of machines to interpret human signals are still very limited.

At the Cognitive Systems Lab (CSL) we explore human-centered cognitive systems to improve human-machine interaction as well as machine-mediated human communication. We aim to make better use of the strength of machines by departing from just mimicking the human way of communication. Rather we focus on considering the full range of biosignals emitted from the human body, such as electrical biosignals like brain and muscle activity. These signals can be directly measured and interpreted by machines, leveraging emerging wearable, small and wireless sensor technologies. Using these biosignals offers an inside perspective on human mental activities, intentions, or needs and thus complement the traditional way of observing humans from the outside.

In my talk I will discuss ongoing research on "Biosignals and Interfaces" at CSL, such as silent speech interfaces that rely on articulatory muscle movement, and interfaces that use brain activity to determine users' mental states, such as task activity, cognitive workload, emotion, and personality. We hope that our research will lead to a new generation of human centered systems, which are completely aware of the users' needs and provide an intuitive, efficient, robust, and adaptive input mechanism to interaction and communication.


Keynote Lecture 5
Informatics-Driven Infectious Disease Research
Bruno Sobral
Virginia Bioinformatics Institute
Keynote Video

BIOSTEC 2011 - Keynote Speaker Bruno Sobral
Brief Bio
Bruno Sobral is the Director of the Cyberinfrastructure Division of VBI. He was the founding executive and scientific director and professor of VBI, through February 2009, and is a professor in the Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology and Weed Science at Virginia Tech. He received his Ph.D. in genetics from Iowa State University in 1989. He has worked for a number of international research organizations, including Genetica Americas, the Center for Applications of Molecular Biology to International Agriculture, and the California Institute of Biological Research and has held adjunct faculty appointments at New Mexico State University, University of New Mexico, and San Diego State University. Prior to joining VBI, he served as vice president of scientific programs at the National Center for Genome Resources.

Dr Sobral's research interests include bacterial genetics, especially with respect to intracellular pathogens, commensals and symbionts, and information systems design, development, deployment and evolution, mostly focused on bioinformatics, translational informatics and computational systems biology. His Cyberinfrastructure Division is expert at building, deploying, and evolving large-scale 24x7x365 information systems that support biomedical data acquisition, integration, analysis, and discovery for diverse user communities and constituencies. There is a strong focus on usability engineering using human-computer interactions principles in all the information systems that the team builds and deploys, so that end users of the systems are considered in depth from the outset of the design phases through participative development processes, with iterative deployment cycles and agile development methods. Research and development focuses on high-performance, distributed computational infrastructure for the biological research community. The division is also expanding into modeling and simulation of immunological response, primarily focused on chronic inflammatory disorders. There is a strong integration of laboratory expertise and technologies and informatics expertise and technologies throughout the division.
Informatics-driven approaches change how research and development are conducted, who participates, and enable systems-oriented views science and research. The CyberInfrastructure Division of the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech is a highly transdisciplinary, informatics-based team that researches, develops, deploys and uses information systems in support of diverse communities, with a strong historical and current focus in infectious diseases (ID). Most life sciences researchers have a very strong desire for the full integration of data and analysis tools delivered through a single interface. Data analysis, visualization, interpretation, and integration from the perspective of a given research community and its interests is best handled through specific and close interaction with that community and interoperation with major comprehensive data resources, such as those at EMBL or NCBI.

ID research and development provides a uniquely challenging and high impact opportunity to develop resources that interoperate (syntax) with comprehensive resources while integrating (semantics) various types of data and analysis systems for the specific needs of a global community. The biological complexity of infectious disease systems, which are composed of multiple scales of interactions between potential pathogens, hosts (and vectors) and the environment, challenges information resources because of the breadth of organism-organism and organism-environment interactions that are needed to understand outcomes such as disease, asymptomatic carrying, and disease resistance. Beyond research, applications of integrated data for ID serves a variety of constituencies, such as clinical, diagnostic, drug and vaccine development, and epidemiological, which are very important applied areas of data utilization. Thus there is a complexity represented by the data users and their needs and workflows, making ID an opportune area in which to develop, deploy and use CyberInfrastructure.


Keynote Lecture 6
Making Microrobots Move
Bradley Nelson
ETH Zurich
Keynote Video

BIOSTEC 2011 - Keynote Speaker Bradley Nelson
Brief Bio
Brad Nelson is the Professor of Robotics and Intelligent Systems at ETH Zürich. His primary research focus is on microrobotics and nanorobotics with an emphasis on applications in biology and medicine. He received a B.S.M.E. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an M.S.M.E. from the University of Minnesota. He has worked as an engineer at Honeywell and Motorola and served as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Botswana, Africa, before obtaining a Ph.D. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University in 1995. He was an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago (1995-1998) and an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota (1998-2002). He became a Full Professor at ETH ZÜrich in 2002.
Prof. Nelson has been awarded a McKnight Land-Grant Professorship and is a recipient of the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award, the McKnight Presidential Fellows Award, and the Bronze Tablet. He was elected as a Robotics and Automation Society Distinguished Lecturer in 2003 and 2008 and won Best Paper Awards at major robotics conferences and journals for the past seven consecutive years. He was named to the 2005 “Scientific American 50,” Scientific American magazine’s annual list recognizing fifty outstanding acts of leadership in science and technology from the past year for his efforts in nanotube manufacturing. His laboratory won the 2007 and 2009 RoboCup Nanogram Competition, both times the event has been held. He serves on the editorial boards of several journals, has served as the head of the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering from 2005–2007, and is currently the Chairman of the ETH Electron Microscopy Center (EMEZ).
Microrobotics has recently entered the phase in which sub-mm sized autonomous robots are being realized. While the potential impact of these devices on society is high, particularly for biomedical applications, many challenges remain in developing genuine microrobots that will be useful to society. This talk will focus on approaches to the locomotion of microrobots in liquid and on solid surfaces. Issues in the design of external systems for providing energy and control of microrobots must be considered, and the use of externally generated magnetic fields in particular appears to be a promising strategy. Theoretical and experimental issues will be discussed, functionalization of the devices, and efforts to scale microrobots to the nanodomain will be presented.