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Biography

Dr. George F. Wittenberg is a Neurologist in the VAPHS, and Director of the Laboratory for Research on Arm Function and Therapy (RAFT), affiliated with the Rehab Neural Engineering Labs. He arrived in Pittsburgh in 2018 as the outgoing Director of the VA Maryland Exercise and Robotics Center of Excellence. Previously, he was Director of the Rehabilitation Program within the Department of Neurology at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He obtained his doctorate degree in Biology at the University of California, San Diego, in 1991 and completed medical school in 1993 at the same university. Dr. Wittenberg had further clinical and research training at Washington University, St. Louis and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He was on sabbatical 2012-2103 working with Stephan Swinnen and Ilse Jonkers on the brain basis of reaching in 3D, at KU Leuven University in Belgium in the Dept. of Kinesiology.

His ongoing research interests presently lie in using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and functional imaging to understand motor cortical reorganization following stroke and in designing and testing new methods for neurorehabilitation. He was the site principal investigator in VA Cooperative Study #558, “Robotic Assisted Upper-Limb Neurorehabilitation in Stroke Patients” and continues to study the neural plasticity that underlies robotic rehabilitation. He is developing hybrid methods of combining TMS with robotic and virtual reality training, and multimodal physiological monitoring with feedback control of robotic assistance, to maximize the return of motor function after neurological injury by harnessing activity-dependent brain plasticity.

 

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Nitin Sharma received the B.E. degree in Industrial Engineering from Thapar University, India, in 2004, and the M.S. degree and the Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, in 2008 and 2010, respectively. He was an Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions Post-Doctoral Fellow with the Department of Physiology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. Since 2012, he has been an Assistant Professor with the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, University of Pittsburgh. His research interests include the modeling, optimization, and control of functional electrical stimulation-elicited walking. He has won O Hugo Schuck Award for the Best Application Paper from the 2008 American Control Conference. His current research in hybrid exoskeletons is funded by three NSF awards and one NIH R03 Award. He won NSF CAREER Award in 2018. 

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Prof. dr. Lucas HV van der Woude is coordinator of section "Rehabilitation and functional Recovery" at the Center for Human Movement Sciences (CHMS) at the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), University of Groningen (UoG), The Netherlands. The CHMS hosts a 5yr bachelor-master program in Human Movement & Sports Sciences with a total of ~550 Ba-Ma students and 45 PhD students. Van der Woude is specialized in human movement, rehabilitation, adapted sports and ergonomics (www.rug.nl/staff/l.h.v.van.der.woude/) with specific interests in wheeled mobility & exercise capacity,  cyclic (upper) body exercise and motor skill; sport and handicap. In 2011 he received the Paralympic Scientific Award from the International Paralympic Committee. He published over 270 sci-publications (H-index 47) and currently supervises 11 PhD students. Van der Woude is a member of the Aletta Jacobs School for Public Health, UoG. He is an Adjunct researcher at Center for Rehabilitation, UMCG, a Visiting Professor at University of Loughborough, Peter Harrison Center for Disability Sport and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Human Engineering Research Laboratories, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Pittsburgh. He is currently involved in the organization of his 6th International RehabMove congress. For more details, please see also www.respact.nl, www.scionn.nl, www.rehabmove2018.com

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Eliana C. Ferretti, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Science of Human Movement and Coordinator of the Assistive Technology Research Center at the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP), Baixada Santista Campus. Dr. Ferretti received her Master degree and PhD degree in Rehabilitation Science from the University of Pittsburgh, in 2003 and 2007 respectively.  Dr. Ferretti bachelor's degrees are in Occupational Therapy from Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCAR) in 1995.  Dr. Ferretti’s research interests are in the areas of assistive technology focus on wheelchair client satisfaction and developing of assistive products. 

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The Key Laboratory of Biomedical Information Engineering of the Ministry of Education
Institute of Biomedical Engineering
School of Life Science and Technology
Xi'an Jiaotong University
Xi'an, Shaanxi, 710049 People's Republic of China

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Hisaichi Ohnabe graduated from Japan Coast Guard Academy in 1962 and joined IHI. He engaged to research and development of the following projects:

 

  • Marine steam turbine for the biggest tanker at that time;
  • Civil aero engine (structure & strength), V2500 (Five Nations [UK, USA, Germany, Italy and Japan] Collaboration Project);
  • Composite materials for Aero Engine and Space Operation.

 

Hisaichi undertook a Master of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering degree in 1971 as a Fulbright exchange student and then a Ph.D. at the University of Delaware in 1975.  After retiring from IHI, he became a professor in the Department of Biocybernetics, Faculty of Engineering, Niigata University from 1998, and also a professor in the Graduate School of Science and Technology at Niigata University. Hisaichi then joined the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, at the University of Pittsburgh and Human Engineering Research Laboratories, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, as visiting professor in April 2004 and as Adjunct Professor in October 2005.  

Following his positions in the U.S, Hisaichi returned to Japan and became a professor of Niigata University of Health & Welfare in March 2006. There, he was a professor in the Department of Prosthetics & Orthotics and Assistive Technology, School of Health Sciences, and he has been a professor in the Graduate School and created the Rehabilitation Science and Assistive Technology Subject and has taught credit hours in English. Hisaichi is now a professor emeritus of Niigata University of Health & Welfare  He continues as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Pittsburgh.

Hisaichi was a former board member (director of international affairs) of the Rehabilitation Engineering Society of JAPAN (RESJA) from 2009 to 2013 and he has been a board member of the Japanese Society for Wellbeing Science and Assistive Technology since 2015. He is also an advisory board member of the International Society of Wheelchair Professionals (ISWP).

 

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Jongbae Kim, Ph.D. works for Yonsei University, as an Associate Professor of Department of Occupational Therapy, the director of YESTEC (Yonsei Enabling Science and Technology Research Center), and the chief instructor of Graduate Program of Enabling Technology. He also was appointed as an Adjunct Professor of University of Pittsburgh. He worked for National Rehabilitation Research Institute, Seoul, Korea as Vice-Director for 5 years before he moved to Yonsei University March 1st 2014. He received Ph.D. degrees and worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Assistant Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, University of Pittsburgh. Within rehabilitation science he specializes in seating and mobility, telerehabilitation, virtual reality application, adaptive sports devices, and rehabilitation robotics. He directed around 10 government-funded research and service projects including rehabilitation robot translational researches and assistive technology R&D and service projects in Korea. He served as the director of the Rehabilitation Robot Translational Research Center. While he was studying the MS program at KAIST, he became spinal cord injured as the result of fall and became quadriplegic. It is his sincere hope that his experiences with SCI for 27 years can be used to help develop solutions for improving educational, vocational and quality of life aids and services for future generations of people with SCI and other disabilities.

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