Keynote Speeches

Keynote 1: Silicon technologies creating a revolution in predictive and preventive health care

Dr. Rudy Lauwereins
Vice President at IMEC

Date: Thursday, October 31, 2013
Time: to be announced
Room: to be announced

Heterogeneous integration has the potential to re-direct the focus from electronics-for-infotainment to electronics helping to solve the mounting societal challenges our earth is facing, including better and more affordable health care and cure for everyone. Making extensive use of examples in the areas of body area networks and life sciences, I will clarify how the combination of advanced process technology, heterogeneous integration, design methodology and application knowledge enables important breakthroughs in health care, diagnostics, monitoring and therapeutic cure. I will then discuss two use cases in more detail: (1) the detection of circulating tumor cells in whole blood using a combination of microfluidics-in-silicon, MEMS and lens-free imaging, and (2) reading a rat's mind using implanted silicon neuroprobes with hundreds of electrodes.


Lauwereins RudyRudy Lauwereins is vice president of imec, which performs world-leading research and delivers industry-relevant technology solutions through global partnerships in nano-electronics, ICT, healthcare and energy. He is director of imec’s Smart Systems Technology Office, guiding the strategic research decisions in vision and telecommunication systems, and in (bio)medical and lifestyle electronics,. He also leads the imec Academy, coordinating all external and internal training curricula. He is a part-time Full Professor at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, where he teaches Computer Architectures in the Master of Science in Elektrotechnical Engineering program. Before joining imec in 2001, he held a tenure Professorship in the Faculty of Engineering at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven since 1993. He had obtained a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 1989. Professor Lauwereins has authored and co-authored more than 380 publications in international journals, books and conference proceedings. He is a fellow of the IEEE.

Keynote 2: New neurostimulation designs for implantable electrodes

Prof. Dirk De Ridder, MD, PhD
Department of Surgical Sciences, section of Neurosurgery, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, New Zealand
BRAI²N, Sint Augustinus Hospital Antwerp, Belgium

Date: Friday, Novenber 1, 2013
Time: to be announced
Room: to be announced

One of the major breakthroughs in neuroscience was the recognition of neuroplasticity, i.e. the fact that the brain is capable of changing its activity, connectivity, structure and function as an adaptation to a changing environment. Neuromodulation has subsequently been developed to induce neuroplastic changes by the application of local electrical, magnetic, sound, light or other stimuli in an attempt to treat maladaptive brain related pathologies. However success has been hampered by a lack of understanding of neuroplasticity, as well as by hard- and software and regulatory limitations leading to “medieval neurostimulation devices”.
In an attempt to improve outcomes of clinically applied neurostimulation treatments, new neurostimulation designs should be developed, so that neurosurgeons can “communicate with a brain in language it understands”. Current treatments all involve high frequency (+/- 130 Hz) stimulation which induces a local electrophysiological silence with intermittent irregular spontaneous bursting. This “virtual lesion” induces network changes which can sometimes be beneficial for the patient. However this entails an on-off phenomenon, and does not permit controlled dimming of focal and network activity and requires a certain amount of luck.
Potentially promising neuromodulatory treatments could involve burst stimulation, copy-paste stimulation, independent component stimulation, noise stimulation etc incorporated in open and closed loop systems. As such one has to build an “electronic brain module” which can be universally applicable, a novel kind of neurointegrator. This requires that one can easily sense and recognize pathological activity from normal activity, develop flexible and adaptive stimulation patterns and use a processor between sensing and output that includes memory capacities.
Examples in clinical practice demonstrate that the first steps into this new world of neuromodulation are beneficial for patients. Therefore engineers, basic and clinical neuroscientists and neurosurgeons should collaborate to develop the next generation of 3rd millennium neuromodulation devices.


Dirk De RidderDirk De Ridder, MD, PhD, is the Neurological Foundation professor of Neurosurgery at the Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago in New Zealand. He is founder and director of the BRAI²N (Brain Research consortium for Advanced, Innovative & Interdisciplinary Neuromodulation). His main interest is the understanding and treatment of phantom perceptions (sound, pain), especially by use of functional imaging navigated non-invasive (TMS, tDCS, tACS, tRNS, LORETA neurofeedback) and invasive (implants) neuromodulation techniques. He has developed “burst” and “noise” stimulation as novel stimulation designs for implants, and is working on other stimulation designs. He has published 30 bookchapters, co-edited the Textbook of Tinnitus, and has authored or co-authored more than 130 pubmed listed papers, of which 100 deal with phantom sound perception. He is reviewer for 55 journals.

Keynote 3: Closed Loop Spinal Cord Stimulation for relief from pain

Prof. John L. Parker, PhD, FATSE
National Information and Communications Technology Australia, Eveleigh, NSW Australia
Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering, University of New South Wales, Kensington, NSW Australia
Saluda Medical Pty Ltd , Eveleigh, NSW Australia

Date: Saturday, November 2, 2013
Time: to be announced
Room: to be announced

Despite the long term clinical success of spinal cord stimulation for the relief of neuropathic pain both mechanisms of action and strategies for rationale design of stimulation systems and paradigms have so far evaded the neuromodulation community. We have developed new tools for in-situ study of the electrophysiology of neuromodulation via measurement of the electrically evoked compound action potential. We have used data obtained from both animals and humans to study the excitability and properties of dorsal column fibers. This understanding has allowed us to develop a closed loop neuromodulation control system that continuously adjusts the stimulation parameters to maintain constant dorsal column recruitment. The amplitude of the stimulation is only one of many factors that need to be adjusted to the other parameters, pulse shape, frequency can also be systematically varied and studied with in-situ -electrophysiology. Animal studies were conducted with anesthetized sheep and a variety of standard and custom made electrodes. Trial SCS leads were implanted in human subjects and connected to a custom built recording and stimulation system (Saluda Medical). A large variety of pulse parameters were studied including dynamic parameter control where the ECAP amplitude is used to continually adjust the stimulation currents. The ECAP recording and stimulating system is able to dynamically adjust the amplitude of the stimulation current and maintain constant neural recruitment even for intrinsic motion due heart beat and breathing but also for sudden motion eg coughs. Closed loop control of amplitude provides significant improvements over conventional stimulation for maintenance of dorsal column recruitment with conventional stimulation frequencies (30 – 150Hz).


John L. ParkerJohn Parker has a fascination for neuro-stimulation and its applications. An interest, which he is currently pursuing as head of the implants systems research project at NICTA since August 2008 and CEO of Saluda Medical Pty Ltd. John Parker Joined Cochlear Ltd in 1994 and was appointed an executive director of the company in 2002. Cochlear is the worlds leading supplier of cochlear implants. During his thirteen year career at cochlear John served in a number of senior management functions including COO and head of R&D. John has experience in working in every aspect of commercialisation of R&D, from pure research through to full industrialisation. John has an academic background (PhD ANU) and has worked in both Australian and international universities. Has authored numerous scientific publications and patents. John is an ATSE fellow, Harvard business School (PMD) graduate, Docent at the Royal Institute of technology in Stockholm Sweden, ATSE Clunies Ross Medallist (2010) and adjunct Professor UNSW School of Biomedical Engineering. John is an experienced director of both listed and non listed companies and research centres.