Team

Group Leads

Chris Awai, Ph.D
Group Lead Rehab Technology & Research Coordinator
#MovementAnalysis #DistributedClinicalAssessments #DigitalMobilityOutcomes #PersonalizedRehabilitation
Chris Awai was awarded his PhD in health and exercise science in 2014 from the Universities of Nice and Sydney jointly. His interests center on the rehabilitation of gait and balance after insult to the central nervous system. His work encompasses development of locomotor assessment paradigms and the introduction of markers of gait quality into clinical practice. Since 2020, he leads the cereneo Foundation, an interdisciplinary research team with the mission to bridge the gap between research and clinical implementation in neurorehabilitation.
Christoph Bauer, Ph.D
Assistant Professor
Therapie­wissenschaften
#TrunkControl, #MovementTherapy, #TherapeuticConcepts, #Telerehabilitation, #MovementAnalysis
Christoph Bauer was awarded his PhD in rehabilitation medicine in 2018 from Tampere University, Finland, and his adjunct professorship for physiotherapy from University of Jyväskylä, Finland, in 2021. His interests center on the rehabilitation of trunk control after an insult to the central nervous system and the possibilities of telerehabilitation and novel rehabilitation technologies in general to improve models of care in neurorehabilitation. Since 2023, he leads the research group Therapy Sciences.
Paolo Gasparini, MD
Affiliate Professor Neuronutrition
#PersonalisedNutrition #Nutrigenetics #TasteScience #SensoryRehabilitation
Paolo Gasparini is a professor of Medical Genetics at the University of Trieste, Head of Medical Genetics Service and Head of the Department for Advanced Diagnostics and Clinical Trials at IRCCS Mother Child Hospital Burlo Garofolo, in Trieste. He has extensive experience in studying genetic basis of inherited diseases as well genetics risk factors for complex traits and diseases, in addition to genetics of senses, such as genetics of hearing loss, taste and food preferences including nutrigenetics and their implication on health status. Since 2021 he collaborates with LLUI to advance research activities in personalised nutrition and Neuronutrition.
Gregor Hasler, MD
Affiliate Professor Neuropsychology
#Neuropsychologie #PsychedelicResearch #NeuroScience #GutBrainAxis #Neuroplasticity
Gregor Hasler is a psychiatrist, psychotherapist and neuroscientist. He is a professor for psychiatry and psychotherapy at the University of Fribourg and head physician with FNPG. His research interests range from molecular neuroimaging of GABA neurotransmitter systems in affective disorders to psychedelics’s effects on neuroplasticity. At Lake Lucerne Institute he heads the Neuropsychology group as an affiliate professor.

Academic Team

Sandra Giovanoli, Ph.D
Education Coordinator & Postdoctoral Fellow
#Neuroscience #PersonalizedRehabilitation #Language&Cognition #Speech #Voice #Voice Monitoring
Sandra has finished her PhD at ETH of Zurich in Behavioural Neuroscience in 2015, where she investigated the effects of environmental factors on brain development. In 2017, she moved to cereneo Foundation as founding member, where she covers the logopedic and neuropsychological areas of neurorehabilitation. Her work includes research and development of place-independent methods for assessment and monitoring of speech, language and cognitive functions in stroke.
Catherine Maher (Graham), Ph.D
Postdoctoral Fellow
#PersonalizedNutrition #Nutritionist #TasteScience #Sensory #Taste #SensoryRehabilitation #ScentTraining
Cat completed a PhD in Personalised Nutrition in 2019, following completion of a master’s degree in Human Nutrition. She moved to cefir in 2022 to continue her research line in nutrition sensory science, combining the world of taste and scent perception with genetic variation and dietary intake. For Cat’s publication history click here.
Thomas Menard
Research Engineer
#AndroidDevelopment #DataCollection #DataAnalysis #UI #UX
Thomas obtained his bachelor degree in Bio-Engineering and Biomedical Engineering in 2020 at ESILV, Leonard de Vinci Graduate School of Engineering. He continued his studies in Biomedical Engineering at CentraleSupelec, Paris, for his masters degree. After an internship at Cereneo Foundation in 2022, he returned to work here as a Research Engineer. The projects he works on, involve the development of Android applications. His previous engagement in a startup in this field has allowed him to acquire a certain expertise. Thomas is very interested in the field of artificial intelligence, and thus, he is also working on data analysis using Machine and Deep Learning models.
Marwen Mokni
Research Engineer
#TrunkControl #BiomedialEngineering #MotionCapture #Marker-lessRGBset-up #Machinelearning
Marwen is currently taking on the role of Research Engineer, supporting the Therapy Science group in the development of a functional and multidisciplinary movement laboratory. Previously, he completed a Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering at EPFL and successfully completed his Master’s thesis at the Cereneo Foundation. In his thesis, Marwen was tasked with investigating a marker-less motion capture system for tracking upper limb movements, focusing on stroke patients.
Leah Schulz
Research Assistant
#BiomedicalEngineering #iARAT #MovementKinematics #imu
With a Masters degree in Biomedical Engineering, Leah is working as a Research Engineer on an instrumented version of the Action Research Arm Test (ARAT). Here, she is analyzing the variability of movement kinematics across different tasks and phases of the assessment.
Josua Zimmermann, Ph.D
Postdoctoral Fellow
#medical image analysis #MRI #fMRI #DTI #data science #cognitive neuroscience #neurorehabilitation #psychedelic research
Josua combines neuroimaging and data science to advance research in clinical neuroscience. He has a background in molecular neurobiology and received a PhD in neuroscience from ETH Zurich. He also recently completed a diploma in applied statistics at ETH Zurich to enhance his skills in data analysis. Josua is the lab manager of the MRI facility and is particularly interested in the neural signatures underlying sensory and cognitive impairments in neurological patients. He is currently investigating the effect of psilocybin (a serotonin receptor agonist) on brain neuroplasticity and how this might improve functional recovery after stroke.

Management 

Sandra Keller
Managerial Assistant
Sandra Keller has extensive professional experience working in the field of Project and Relationship Management and as a Management Assistant in many lines of businesses. She holds a Bachelor degree in Business Administration from HWZ University of Applied Sciences in Business Administration in Zurich. At LLUI she supports the management in various tasks.
Lisa Stürgkh
CEO
Lisa Stürgkh read Experimental Psychology at Oxford before working as a line producer in film production for an extensive period. After further training she ventured into NPOs and most recently managed the P&K Pühringer Gemeinnützige Stiftung. She joined Lake Lucerne Institute in 2021 and acts as its administrative director.

PhD Students

André Böni
#PersonalizedRehabilitation #Physiotherapist #PersonalizedFeedback #MovementAnalysis #ClinicalDecisioning
André is a trained application developer and physiotherapist. He finished his master degree in physiotherapy – profession development in summer 2022 at the University of Applied Science Berne. André joined the cereneo Foundation as a PhD student for the StimuLOOP Project. His work is mainly focused on movement analysis, clinical decisioning and personalized feedback
Marine Ducrot
#Mechatronics #GaitStability #STRIDER
After completing her end-of-studies internship at LLUI and obtained her master’s degree in Mechatronic Systems for Rehabilitation, Marine is doing a PhD in gait stability at LLUI. She is also taking part in the STRIDER project that aims to increase stroke survivors walking and balance confidence through haptic feedback and is still involved in her internship project “Bump’em”.
Saskia Neumann
#GaitRehabilitation #GaitQuality #Capacity-Performance Relationship #PerturbationBasedTraining
Saskia is a trained physiotherapist and finished her Master’s degree in Sport-Science – Applied Movement Research at University of Freiburg. Saskia has work experience as a physiotherapist in neurorehabilitation and neuropaediatrics. In fall 2023, Saskia started her PhD at the University of Zurich in collaboration with LLUI. Her research focuses on the relationship between motor capacity and motor performance to gain a more comprehensive understanding of stroke and Parkinsons disease patients’ mobility and movement quality.
Francesco Piluso
#Nutrition #Nutrition&Genetics #PersonalisedNutrition #TheSenses #Neurorehabilitation
Francesco graduated from the University of Naples Federico II in Biological Sciences in Italy. During his studies, he mainly focused on molecular biology and genetics in the field of diagnostics. In 2022, he started his PhD at the University of Trieste and a collaboration with Cefir. The project he is working on concerns food science, in detail, the analysis of individual variations in the perceptions of taste and smell, how genetics affects them and how this information can be used to improve eating habits and general health.
Johannes Pohl
#MotorRecoveryPostStroke #SensorBasedOutcome #ClinicalAssessment #KnowledgeTranslation
Johannes completed a Master of Science degree in Physiotherapy at the Bern University of Applied in 2016. The Implementation of evidence-based interventions and integrated assessment in Neurorehabilitation Clinics was the core interest as a Physiotherapist. Johannes started a joint PhD at the Universities of Zurich and Leuven, focusing on the properties and predictability of sensor-based and clinical outcomes post-stroke. His research aims to integrate quantification and quality assessment of activities of daily living after stroke into clinical rehabilitation.
Harry Stevens
#Nutrition #Nutrition&Genetics #PersonalisedNutrition #TheSenses #Neurorehabilitation
Following an undergraduate degree in Nutrition, Harry received his master’s in Nutrition and Genetics from St Mary’s University, London in 2021. After pursuing research about the association between variations in circadian rhythm genes and type 2 diabetes, Harry joined cefir, in association with the University of Trieste, in 2022. His PhD project will investigate whether personalised meals can be created for individuals based on sense of smell, taste and genotype, and whether taste and scent sensitivity can be re-established in individuals suffering from neurodegenerative / neurological conditions.
PhD Student
#IMU #Motioncapture #StrokeRehabilitation #MovementScience #Machinelearning #BiomedicalEngineering
Tim studied Mechanical Engineering at the KIT (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) for his bachelor’s degree and completed his master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering at the TU Berlin in March 2022. Shortly after, Tim joined cefir and started his PhD in collaboration with ETH Zurich. In his PhD, Tim focuses on the evaluation of upper body neurorehabilitation with low-budget technologies.

Master Students & Interns

Zoé Jungi
Zoé Jungi
#BiomechanicalEngineering #StimuLOOP #HapticFeedback #GaitAnalysis
Zoé is a master’s student in Life Sciences and Biomechanical Engineering at EPFL Lausanne. For her Master Thesis at LLUI, she is further analyzing the impact of haptic feedback of targeted gait parameters for gait training as part of the StimuLOOP project.
Luca Frattini
#Robotics #MRIcompatible #GaitAnalysis #MotorControl
Luca is a MSc student in Robotics at the TU Delft (NL), working at the LLUI on the MRI-compatible stepping robot MARCOS-II. The project focuses on imaging neural activity underlying lower limb movements. Key responsibilities include setting up and testing the robot in an MRI environment, conducting fMRI measurements, and analyzing fMRI data..
Fiona Streit
#iARAT, #IMU
Fiona is a master’s student in Health Sciences and Technology at ETH Zurich. During her internship, she will conduct a study with healthy participants to collect reference data for the iARAT project.

Close Collaborators

Jiahui An
PhD Student
#CognitiveNeuroscience #BCI #BehaviorNeuroimagingI #VirtualReality #Neurorehabilitation #Stroke
Jiahui started her PhD in Cefir in September 2022, her main research project is at the intersection of Brain-Computer-Interface and Cognitive Neuroscience. Jiahui gained her master degree in Neural Behavior Sciences at the International Max Planck Research School (Tübingen) in October 2021. Her project aims to develop a digital biomarker capable of detecting cognitive load through lab experiments, utilizing functional near-infrared spectroscopy.
Mathieu Berthet
PhD Student
#Neurorehabilitation #PersonalizedRehabilitation #RealTimeFeedback #GaitAnalysis #StimuLOOP
Mathieu completed his Master in Mechanical Engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne in August 2022. After completing his Master’s thesis at Balgrist Campus on the neural coupling bilateral finger movements and working for the pharma industry as an automation engineer, he joined the Rehabilitation Engineering Lab at ETHZ, in collaboration with the Lake Lucerne Institute, as a PhD candidate. The focus of his thesis is on evaluating the impact of feedback during gait training and how to develop personalized feedback trainings for patients.
Meret Branscheidt, MD
Group Lead Neurorehabilitation
#NIBS #ClinicalResearch #MotorRecovery #UpperLimbFunction #NeurophysiologyOfRecovery
Meret Branscheidt is an experienced clinician specialised in Neurorehabilitation and a dedicated Neuroscientist. She received her clinical education at the University Hospital Zurich and pursued her Post Doc training at Johns Hopkins University. Her primary focus lies in gaining a more profound comprehension of recovery and therapeutic processes, and how they interact to enhance neurorehabilitation outcomes for her patients. Her work encompasses neurophysiological investigations into brain plasticity following strokes, exploration of motor learning principles in both healthy and neurologically impaired individuals, and the application of NIBS as a therapeutic tool. Since 2020, she has held the positions of Deputy Medical Director and Medical Research Director at cereneo Hertenstein.
Anna Knill
PhD Student
#Neurorehabilitation #FingerIndividuation #ManualDexterity #UpperLimbTherapy
After her bachelor in Health Sciences and Technology, Anna completed her master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering at ETH Zürich in August 2022. During this time, she performed internships at the Swiss Paraplegic Center and AO Research Institute. Finding her passion in rehabilitation, she worked with a robotic exoskeleton (from Hocoma) to assess upper limb movements during therapy and was involved in organizations that use assistive technologies to support people with disabilities. In fall 2022, Anna started her PhD at ETH Zurich (RELab) in collaboration with Lake Lucerne Institute. The focus of her project lies in the assessment of manual dexterity for neurorehabilitation.
Yesica Martinez
PhD Student
#Neuropsychology #Stroke Rehabilitation #Reward #Music #fMRI
Yésica completed the master’s degree in clinical psychology and neuroscience at the University of Basel. After graduating, she worked as a neuropsychologist at the University Hospital of Zürich. Yésica’s passion for exploring the therapeutic benefits of music led her to pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Zürich. Her research focuses on investigating how music can be used to aid neurorehabilitation. Alongside her academic pursuits, Yésica also works as a part-time neuropsychologist at the clinic cereneo and is an active member of the young SVNP and YouCliN. Through her involvement in these organizations, Yésica is committed to advancing the field of neuropsychology and finding new ways to help patients achieve better outcomes.
Aileen Naef
Postdoctoral Fellow
#Neurorehabilitation #PersonalizedRehabilitation #RealTimeFeedback #GaitAnalysis #StimuLOOP
Aileen got her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Bern in 2023, following the completion of a master’s degree in Bioengineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. Aileen is now a postdoc at the Rehabilitation Engineering Lab at ETHZ, in collaboration with the Lake Lucerne Institute, within the StimuLOOP project. Her research focuses on the development of augmented feedback for gait during post-stroke therapy.
Josef Schönhammer, Ph.D
Postdoctoral Fellow
#CognitivePsychology #HumanFactors #CognitiveNeuroscience #HumanComputerInteraction #UserExperience
Josef completed a PhD in Cognitive Psychology in 2015, following a master’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction. He worked as human factors and user experience researcher in the automobile and consumer electronics industries, before he joined cefir in 2020. Here his research focuses on the development and application of rehabilitation technology for the upper extremities.
Belen Valladares
PhD Student
#UpperLimbRehab #TherapyConcept #MedicalDevices #ImplementationScience #KnowledgeTranslation
Belen holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from King’s College London and a Master’s degree in Clinical Trial Management from the University of Lleida. She is pursuing her PhD in Medical Science at the University of Zurich, focusing on upper limb outcomes and neurorehabilitation post-stroke. At the cereneo clinic, Belen plays a key role in developing and improving the Therapy Concept and focuses on knowledge translation and implementation science to enhance patient outcomes. She also serves as Clinical Operations Manager for the StimuLOOP Project at the cereneo Foundation.”

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