ICFO –The Institute of Photonic Sciences was founded in 2002 in the Mediterranean Technology Park in the metropolitan area of Barcelona. The institute currently hosts 400 people, organized in 26 research groups in 60 state-of-the-art research laboratories. Research lines encompass diverse areas in which photonics plays a decisive role, with an emphasis on basic and applied themes relevant to medicine and biology, advanced imaging techniques, information technologies, a range of environmental sensors, tunable and ultrafast lasers, quantum science and technologies, photovoltaics and the properties and applications of nano and quantum materials such as graphene, among others. In addition to two consecutive accreditations of the Severo Ochoa national program for research excellence, ICFOnians have been awarded 15 elite ICREA Professorships and 36 European Research Council grants. ICFO participates actively in the European Technological Platform Photonics21 and is very proactive in fostering entrepreneurial activities, spin-off creation, and creating collaborations and links between industry and ICFO researchers. To date, ICFO has helped create 7 start-up companies.
Dr. Turgut Durduran (PhD, Group Leader/Professor) is a professor and group leader at ICFO and the holder of a prestigious ICREA professorship. He has started the ICFO-Medical Optics group in 2009 when he joined ICFO as an assistant professor/junior group leader. In 2014, he has received his tenure and became a professor/group leader. In 2015, he became an ICREA, Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies, professor at ICFO. Over the years, the group has grown exponentially with eighteen PhD students, post-docs and engineers collaborating with about a dozen hospitals and biomedical institutes worldwide. He collaborates extensively with colleagues from the UK, USA, Italy, Denmark, Germany, Austria and France. He has led as a principal investigator or participated as a work-package leader/CO-PI in several collaborative research projects funded by the National Institutes of Health (USA), Ministry of Science and Innovation (Spain), Spanish health ministry (ISCIII), the Spanish ministry of science and innovation (MICINN), Catalan regional government (“Generalitat”) and the European Council. He has coordinated, multi-partner projects from the Spanish government. He coordinates another two European H2020 projects, LUCA and VASCOVID. He has been a WP leader in two European projects- BitMap and BabyLux. A project funded jointly by the Catalan autonomous government and the European Union which has led to the formation of a spin-off company, HemoPhotonics (Spain). Over the years, he has participated in many grant review boards ranging from the National Institutes of Health to the review of the FP7 projects at the European Commission. He has authored over a hundred peer-reviewed papers and delivered numerous invited talks in international conferences and colloquia.
Melih Can (PhD, Postdoctoral researcher) is a post-doctoral at the Medical Optics group at ICFO. He is an expert in data analysis, fusion, clinical studies and also in biomedical instrumentation and diffuse optical measurement.
Nishigandha Patil (PhD, Postdoctoral researcher). She obtained her PhD from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (India) where she worked on algorithmic aspects for fluorescence optical tomography with emphasis on forward modelling and inversion methodologies. Prior to PhD, she also pursued an M. Tech in Laser Technology at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (India).
Muhammad Atif Yaqub (PhD, Postdoctoral researcher). He received a BSc and an MSc in electrical engineering from the Center for Advanced Studies in Engineering (Pakistan) in 2008 and the Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia in 2013. He obtained a PhD in mechanical engineering from the Pusan National University (South Korea) in 2021. He has over eight years of academic, research, and industrial experience both at universities and in private companies. His research interests include embedded and wearable system design, fNIRS-based brain imaging, neuromodulation, robotics, and brain-computer interfaces.
Georgina Tresànchez Lacorte is a PhD student in the Medical Optics group at ICFO. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), where she began her journey in biomedical engineering, focusing on Electrical Impedance Spectroscopy for lung pathology detection. In her master’s thesis at NTNU, she developed a novel method for interrogating multi-resonant optical sensors using square-wave modulated lasers.
Mirko Fornasier is a PhD student in the Medical Optics group at ICFO. He holds a Master’s Degree in Electronic Engineering from the University of Padova (Italy), where he also worked for around two years studying infrared laser diodes for silicon photonics and gallium-nitride transistors for high-frequency applications. He also has experience in the industry and has collaborated for more than four years with an electronic company in the design of firmware for data communication systems.
Ariadna Martinez (PhD) is responsible for IPR management and exploitation of R&D results generated at ICFO, maturing marketable photonic technologies for their applications in Health and Life Sciences. Her expertise includes performing patentability studies, drafting commercialization strategies, raising competitive funding resources and promoting and establishing strategic alliances and collaborations with industry as well as with public institutions. In particular, she is working towards establishing a framework for continuous collaboration between ICFO and its network of hospitals partners in the Barcelona metropolitan area to further promote the latest advances in photonics technologies in the medical sector.
Miguel Ángel Moreno (PhD) Project Manager in the Knowledge and Technology Transfer unit at ICFO, is working on the exploitation of technologies encompassed in the Health, Advanced Imaging and Biophotonics portfolio. He holds a BSc and an MSc in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. He obtained his PhD in Materials Science at the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology developing bioinspired surgical adhesives, gaining experience in private fundraising, spin-off creation, market and IP analysis and also establishing collaborations within the medical research and market sectors.
Núria Charles-Harris (Project Manager). Before working in ICFO, Núria Charles-Harris started her career as a Logistics Project manager in a logistics department. She later started to manage International and national projects in Fundació Clínic per la Recerca Biomedica, where she worked for 4 years. She started in ICFO in 2014 in the project unit where she is in charge of international coordinated projects.
Judith Salvador (Project Manager) holds a degree in Economics from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra and a master’s degree in Project Management from IL3-Universitat de Barcelona. She started in ICFO in 2018 in the project unit where she works for European Projects.
Alina Hirschmann (PhD, Science Communication) obtained her PhD in Astrophysics in 2009 and worked as an associate professor in the Dept. of Physics and Nuclear Engineering (ETSEIB) of the UPC. From 2009 to 2013, she was the communications and outreach manager at the Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC). Since 2013, she is the Science Communicator Officer at ICFO. She has obtained a master’s degree in Communication Management in 2018 and is currently, among other tasks, coordinating the communication actions for the Quantum Flagship CSA project as well as several coordinated projects of the institute.
Marta Martín (Science Communication) holds a BSc in Biology from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, an MSc in Neurosciences from the University of Barcelona and a postgraduate degree in Science Communication. She started her career as a researcher in evolutionary biology and animal behavior, and then moved to science communication and outreach, working both in research institutes and at universities. In 2020, she joined ICFO as a science communication officer for European Projects.
Fundació Sant Joan de Déu (FSJD) is a private non-profit research organization whose mission is to contribute to the improvement of the health and wellbeing of people by fostering, supporting and managing the research and innovation activities of Hospital Sant Joan de Déu (HSJD).
Hospital Sant Joan de Déu (HSJD) offers a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to health care from birth through 18 years of age. HSJD combines basic general paediatrics with specialized care for all tertiary-level pediatric pathologies, in particular, cardiology, psychology, psychiatry, neuroscience, endocrinology, infectious diseases, neonatology, oncology, and orthopaedic surgery, among others, covering a pediatric population of 350,000 children.
HSJD is ranked as the largest and the most renowned children’s hospital in Spain and one of the most recognized of its category across Europe, being ranked as the third European medical Centre of its kind by volume of activity.
Key personnel for the project
Dr. Joan Sanchez–de–Toledo (M.D, PhD) is the Head of the Pediatric Cardiology Department at the HSJD and Cardiac Intensive Care Specialist at the Children Hospital of Pittsburgh. He is also Assistant professor in the Department of Critical Care Medicine from the University of Pittsburgh. He has worked in different institutions and taking care of critically ill children suffering from different heart diseases since 2005. Trained in paediatrics, neonatology and pediatric and cardiac critical care medicine he has been the coordinator of Cardiac Intensive Care at Hospital Vall d’Hebron, Barcelona (2010-2014), director of the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh (2014-2017) and currently (2017- ) chair of the pediatric cardiology department at HSJD. His research is dedicated to the long-term outcomes of children with congenital heart disease. Motivated by the finding of the high incidence of acute neurologic lesions and long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes in ill patients suffering from congenital heart diseases, he has focused his research on early predictors factors of bad neurological outcome. He is the director of the Cardiovascular Research Group at the SJD Research Institute since 2017. This translational research group aims to study the complex interaction that exists between cardiovascular health and overall infant development. The current research is dedicated to the long-term outcomes of children with congenital heart disease and particularly in the neurodevelopment. His team has obtained competitive funding from the Spanish Health Institute Carlos III (ISCIII) since it was first launched in 2017. Both, Dr. Sanchez de Toledo and Dr. Camprubi are lead investigators of the group with active competitive funds. Bioengineers, data scientists a dedicated laboratory technician and a neuropsicologyst are part of the research group.
Dr. Marta Camprubí (MD., PhD) is a Pediatric specialist in Neonatology, she works in SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital combining basic and clinical research. She holds a Master in Neuroscience and another one in Research methodology and statistics. Dr. Camprubí has focused her research career on the study of the impact that critical illness has on the neurodevelopment of the neonate. She has conducted several research projects on hypoxic-ischemic brain injury using both animal models and humans. During the last four years, she has closely collaborated with Dr. Sanchez de Toledo in several projects focused on neurodevelopmental outcomes in children with congenital heart disease (CHD) undergoing heart surgery. Her preliminary work within the PI17/02198 project has allowed her to obtain a grant from the Instituto Carlos III this year (PFIS 19/00118) to study the relationship between oxidative stress and brain injury in newborns with CHD. In the clinical arena, Dr. Camprubí is part of the neuro critical care newborn unit team and she has conducted several workshops in the use of neuromonitoring within the neonatal intensive care unit.
Cristina Ruiz Herguido (PhD) is a project manager at the Fundació Sant Joan de Déu. She is a biomedical scientist with 14+ years of experience in haematology, oncology, and stem cells, currently managing research and innovation projects, and liaising with other institutions across Spain and Europe. Her focus is on building strong working relationships with the scientific and medical community. She is experienced in regulatory affairs, providing clinical strategies for products in early development, and pharma industry knowledge.
The University de Picardie Jules Verne is a multidisciplinary and multi-site university. Situated between Paris and Lille, UPJV has been created in 1969 and hosts 30.000 students.
Our main philosophy is to allow the youth of Picardy to benefit from a large range of skills, knowledge and experiences open to the world and to the society. The main domains of research as artistic practices, margins, exchange, Knowledge, language, norms; Conflicts, history, territories; Public action and organisations; Health, societies, ecosystems; Health: biological, clinical, psychological and social dimensions; Agro-resources; Materials and energy storage; Mathematics and ICT are covered by our 35 research units. Depending on UPJV, 35 research units and around 800 researchers are working on different scientific domains. To support these research activities, 9 technical platforms were created dedicated to electronic microscopy, analytical chemistry, molecular biology. These platforms allow access for researchers to big and high technological and scientific equipment, such as electronIC microscopes, mass spectrometers, RMN spectrometers.
Prof. Fabrice Wallois (MD., PhD) is a specialist of clinical neurophysiological investigations in children, including premature infants. Director of INSERM U1105 (HCERES ranking A) and of the Service d’Explorations Fonctionnelles du Système Nerveux Pédiatrique (Hindex=23, i10 index=46 google scholar). He develops specific imaging techniques (NIRS and EEG) to study epilepsy and cognitive functions in children. He founded a start-up to provide simultaneous EEG-NIRS recording system (Medelopt, Amiens) and has 3 patents (i) Electroptodes ® ™, (Patent n° 0602686) sensors coupling integrating NIRS and EEG signal, (ii) sensor supports in high-resolution caps or patches (patent n° PCT 0507457), or (iii) complete acquisition systems incorporating again the two modalities in a high-density design (patent deposit 11/2014). He received several prizes for his industrial involvement.
Sahar Moghimi (PhD, HDR) is a professor in neuroscience at the research group on the multimodal analysis of brain function (GRAMFC). She joined the group in 2020, after being the director of the Lab for Brain Signals Processing and Associate Prof. at Ferdowsi University in Iran from 2015 to 2020. She is a specialist in digital signal processing and time series modelling with a focus on neural signals. With her team, she investigates the very early spontaneous activity in the brain using different techniques including EEG, and fNIRS, as well as the neural response to exogenous auditory information during early neurodevelopment. Her particular interest and current research project are related to the early setup of cognition and notably auditory rhythm perception.
Ali Rajabi Mashhadi is a PhD student in neuroscience at GRAMFC. His speciality is biological signal processing and pattern recognition. He holds an M.Sc. in biomedical engineering from the Amirkabir University of Technology, and a B.Sc. in electrical engineering from the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad. His current research project focuses on using fNIRS and EEG modalities.
HemoPhotonics S.L. emerged as a spin-off in 2013 from the ICFO-Institute of Photonic Sciences. It is an SME with the aim to develop (pre-) commercial prototypes and customized photonics instruments based on near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) technologies. The company is located in the Mediterranean Technology Park (Barcelona, Spain) and pursues the goal to translate proven medical optical technologies into commercial products for research-oriented medical and biomedical centres.
Their key technologies are based on diffuse near-infrared optical technologies, in particular, diffuse correlation spectroscopy (DCS) and time-domain near-infrared spectroscopy (TRS) for non-invasive measurements of hemodynamic parameters. Last product release was a research series of diffuse optical blood flow monitoring instruments and modules (DCS technology) in 2019.
Dr. Udo M. Weigel received his PhD in experimental physics in 2003 followed by a post-doctoral appointment at the Max-Planck-Institute for Nuclear Physics (GER). As R&D engineer on charged particle optics at ICT/Applied Materials (semiconductor industry) he gained valuable experience fusing his expertise in physics with industrial applications as indicated by joint inventorship in five patents. In 2009, he joined ICFO medical optics group and became in 2013 CEO and co-founder of HemoPhotonics SL.
Shahrzad Parsa received her PhD in physics at ICFO-The Institute of Photonic Sciences in 2018, specializing in non-linear optics and joined HemoPhotonics in the same year as a research and development engineer for diffuse optical instrumentation.
Seenel Imaging founded by Thomas Fontaine in 2018, develops diagnostic devices for brain imaging. Seenel Imaging was created further to the signature of an exclusive licensing agreement for MedelOpt® patents from 15 years of research by Professor Wallois, director of the GRAMFC lab (Joint Research Unit INSERM) since 2011.
MedelOpt® is a wearable research device for brain activity recording dedicated to the Neuroscience Research market. This unique device on the market combines 2 technologies:
- Electroencephalography (EEG) records electrical activity.
- Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) for hemodynamic activity (blood oxygenation)
MedelOpt® was launched on the market in 2019.
Along with the Medelopt®, Seenel Imaging is currently developing a Neonatal device including similar modalities. This device will provide the basis of the headset that will integrate all modalities of the TinyBrains device.
Thomas Fontaine CEO of Seenel Imaging. Graduate of an Executive MBA (EDHEC Business School – 2014). He has spent more than 15 years at global leading MedTech companies (Medtronic, Covidien) in various positions as Business Unit Manager, Sales, Marketing & Business Development in France and EMEA. This allowed him to gain a solid experience and in-depth knowledge of biomedical, clinical and industrial markets and how to collaborate with Key Opinion Leaders.
Claire Labbé is the CTO of Seenel Imaging. Medical Imaging Doctor (PhD) with 20 years of experience in R & D, software processing for neuroimaging, Quality Assurance department, releasing medical device (Europe & USA) ), project management and team management. Dr Claire Labbé has a high expertise in the treatment of brain images, the design and development of Med Device, production, risk management related to Med device, and especially compliance with the normative and regulatory requirements (USA, EU)
BioPixS Ltd (Biophotonics Standards) is a biophotonics optical standards company (https://biopixstandards.com/), a spin-out of university college cork, Ireland. BioPixS ambition is to create standards in the field of biophotonics through innovative phantoms that mimic tissue optical properties. These phantoms will revolutionize across the biophotonics value chain to serve the pressing need of verification/validation of clinical methodologies, characterization, calibration of instruments, standardization of the protocols and devices. BioPixS provides both of the self, customized phantom solutions to customer across the world.
As a testimonial to the research impact of BioPixS, it has recently secured various funding includes, European funded VASCOVID, TinyBrains project, Bank of Ireland deep-dive funds, innovation fund from Enterprise Ireland to expand its global business. In VASCOVID, BioPixS will provide novel phantoms to fast track instrument development by enabling a standardized approach to characterisation/verification, and also provide quality control during the day to day operations of VASCOVID device.
Sanathana Konugolu Venakata Sekar (PhD) is founder and CEO at BioPixS, he received his Ph.D. (cum Laude) in Biomedical optics from Politecnico di Milano (Polimi), Milan, Italy and a recipient of Marie Curie MSCA-ITN fellowship. A deep tech. enthusiast and an aspiring entrepreneur to deliver value through innovation. A team player, had played multiple roles as chair, organizer, moderator, the rapporteur at various international events. He is also a senior researcher at Biophotonics@Tyndall, his former post-doctoral research was in Biomedical optics, in particular, timedomain diffuse optical spectroscopy (TDDOS) applied to phantom and in vivo clinical studies, Time domain diffuse correlation spectroscopy (TDDCS), Time Resolved Raman spectroscopy of diffusive media, and clinical translational research. One of his critical innovation was his invention of Frequency Offset Raman Spectroscopy (FORS), a novel technique to perform deep tissue Raman spectroscopy. A team player, actively collaborated with various institutions (universities, scientific institutions, hospitals, industries) in Biophotonics. His current area of research and interests are UpConverting NanoParticle (UCNPs) for deep tissue imaging and optogenetics applications, GAs in Scattering Media Absorption Spectroscopy (GASMAS) for infant lung vitals monitoring, TDDOS, Raman spectroscopy, instrument development in Biophotonics, Imaging and Non-imaging probe development, entrepreneurial activities in Biophotonics.
Stefan Andersson-Engels (Prof.) is founder and director at BioPixS, an expert in biomedical optics applications, with 30 years’ experience in areas from theoretical modelling of light propagation in tissue to clinical translation and commercial uptake. He is also recruited to the Irish Photonics Integration Centre (IPIC) at Tyndall National Institute and UCC to lead the Bio-Photonics group from heading the biophotonics activity at Lund University. In Lund University he was the director of the Medical Laser Centre and deputy head of Division of Atomic Physics there. His primary reason to join IPIC was to maximize the chances to assist patients in developing biomedical instruments based on photonics, bringing fundamental research to the clinic. His work has so far resulted in three spin-off companies. He has from the role in Lund, collaborated widely with researchers from all across the world. He is a recipient of a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Professorship award and leads through this programme a team of nearly 20 researchers in Tyndall. Professor Andersson-Engels has over 200 peer-reviewed academic publications, has an H index of 65, has 19 patents and has spun out three companies.
Claudia Nunzia Guadagno is a research engineer at BioPixS Ltd. She received her master degree in Physics Engineering in 2016. Her thesis topic was in time-domain diffuse optics for in vivo and phantom application. She formerly worked for different companies and also received a BSc degree in Communication in 2007
External advisory board
Daniel J. Licht, MD, is a pediatric neurologist and Director of the Wolfson Laboratory for Clinical and Biomedical Optics at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and the Department of Pediatrics Distinguished Endowed Chair. He is a pioneer in CHD research with optics and MRI.
Ilias Tachtsidis, PhD, is a Professor in Biomedical Engineering at UCL, London. He is a senior member of the Biomedical Optics Research Laboratory and leads the MultiModal Spectroscopy group and MetaboLight. He is a pioneer in optical methods.
Rosa Armengol, AACIC Director – Asociación de Cardiopatías Congénitas (AACIC) – an association of parents of infants who suffer from congenital cardiopathies.