Organizing Committee

Honorary Chairs

Metin Akay, Ph.D.

University of Houston

Prof. Metin Akay is currently the founding chair of the new Biomedical Engineering Department and the John S. Dunn professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Houston. He received his B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey in 1981 and 1984, respectively and a Ph.D. degree from Rutgers University in 1990. He currently serves as Chief Ambassador, IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society.

Akay has played a key role in promoting biomedical education in the world by writing and editing several books, editing several special issues of prestigious journals, including the Proc of IEEE, and giving more than hundred keynote, plenary and invited talks at international conferences, symposiums and workshops regarding emerging technologies in biomedical engineering.

His Neural Engineering and Informatics Lab is interested in developing an intelligent wearable system for monitoring motor functions in Post-Stroke Hemiplegic Patients and detecting coronary artery disease. In addition, his lab is currently investigating the effect of nicotine on the dynamics of ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine neural networks as well as the detection of coronary occlusions.

Paul Sajda, Ph.D.

Columbia University

Paul is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Radiology at Columbia University in New York City. As the Director of the Laboratory for Intelligent Imaging and Neural Computing (LIINC) and Co‐Director of Columbia’s Center for Neural Engineering and Computation (CNEC), he runs a federally-funded research group that produces cutting-edge innovation in neuro-engineering. He currently serves as President of IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Before Columbia, he was the Head of the Adaptive Image and Signal Processing Group at the David Sarnoff Research Center in Princeton, NJ.

Paul is a recipient of the NSF CAREER Award and the Sarnoff Technical Achievement Award. Other honors include being named a Fellow of the IEEE, the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).


Natalie Mrachacz-Kersting, Ph.D.

University of Freiburg, Germany

Professor Natalie Mrachacz-Kersting received her PhD in Biomedical Science and Engineering from The University of Aalborg, Denmark in 2005 and held several post-doctoral positions at the University of Auckland, New Zealand and Aalborg University, Denmark. From 2007 she was Associate Professor at the Center for Sensory-Motor Interaction, Aalborg University, and in 2019 Professor in Neuroscience and Medical Technologies at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Dortmund, Germany. In June 2021 she accepted a position as full Professor in Neuroscience and Director of the Institute at the University of Freiburg, Germany. Her research focuses on neurorehabilitation technology for the restoration and replacement of lost motor function, and neural control of movement. She has (co)-authored more than 80 manuscripts in peer-reviewed Journals and >170 conference abstracts and papers. She was the recipient of the International Award in Brain-Computer-Interfaces in 2017 and received several prestigious grants from the Innovation Fond of Denmark, Kong Christian den Tiendes Fond and Lundbeck Fond of Denmark. She is currently Board Member of the Brain-Computer Interface Society where she also heads the fundraising committee and is part of the communications committee. She is Associate-Editor of several journals including Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, Brain-Computer-Interfaces, Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. In Freiburg she was recently appointed director of the student health management group that collaborates with health insurances to provide the student body with innovative opportunities to improve health in all aspects from psychological stress to time management.

Yasemin Akay, Ph.D.

University of Houston

Yasemin M. Akay is currently an Associate Professor at the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Cullen College of Engineering, University of Houston. She received her B.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey in 1980 and M.S. and Ph.D in Biomedical Engineering from the Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ, USA in 1991 and 1998, respectively.

Her research focuses on novel technologies for cost-effective high-throughput screening of novel cancer drugs and therapeutics and assessment of treatment responses. She is currently assessing the effectiveness of the optimal combination of anticancer drugs, obtained from the brain cancer chip, in treating GBM tumors in the respective mouse models. The ultimate goal of her research is to use the optimal drug combinations determined in vitro for each patient in their respective mouse model to show that the results from the in vivo mouse studies will support the results obtained from in vitro studies.
She is also currently exploring the effect of maternal nicotine and alcohol exposures on Dopamine neurons within the sub-regions of the VTA during early maturation at both cellular and molecular levels.

May Dongmei Wang, Ph.D.

Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University

May Dongmei Wang, Ph.D., is The Wallace H Coulter Distinguished Faculty Fellow, professor of BME, ECE and CSE, Director of Biomedical Big Data Initiative, and Georgia Distinguished Cancer Scholar. She is also Petit Institute Faculty Fellow, Kavli Fellow, Fellow of AIMBE, Fellow of IEEE, and Fellow of IAMBE. She received BEng from Tsinghua University China and MS/PhD from Georgia Institute of Technology (GIT). Dr. Wang’s research and teaching are in Biomedical Big Data and AI-Driven Biomedical Health Informatics and Intelligent Reality (IR) for predictive, personalized, and precision health. She has published over 270 referred journal and conference proceeding articles (13,500+ GS-Citations) and delivered over 280 invited and keynote lectures. Dr. Wang’s research has been supported by NIH, NSF, CDC, GRA, GCC, VA, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Enduring Heart Foundation, Wallace Coulter Foundation, Carol Ann and David Flanagan Foundation, Shriner’s Hospitals, Microsoft Research, HP, UCB, and Amazon.

Dr. Wang chairs IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS) BHI-Technical Community and ACM Special Interest Group in Bioinformatics (SIGBio), and is the Senior Editor of IEEE Journal of Biomedical & Health Informatics (IF=7.02), and Associate Editor for IEEE Transactions on BME, and IEEE Review of BME. She was IEEE EMBS Distinguished Lecturer and PNAS (Proceeding of National Academy of Sciences) Emerging Area Editor. During the past decade, Dr. Wang has been a standing panelist for NIH Study Sections, NSF Smart and Connect Health, and Brain Canada, and has co-chaired and helped organize more than 10 conferences by IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biologics Gordon Research Conferences, ACM Special Interest Groups in Bioinformatics, and IEEE Future Directions.

Dr. Wang received GIT Outstanding Faculty Mentor for Undergrad Research Award and Emory University MilliPub Award for a high-impact paper cited over 1,000 times. She was selected into 2022 Georgia Tech LeadingWomen Program and 2021 Georgia Tech Provost Emerging Leaders Program. Previously, she was Carol Ann and David Flanagan Distinguished Faculty Fellow, GIT Biomedical Informatics Program Co-Director in ACTSI, and Bioinformatics and Biocomputing Core Director in NIH/NCI-Sponsored U54 Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence.

Program Chairs

Michela Chiappalone, Ph.D.

University of Genova

Michela Chiappalone is a researcher in the field of Neuroengineering, with a special focus on neuroprosthetics and neurorehabilitation. She graduated in Electronic Engineering (summa cum laude) in 1999 and obtained a PhD in Electronic Engineering and Computer Science from University of Genova (Italy) in 2003, under the supervision of Prof. M. Grattarola and Prof. S. Martinoia. In 2002 She was ‘visiting scholar’ at the Dept of Physiology, Northwestern University (Chicago, IL, USA) supervised by Prof F. A. Mussa-Ivaldi. At Northwestern she had the opportunity to work on the first ever developed bi-directional neurorobotic closed loop system involving the brain of a lamprey and a small mobile robot. After a Post Doc at the University of Genova, in 2007 she joined the Neuroscience and Brain Technologies Dept at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) as a Post Doc, under the supervision of Prof. S. Martinoia. In 2013, she got a team leader position (‘Researcher’) in the same Institution. In 2015, she was ‘visiting Professor’ at the University of Kansas Medical Center – KUMED (Kansas City, KS, USA), hosted by Prof. R. J. Nudo, one of most prominent experts of post-stroke plasticity. From 2012 to 2015, she has been Coordinator of the FET Open European Project BrainBow, judged ‘excellent’ by the European Commission. In 2017, she joined the Rehab Technologies IIT-INAIL Joint Lab of IIT to lead a group aimed at interfacing robotic devices with the nervous system for applications in neurorehabilitation. In 2018 she got the national scientific habilitation as Full Professor of Bioengineering. Since March 2021, she has been appointed as Associate Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Genova, conducting research activities in the field of translational
neuronegineering, with a special focus on neuromodulation and neuroprosthetics. She still holds a position as ‘Affiliated Researcher’ at Rehab Technologies, IIT.

She has been named as IEEE EMBS DIstinguished Lecturer for the years 2021 and 2022.

She authored 77 papers published in International Journals, more than 60 peer-reviewed contributions to International Conferences, 8 Book Chapters and I gave more than 80 scientific talks at International/National Conferences and Research Institutions. She is also Editor of 2 Books.

Marianna Semprini

University of Genova

Marianna Semprini, (Member, IEEE got a BS in Biomedical Engineering and a MS in Bioengineering (Neuroengineering curriculum) both at the University of Genoa (Italy) in 2004 and 2007, respectively. In 2007 she was research fellow at Northwestern University (Chicago, IL, USA). In 2011 she received a PhD in Robotics and Neurosciences from the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT). In 2016 she was visiting scientist at Katholieke Universiteit of Leuven (Leuven, Belgium). Marianna Semprini has a background on brain-machine interfaces able to restore sensory or motor functions when missing. More recently, she focused on non-invasive biofeedback from
human subjects and on sensorimotor training for motor rehabilitation of neurologic or brain-injured patients. She is currently with the Rehab Technologies Lab of IIT, where she leads a group focusing on neurorehabilitation and neural control of movement. She is a member of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society and of IEEE
Women in Engineering.

Student Engagement Chair

Nicole Caballero Canchanya

Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (UNMSM)

Nicole Caballero, is a student of Biomedical Engineering at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (UNMSM), Peru. She has been president in 2021 of the EMBS UNMSM Student Chapter and in 2022 President of the IEEE UNMSM Student Branch. Nicole is a graduate of VoLT Class of 2022. In 2022, she was awarded the ELAP scholarship promoted by the Government of Canada to study an exchange semester at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. Since 2023, she is the 2023-2024 EMBS Student Representative, chair of the EMBS Student Activities Committee.

Publicity & Finance Chair

Nancy Zimmerman, MBA

IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society

Nancy is a visionary, strategic, and entrepreneurial leader with an impressive professional background in product management, strategic marketing, and operations. Her professional resume includes working with such brands as Procter & Gamble, Girl Scouts USA, and Hackensack Meridian Health. With an academic background consistent with her career, Nancy holds BA degree from Indiana University in Brand Identity, and an MBA from the University of Cincinnati.  Nancy currently serves as the Executive Director of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society.