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Hall Plan

Hallenplan Biomedica 2017

Day 2 // Session 4, Senaatszaal

Perinatal Developments

Prof. Sabine van Huffel

Prof. Sabine van Huffel (Chairman)

KU Leuven, BE

Professor, Head of Biomedical Data Processing Research Group & Director of the master program of Science in Biomedical Engineering

Curriculum vitae

Sabine van Huffel received the MD in computer science engineering in June 1981, the MD in Biomedical engineering in July 1985 and the Ph.D in electrical engineering in June 1987, all from KU Leuven, Belgium. She is full professor at the department of Electrical Engineering, KU Leuven, Belgium, where she is heading the Biomedical Data Processing Research Group (about 25  researchers) . She is programme director of the master of Science in Biomedical Engineering at KU Leuven, and also fellow from IEEE, SIAM and EAMBES. In April 2013 she received an honorary doctorate from Eindhoven University of Technology, together with an appointment as a Distinguished professor.

She performs Research – fundamental/theoretical as well as application oriented-  in the domain of (multi)linear algebra, (non)linear signal analysis, classification and system identification with special focus to the development of numerically reliable and robust algorithms for improving medical diagnostics in numerous areas such as epilepsy, stress and neonatal brain monitoring.

She is holder of an ERC Advanced Grant 339804 BIOTENSORS: “Biomedical Data Fusion using Tensor based Blind Source Separation”.

10:15 - The global impact of perinatal research in the Eindhoven triangle

Prof. Dr. Giud Oei

Eindhoven University of Technologie, NL

Professor of Signal Processing Systems

Patrick Emonts

10:25 - New technologies to prevent and detect the risk of premature delivery

Patrick Emonts

University of Liège, BE

Curriculum vitae


  • Doctor of Médecine (MD) , University of Liege, Belgium (1986)
  • Physician specialist in Gynécology and Obstétric, University of Liege, belgium (1991)
  • Physician Doctor (PhD), University of Liege, Belgium (2008)  

Clinical and Academic activities

  • Obstetric Professor (Master of Medicine, University of Liege) since 2010
  • Clinical chief in CHU Liege since 1998 (more than 7000 deliveries in first hand)
  • Responsible for a Maternal Intensive Care (MIC) in CHR de la Citadelle (Liege Belgium) , for high risk pregnancies and for obstetric simulation
  • Pre-president of GGOLFB ( professional group of gynecologists in Belgium)
  • Vice-president of the mother-child college ( government institution)
  • Vice-president of federal college of midwives
  • Court expert in obstetric
  • Member of several working groups (higher concil of health)
  • Authors and Co-Authors of more than 50 publications (national and international journals, see on pubmed)
  • Speaker in several congress (chosen field : preterm birth, preeclampsia, simulation, drugs addiction, medico-legal aspects)

Additional Certificate : monitoring andSTAN analyser, echography, coelioscopic surgery, medical simulation

Scientific awards :Prix Gabriel DELREE 2009

Others :  Image-health festival CHU/ULg ,  radio / TV show


Over 15 million babies are born preterm each year and over 1 million children die each year due to complications of preterm birth (PTB), thus constituting the leading cause of neonatal mortality. PTB occurs across all countries and income levels with an average rate between 6% and 12% of all births, resulting in a significant economic impact.

New technologies will reduce this burden with a dual approach, not only with a complete technology-enabled and clinically validated solution to predict and detect the onset of preterm labor, but again by medical training using simulation.

Composed of a new improved version of a award-winning wearable sensor, a specifically designed electrode patch, a consumer app, a web-based dashboard and a secure cloud data platform, this detection tool integrates seamlessly into the daily activities of expectant women, facilitating data for expectant women at home and for healthcare professionals in hospitals.

This uses a latest breakthroughs in advanced signal processing methods and machine learning analytics to extract meaningful labor risk conclusions based on physiological indicators and behavioral patterns. It automatically builds a real-time comprehensive index score on the probability of labor using the data from limited monitoring sessions that can easily be conducted at home. This modern technique will facilitate preventive actions in pregnancies to shift the gestational age at delivery.

The other side of prevention of PTB is the developement of medical simulation techniques. Many groups have successfully adapted CRM (crew resource management, which originated in the aviation industry) to healthcare and they have demonstrated that group behavior and improvement in performance occurs with training. Effective healthcare teamwork is essentiel for the provision of high quality and safe care, and not only in crisis situations but also in announcement scenarios, very important step in the management of the onset of preterm labor.

The use of team training programs is promising with regards to their ability to impact knowledge, attitudes and behavior about skills.

But the growing effort of healthcare institutions implementing simulation training programs has raised new questions about how best to train for effective performance in such systems.

No matter this difficulties ! It is evident today that new technologies and new pedagogical approaches will facilitate the identification of risk of PTB and consecutively will reduce the economic and psychological impact of PTB and will ensure a more efficient prenatal care that could potentially avoid 74% of mother and infant morbi-mortalities.

Fabio Bambang Oetomo

10:35 - Improving neuro development in pre-term infants

Fabio Bambang Oetomo

Bambi Medical, NL

Co-Founder & CEO

Curriculum vitae

Fabio Bambang Oetomo is the co-founder and CEO of Bambi Medical.
He passed his first year in Medical School and has a Masters degree in Actuarial Sciences. After his graduation he has worked in several financial management positions at both Deloitte and Mars. After 13 years in the corporate environment he decided to quit his job at Mars to bring the Bambi-Belt, one of his father’s inventions, to the market.


Over the past decades the mortality of pre-term infants has significantly decreased. Follow up studies of pre-term infants are unfortunately showing worrying results! Compared to healthy full-term infants, these pre-term infants are showing the following: behavorial problems, learning problems at school, cognitive disorders and attention disorders.
The etiology of these disorders is assumed to have two causes. The first cause is repetitive pain experienced by the pre-term infant in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The second cause is separation of the mother. Both these causes have a detrimental effect on brain development. The inferior brain development causes the issues as described above.
Innovations can help to mitigate the problems that lead to a sub-optimal brain development. Examples of such innovations will be shared during the presentation.

Elly Zwartkruis-Pelgrim

10:45 - The importance of sleep for the developing brain

Elly Zwartkruis-Pelgrim

Philips Research, NL

Senior Scientist (Global Head of Fertility-Pregnancy-Parenting Program)

Curriculum vitae

Elly Zwartkruis-Pelgrim is a Senior Scientist working for Philips Research, where she is the global lead of the innovation program in the area of Fertility-Pregnancy-Parenting. In her role as Philips Thought Leader on infant sleep development, she supports multidisciplinary teams to create meaningful innovations based on deep user understanding, with scientifically proven effectiveness. She is also heading EU funded consortia, working closely together with the Philips business and innovation partners.

Rohan Joshi

10:55 - Kangaroo care changes heart rate variability: insights from the beating heart

Rohan Joshi

Eindhoven University of Technology, NL

Doctoral candidate at Department of Industrial Design

Curriculum vitae

Rohan Joshi majored in Biomedical Engineering with a bachelor’s degree from Manipal University, India (2011) and with a master’s degree from KU Leuven, Belgium (2014). Currently he is a PhD candidate carrying out research in the predictive monitoring of clinical outcomes in preterm infants in a healthcare flagship comprising of three parties - the Eindhoven University of Technology, Philips Research and Máxima Medisch Centrum.

His project aims at solving clinical challenges using engineering techniques to improve the physiology monitoring and to develop tools for the early detection of deterioration so as to increase the window of opportunity for early clinical intervention. Timely interventions in preterm infants not only holds the potential to have a large impact over the course of their lives but can also reduce the physical, emotional and financial toll on their families and the society at large.


Kangaroo care refers to a period of direct skin-to-skin contact in which infants are placed prone on the naked parental chest. It is a safe practice known to reduce morbidity and mortality in preterm infants and is believed to be a period of enhanced comfort for infants. Routinely monitored vital signs do not reflect these underlying changes in autonomic regulation that occur due to kangarooing. However, features of heart rate variability (HRV), extracted from the routine monitoring of the electrocardiogram can serve as a surrogate measure that can be used to visually track and quantify regulatory changes during kangaroo care. In this clinical study, we explored the effects of kangarooing on existing and novel features of HRV and determined the dominant neural mechanisms responsible for effecting these changes.

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