Dr Jonathan Jarvis

Professor Jarvis is a muscle physiologist with long-standing interests in the adaptive response of muscle to voluntary exercise and to applied stimulation. He has BSc (Physics with Physiology) and PhD (Biochemistry) degrees from the University of London and is now Professor in Sport and Exercise Science at Liverpool John Moores University. His own published research in experimental stimulation with miniature muscle stimulators is therefore surrounded by projects in whole human physiology and biomechanics. He tries to translate understanding of the fundamental physiology and cell biology of muscle and nerve into practical training and rehabilitation strategies.
Current research includes transcriptional analysis of stimulated, inactive and denervated muscles, to understand more completely how patterns of activation and loading of muscles relate to immediate and long-term cellular responses. These cellular responses are the determinants of force, speed, power, and endurance. Jonathan has worked for many years with the Medical University of Vienna to refine miniature implantable neuromodulators into fully remotely programmable devices that can produce any conceivable pattern of activity and is interested in the limits to training: the threshold of activity above which slowing of muscle occurs, the internal signals for muscle hypertrophy, and the threshold above which muscle becomes damaged. These are important in functional electrical stimulation to influence breathing and control of the airway (laryngeal pacing) and the use of skeletal muscle to assist the heart or to provide neosphincter function, as well as the more common application of electrical stimulation for reanimation of limbs.

Prof Nick Donaldson Chairman NSC University College London

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Professor Nick Donaldson MA PhD MIET MIPEM

Nick Donaldson studied engineering at Cambridge University in the 1970s. He then became an
apprentice at Marconi and GEC and in 1976 joined the Medical Research Council in the Neurological
Prostheses Unit, under Director Giles Brindley, a pioneer of implanted devices. Nick was tasked with
developing multi-channel motor nerve stimulators to restore leg function in paraplegia and several
of his devices were tested in volunteers in the 1980s. On Brindley’s retirement in 1992, the
engineers from the MRC moved to University College London (UCL) and became the Implanted
Devices Group (IDG), which has maintained a strong association with spinal cord injury research,
working with London Spinal Cord Injuries Centre at RNOH Stanmore and the Salisbury Spinal Injuries
Unit. The implant technology was later extended to detect natural nerve signals as well as nerve
stimulation. The IDG has worked on materials and technology for implants, electronic design,
feedback control of stimulated muscles and trialled stimulation of the lumbar anterior roots as an
alternative to peripheral nerve stimulation. In the late 1990s, the IDG developed ‘functional
electrical stimulation’ or FES-cycling as a recreational exercise for better health. In 2010 it made a
landmark discovery involving one SCI volunteer with an incomplete-lesion, whose paralysis seemed
to be reduced by the combination of FES during voluntary effort to cycle. This discovery led to the
development of the INSPIRE Cycle or iCYCLE.
Nick Donaldson is Professor of Neuroprosthesis Engineering at UCL. Since 1992 he has acted as Principal Investigator on 42 funded projects. In addition to various implanted devices, he has designed several novel machines and pieces of apparatus. He is author or co-author of 147 papers in peer-reviewed journals and has taught 22 PhD students. He has worked on several projects with the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council and previously, served on INSPIRE’s National Scientific Committee from 1999-2018. After a four year break, he assumed the chair from Professor Laurence Kenney in June 2022.


Dr Maurizio Belci NSIC Stoke Mandeville

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Dr Maurizio Belci DMS MSc MRCS FRCP - NSIC, Stoke Mandeville

Since 2011, Maurizio has been a consultant in Spinal Cord Injuries at the National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville, the UK’s founder spinal unit.  His education began in his native Croatia and from 1983 he studied at the University of Padua Medical School graduating as a Doctor in Medicine & Surgery (DMS) in 1996.  In 1997 he received his Diploma from the  Italian National Board of Medical and Surgical Examiners at Padova University.  Thereafter he moved to England and gained his Masters in Surgical Science at Imperial College London in November 2001.

He was awarded Membership of Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS) in July 2006 and completed his Spinal Cord Injuries (Rehab Medicine) training at Oxford in 2010.  In 2016 he became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians,  London.  During his career he has held medical appointments in Italy, Poland Croatia and all over the UK including major hospital in Torbay in Devon,  Addenbrokes in Cambridge and Preston, Lancashire where he was a Senior House Offier in Neurosurgery.

Maurizio’s career path has included anaesthetics,  obstetrics and gynaecology, trauma and orthopaedics and intensive care and peripheral neuropathy.  He has undertaken a great deal of research into SCI and one of his recent multinational projects was titled: ‘Effects of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (TDCS) on Chronic Pain in Spinal Cord Injured’.  He was introduced to the INSPIRE Foundation by Mariel Purcell and willingly agreed to join the National Scientific Committee in December 2019.

Dr Ed Chadwick University of Aberdeen

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Doctor Ed Chadwick BEng (Hons), PhD, MIPEM, FHEA - University of Aberdeen

Dr Chadwick is a Biomedical Engineer in the School of Engineering at the University of Aberdeen. His research interests are in biomechanics, computer modelling of human movement, and rehabilitation engineering. He has a particular interest in shoulder and arm function, and the development of assistive technologies for the restoration of function in people with spinal injuries. He enthusiastically agreed to become a member of INSPIRE’s National Scientific Committee in May 2019.

After gaining a first-class degree in Mechanical Engineering at Nottingham University, he went on to complete a PhD in Bioengineering at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. Following international post-doctoral positions at the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands, and Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, he returned to the UK in 2008. He was a Lecturer in Biomechanics at the University of Aberystwyth until 2012, and Lecturer / Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering at Keele University until 2019.

Emeritus Prof Alan Cottenden University College London

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Emeritus Professor Alan Cottenden MBE MA PhD CEng CSci FIMechE MIPEM MIMMM MBE

After a first degree in Materials Science at Cambridge University, Alan studied for a PhD in the mechanical properties of machine tool materials, sharing his time between Cambridge and the National Physical Laboratory.  He then switched his attention to Biomedical Engineering, exploring a range of topics before settling on technology for managing intractable incontinence in 1980. He spent most of his career at University College London where he is now Emeritus Professor of Incontinence Technology.

He is a member of the Advisory Board of the US Simon Foundation for continence, and the British Standards Institute and International Standards Organisation committees on incontinence technology. He co-directs the Continence Product Advisor (www.continenceproductadvisor.org) which aims to help people with incontinence and caregivers identify suitable products and use them effectively. As a member of the Biomedical Engineering Division Board of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, he co-chairs the two-yearly Incontinence: The Engineering Challenge conferences , highly multidisciplinary gatherings that aim to inform, inspire and encourage those working in the field, and provoke interest in addressing problems in urgent need of attention.

Prof Andrew Jackson Newcastle University

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Professor Andrew Jackson PhD

After obtaining a PhD in neuroscience from University College London, Andrew pursued post-doctoral research at the University of Washington, in the United States. He then returned to the UK and to his current appointment as Professor of Neural Interfaces at Newcastle University. In addition, he is also a Senior Research Fellow with the Wellcome Trust. Andrew’s research focuses on applications of neurotechnology in treating neurological conditions including spinal cord injury and epilepsy. He became a member of INSPIRE’s NSC in October 2017.

Dr Henry Lancashire, UCL

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Dr Henry Lancashire BSc MRes EngD CEng MIMMM

Dr Henry Lancashire is Lecturer in Active Implantable Devices at University College London (UCL). He holds a BSc (Hons) in Biomedical Materials Science from the University of Nottingham, awarded in 2010. After moving to UCL he completed MRes and EngD degrees in Molecular Modelling & Materials Science in 2011 and 2015 respectively. Henry joined the Implanted Devices Group at UCL as an EPSRC* Doctoral Prize Fellow in 2015 to develop multichannel neural interfaces. After post-doctoral research in the Centre for Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology at UCL, Henry joined the UCL Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering as a lecturer. His research focusses on the design and longevity of active implantable medical devices. Henry joined the INSPIRE National Scientific Committee in 2022.

*Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council


Dr Eimear Smith National Rehabilitation & Mater Misericordiae University Hospital Dublin

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Dr Eimear Smith MB BCh BAO MSc MD FRCPI FFSEM Pg Dip


Dr Eimear Smith MB BCh BAO MSc MD FRCPI FFSEM Pg Dip

Dr Eimear Smith is currently Consultant in Rehabilitation Medicine, National Rehabilitation & Mater Misericordiae University Hospitals, Dublin.

Her clinical remit concerns patients with spinal cord injury (SCI), traumatic and non-traumatic, throughout the continuum of care from acute to community.

Amongst the services which she has had a substantial role in developing over the past 12 years, are the following:

  1. Management of the ventilator dependent spinal cord injured patient at the NRH – a collaboration between the NRH & MMUH critical care medicine
  2. Specialist upper limb tendon transfer service for cervical level spinal cord injured patients – a collaboration between MMUH upper limb surgeons and NRH SCI rehabilitation team
  3. Specialist paediatric SCI service: inpatient consultation service & out-patient clinic

John Spensley Retired Industrial Scientist

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John Spensley MSc, FCMI

John Spensley has spent his entire career in the hi-tech manufacturing operations environment and has gained considerable knowhow from working in small to medium sized medical, aerospace and telecom businesses.  As a Chartered Manager, John is educated and experienced in the principles necessary to run manufacturing operations.

He started working life in 1970 as an indentured engineering apprentice under the EITB 5-year training scheme.  In the late 1970’s a passion for managing and coordinating factory resources to deliver complex products began.  Attending Nene College, Cranfield and Putteridge-Bury he graduated with an MSc in Technology Management.  For most of John’s working life he has been responsible for delivering demanding new product introduction schedules to meet customer and business needs.  These include handheld Gas Spectrometers, Micro–Optical Spectrum Analysers and surgically implanted Neurostimulators. Furthermore, John has been directly involved with the CE approval for a new implanted device as well as the Competent Authority requirements to trial 2 further class 3 active implanted devices.

John has led on numerous improvement or implementation programs such as Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP) systems to Quality Management Systems (QMS) and Total Quality Management programs (TQM).

John has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to learning, engaging with, and coaching all willing colleagues.


Dr Paul Strutton Imperial College London

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Dr Paul Strutton BSc (Hons) PhD FHEA

Paul Strutton runs the Nick Davey lab at Imperial College’s White City campus in West London . He has been involved in exploring a range of topics relating to motor control in health and disease and the effects of pain on this control. He utilises brain stimulation techniques to investigate neural control and plasticity and correlates these with changes in function. He has more recently begun to investigate the use of non-invasive brain stimulation to modulate pain, using a model of top-down analgesic control.

Paul was recently the Principal Investigator of an INSPIRE funded project called TRUNK CONTROL exploring the interactions between limb movements and trunk control in people with incomplete spinal cord injury investigating if exercise of the limbs might improve trunk control. He is a reviewer for over 30 scientific journals and has reviewed grants for NIHR, MRC and the Wellcome Trust. He is a member of the Society for Neuroscience and the Physiological Society. He was elected to the INSPIRE National Scientific Committee in March 2018.

Robert Tylor*

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Mr Robert Tylor

In July 1989 Rob Tylor was badly injured in a motorcycle related road traffic accident.  At that time he was aged 23 and succumbed to a complete spinal cord injury at T2. Since then he has spent his life in various SCI related research programmes.  In particular he has been particularly a key figure in the INSPIRE Foundation serving on the User Committee, as a Trustee until 2016 and for many years, as the (now) National Scientific Committee’s (NSC) Lay Member.

Some time ago,  Rob conducted an NHS ethically approved patient survey to facilitate the better understanding of SCI patients’ mobility needs;  he subsequently started a robotic orthosis project with the universities of Portsmouth, Leeds and  Sheffield working closely with the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) and Ottobock (Orthoses).  This ran for almost five years before funding ran out.  He also wrote a paper concerning the practicalities and possible benefits of pre-existing paralysis in prolonged human spaceflight, which he presented to the heads of national space agencies in 2002 at their global conference in Strasbourg.

Rob lives near Romsey in Hampshire convenient for his main interests including fly-fishing, photography, the arts and environmental work.  He is currently involved in renovating his home while planning a new build.  He re-joined the Board of Trustees in October 2022.



Prof Anne Vanhoestenberghe Kings College London

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Prof Anne Vanhoestenberghe PhD MSc (Belgium)

Anne is a truly international academic. She started travelling during her degree in Engineering in Belgium, when she completed an Erasmus exchange in the Netherlands. She moved again, this time to the UK to complete a PhD at University College London (UCL).  She has worked in Germany (IMTEK, Freiburg) and Australia (UNSW, Sydney), where she contributed to the development of the Bionic Eye.  She co-founded the Centre for Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology CREATe, at UCL.  In March 2022 she became Professor of Active Implantable Medical Devices at King's College London.

One of her many interests is developing implantable electronic devices to improve the quality of life of patients, through applications such as, control of prosthetic limbs, restoration of movement for paralysed muscles,  activation of artificial organs and neuromodulation for improved bladder control or spasticity management.  She has been involved in several INSPIRE funded grants, including NEUROMOD (2016-2018) and NEUROMOD II (2018-2022).

Anne is a committee member of the UK chapter of the International Microelectronics Assembly and Packaging Society (IMAPS-UK), which she chaired from 2017 to 2020.  She is also a keen teacher, who actively seeks new strategies to develop more inclusive learning spaces and to improve the university experience of non-mainstream students. Her focus and ambition is to improve the quality of life of people affected by disease and disability by supporting the development of therapeutic and rehabilitation interventions.  Her research includes core engineering considerations for new devices interacting with the nervous system, as well as scientific collaborations with clinicians.  Anne joined INSPIRE’s National Scientific Committee in 2019.