Confirmed Speakers

Prof. Dr. Julie Bernhardt

Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in Melbourne, Australia

Julie’s a multi-award winning clinician researcher, world-renowned rehabilitation trialist, and strong advocate for people with stroke and Women in Science. She co-heads of the Stroke Theme at Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in Melbourne, Australia, leading the largest, multi-country trials in acute rehabilitation and recovery (AVERT, AVERT DOSE). She also leads large collaborative projects to re-image rehabilitation services and buildings, develop a digitally enabled clinical service for young stroke survivors as well as the International Stroke Recovery & Rehabilitation Alliance (ISRRA), an action group advancing new proposals from the Stroke Recovery and Rehabilitation Roundtables (SRRR).  

Prof. Dr. Gert Kwakkel

Amsterdam University Medical Center in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Prof. dr. Gert Kwakkel received a chair ‘Neurorehabilitation’ at the Amsterdam University Medical Centre in Amsterdam in 2008. His chair is dedicated to translational research in the field of neurorehabilitation with special focus on the longitudinal relationship between brain plasticity and motor recovery early post stroke. Professor Kwakkel is one of the TOP researchers at the VU University medical Centre in Amsterdam. This award was received since his advanced ERC laureate that he received together with Professor Dr. van der Helm of the European Commission in 2011. Finally, Dr. Kwakkel is president of the Dutch Society of NeuroRehabilitation in the Netherlands since 2010.
Professor Kwakkel published more than 300 papers with more than 20.000 citations in the field of stroke rehabilitation (H-Index 74 following Web of Science). In 2018, he received an honorary fellowship from the Associated Physiotherapists in Neurology (ACPIN) in the United Kingdom and the Outstanding Neurorehabilitation Clinician Scientists (ONCS) Award from the American Society of Neurorehabilitation. Finally he received an honored designation of a classroom that was entitled with my name at the institute Health at Zürich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) in Winterthur, Switserland in 2021. Finally, professor Kwakkel is member of the editorial board of Stroke and European Editor of Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair.

Prof. Dr. Mindy Levin

McGill University in Montréal, Canada
Title of the lecture:
Virtual rehabilitation, exergames and tele-rehabilitation: Untangling terminology, evidence, efficacy and application to practice

Mindy Levin is a Professor in the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy (SPOT), Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She was Research Scholar of the Quebec Health Research Fund (1992-2004) and held a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Motor Recovery and Rehabilitation (2005-2019). She is currently a Distinguished James McGill Professor. She has over 200 peer-reviewed publications. Her research focuses on elucidating the mechanisms underlying sensorimotor deficits and their recovery in patients with central nervous system lesions. She has a strong background in motor control theory and the translation of motor control and motor learning principles into clinical rehabilitation applications to improve the lives of people with neurological lesions. Amongst her research methodologies are new technologies such as virtual reality and robotics.
She is currently the President of the International Society of Motor Control and is a Past-President of the International Society for Virtual Rehabilitation. She is also currently a Board member of the International Neurological Physiotherapy Association of WCPT and a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the International Stroke Recovery and Rehabilitation Alliance (ISRRA). She is editor of the journal “Motor Control”.

Dr. Kristen Hollands

University of Salford in Salford, United Kingdom
Title of the lecture:
What is gold standard research and whose job it is to apply it? adoption of novel interventions and technologies in (home-based) stroke rehabilitation by end-users

As early career researchers and clinicians do my early career ambitions and use of research methodologies resonate with some of your own? Within this talk walk with me (pun intended) on my journey of discovering what really makes gold standard rehabilitation research and what does it really take to improve patient outcomes?


I began my research training in the fields of biomechanics and neuromotor control. At the start of my career, and arguably still now, there was a scarcity of high quality research in rehabilitation sciences to underpin evidence based practice and, I felt, a lack of connection between understanding mechanisms of impairment and treatment effects and recovery. My underlying drive therefore was to use best possible evidence in rehabilitation sciences to improve treatment and thereby patient outcomes in real world settings. Through a portfolio of lab based biomechanics studies, systematic reviews, feasibility and acceptability and randomised clinical trials, I sought to better understand the causes of difficulties in walking following stroke in order to inform the design of more effective treatments for the rehabilitation of walking. Given this anchor to “real world”, I was (and remain) keenly interested in functionally adaptive walking – the ability to step over and around obstacles, turn around etc; as is needed for independent functional mobility in the community. My early PhD work led to a hypothesis that better functional mobility could be achieved for stroke survivors using a novel technology based treatment paradigm to facilitate practice of adaptive walking abilities at doses suggested to be necessary to stimulate neurological recovery processes. Through my post-doctoral work to test this hypothesis in randomized clinical trials in the NHS and feasibility work in other care and community settings I was to embark on a 10 year journey of peeling back the layers of assumptions I made in this hypothesis and what it means to improve the quality of evidence that is fit for improving patient outcomes. My work now is to support research, clinical and policy teams alike to create and implement evidence to improve health and care services that support people with a range of health conditions to remain/regain mobility.

Dr. Nina Skjæret Maroni

Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trontheim, Norway

Nina Skjæret Maroni is an Associate Professor in the Department of Neuromedicine and Movement Science at NTNU. She has extensive knowledge and competence within clinical practice and research with respect to physical activity and physical function in older adults as well as use of innovative technological solutions. Her research focuses on monitoring, maintaining, and increasing physical activity and physical functioning in older age, and use of technology such as exergames, VR and mobile applications in exercise and rehabilitation. She has during the last years been leading several collaborative project with the healthcare sector in Trondheim municipality with regards to research and education focusing on collaborative work and praxis in healthcare education, and been devoted to implementing technological solutions in healthcare.

Dr. ir. Monique Tabak

University of Twente in Enschede, The Netherlands
Title of the lecture:
From waiting room to living room: eHealth technology for tailor-made care for people with chronic conditions

In her presentation, she will explain how eHealth technology can contribute to pro-active, personalized chronic care where shared-decision making and self-management are key elements. She will illustrate her story with innovative examples from her background as Biomedical Engineer and scientist, including: telemonitoring to reliably measure asthma control at home, AI to early detect exacerbations from multi-morbidity, and tailored coaching approaches for people with COPD. And, with a small detour to engaging eHealth technologies like Virtual Reality and virtual agents.


Dr. ir. Monique Tabak is associate professor at the University of Twente with a background in Biomedical Engineering, leading the research track on personalized eHealth technology for complex chronic conditions. She is an eHealth expert, focusing on the question: how can eHealth technology contribute to tailor-made care in daily life? Her expertise includes: telemonitoring, shared decision making, decision support systems, adaptive tailored coaching, self-management, complex chronic conditions, and rehabilitation. She has vast experience in >20 national and international research projects on eHealth (e.g. IS-ACTIVE (AAL), InLife (H2020), MAGGY (NWO)) in major coordinating roles as project manager or WP leader, as well as principal investigator and in close collaboration with care centres. This is strengthened by her affiliation with Roessingh Research and Development, connected to one of the largest rehabilitation hospitals in the Netherlands. She is currently leading the large-scale European RE-SAMPLE project (H2020) in which a multidisciplinary consortium is developing revolutionary tailor-made care for people with COPD and comorbidities using real-world data monitoring and AI. She is also PI and WP leader in the LoaD project (NWA-ORC) in which she develops personalized feedback and coaching strategies for people with osteoarthritis based on a multi-modal sensing approach and recommender systems for tailoring. In addition, she is a teacher in eHealth technology for the educational programmes of Biomedical Engineering, Technical Medicine and Health Science.

Dr. Melvyn Roerdink

Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Title of the lecture:
Augmented-reality for remotely monitored personalized home-based gait-and-balance therapy 

Melvyn Roerdink is associate professor Technology in Motion at the Department of Human Movement Sciences at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The mission of his Technology in Motion team is to merge human movement science with emerging motion technology (such as RGB-D sensors, augmentation technology and mixed-reality headsets) and academic entrepreneurship to produce knowledge and solutions for and with science, society, and industry. Their research and development in the context of walking adaptability and cueing resulted in digital-therapeutic solutions for studying, assessing, and training context-dependent walking. Examples include the patented C-Mill augmented-reality rehabilitation treadmill for assessment and training of walking adaptability (commercialized by Motek), the multi-Kinect-based 10-meter Interactive Walkway for targeted fall-risk assessment (available for use in research via VU Tec4Science), and the mixed-reality applications Holocue to assist walking in Parkinson’s disease (transferred to and CueX for remotely-monitored home-based personalized gait-and-balance therapy (with our consortium partner Strolll for further development and commercialization). The walking environments are here all visually enriched with interactive motion-dependent task-relevant augmented/mixed-reality content, intended to evoke interactions between actors and their environment (e.g., target stepping, obstacle avoidance, cueing). The premise is that technologies to enrich walking environments will contribute to a better understanding, identification, and treatment of limitations in context-dependent walking.

Prof. dr. Vivian Weerdesteyn

Radboud University Medical Center & Sint Maartenskliniek in Nijmegen, the Netherlands

Dr. Vivian Weerdesteyn has a background in Physiotherapy (BSc, 1996) and Human Movement Science (MSc, 1999; Cum Laude). She obtained her PhD (2005) in Medical Science from the Radboud University Nijmegen on the development and evaluation of a falls prevention program for the elderly (‘Vallen Verleden Tijd’). In 2011, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) attributed the highest possible recognition to this program. Over 1500 allied health professionals have now been educated as NFPP trainers in the Netherlands, with international training courses having started in 2019. 
Dr. Weerdesteyn currently holds a professorship at the Radboud University Medical Center, Department of Rehabilitation, where she is chairing the balance and gait laboratories. In her research, she aims to elucidate the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying impaired balance and gait control in people with neurological conditions; and to take this knowledge forward for designing and evaluating novel interventions to ameliorate these problems. Her main focus is on stroke, Parkinson’s disease and rare hereditary movement disorders. In 2017, she obtained a prestigious personal grant (Vidi grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) to study compensatory neural mechanisms for defective balance and gait control after stroke. Dr. Weerdesteyn is the current President and chair of the Strategic Planning Committee of the International Society for Posture and Gait Research (ISPGR). She serves on the editorial board of Gait & Posture, Experimental Brain Research, and on the Managing board of the National Caretech consortium. She has published over 150 papers in international peer-reviewed journals. 

Dr. Hans Bussmann

Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Hans Bussmann is Associate Professor of the Dept. of Rehabilitation Medicine of Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam, the Netherlands. His research aims at understanding and improving physical behaviour (PB) of people with chronic conditions, and to apply this in rehabilitation care. In this research the focus is on the use of wearable technology in the “at home” situation. Although the theme of research is not population-specific, my research focuses on people with acquired neurological conditions such as stroke.
Studies – published in about 180 peer-reviewed international papers – include topics as the development, validation and application of objective measurement and feedback devices. Research increasingly focuses at at-home upper-limb treatment and at integrating prolonged daily life measurements with technology-supported exercise. Hans Bussmann initiated the International Conference on the Measurement of Physical Activity and Movement (ICAMPAM) and the International Society for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour (ISMPB).

Dr. Edwin van Asseldonk

University of Twente in Enschede, The Netherlands

Edwin van Asseldonk has a master in Human Movement Sciences from the Free University in Amsterdam and a PhD in Biomechanical Engineering from the University of Twente. He currently holds the position of associate professor at the University of Twente. His research aims to improve the walking ability of patients with neurological diseases like stroke, cerebral palsy or spinal cord injury by using rehabilitation robotics (therapeutic and assistive) and/or exergames. His current research concentrates on identifying balance recovery strategies during standing and walking and translating the gained insights into interventions to improve balance, e.g. supporting balance control using wearable exoskeletons or training balance recovery using exergames. He is principal investigator on different national (funded by TTW and ZonMW) projects and co-principal investigator on international projects (funded by EU) on rehabilitation robotics. 

Dr. Sarah Zandvliet

Radboud University Medical Center & Fontys University of Applied Sciences in Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Sarah Zandvliet had a bachelor in physiotherapy and a master in human movement science. She conducted her PhD  at the department of rehabilitation at the Amsterdam university medical center focussed on sensorimotor recovery after stroke. After her PhD she worked as a postdoctoral researcher for the  EPFL in Switzerland in rehabilitation center Sion, were she was in charge of multiple clinical research projects focused on technological and Ehealth support for patients after stroke.
Sarah currently holds a postdoctoral position at the Radboud medical center in Nijmegen and is a lecturer in physiotherapy at Fontys university of applied science in Eindhoven.  Within these positions she focuses accessible measurement tools for balance and gait capacity and improving movement behaviour in patients after stroke.

  • Prof. dr. Julie Bernhardt, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health
  • Prof. dr. Gert Kwakkel, Amsterdam University Medical Center
  • Prof. dr. Mindy Levin, McGill University
  • Dr. Kristen Hollands, University of Salford
  • Dr. Nina Skjæret Maroni, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Dr. Melvyn Roerdink, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • Dr. ir. Monique Tabak, University of Twente
  • Prof. dr. Noël Keijsers, Sint Maartenskliniek & Radboud University
  • Jip Kamphuis, MSc, Sint Maartenskliniek
  • Dr. Kenneth Meijer, Maastricht University
  • Bas van Hooren, MSc, Maastricht University
  • Hans Essers, MSc, Maastricht University
  • Johan van der Meulen, BSc, 8D Games
  • Prof. dr. Vivian Weerdesteyn, Radboud University Medical Center & Sint Maartenskliniek
  • Dr. Hans Bussmann, Erasmus Medical Center
  • Dr. Edwin van Asseldonk, University of Twente
  • Dr. Ruben Regterschot, Erasmus Medical Center & University of Twente
  • Dr. Sarah Zandvliet, Radboud University Medical Center & Fontys University of Applied Sciences