Welcome the International Scientific Advisory Committee (ISAC) Reviewers

On January 24th and 25th, KITE will be hosting a team of experts from the fields of rehabilitation, academics, industry, and medicine as part of an External Scientific Review by the International Scientific Advisory Committee (ISAC).

This group will conduct a review of our operations and accomplishments over the past five years, and provide recommendations on the important work our teams have planned for the years ahead. To enable the review process, KITE has created the ISAC 2023 Report that can be accessed here.

Let’s give a warm welcome to the review committee:

Jane Rylett

Senior Scientist
Robarts Research Institute Western University
London, ON, Canada

Dr. Jane Rylett is a Distinguished University Professor at Western University and Scientist in the Translational Neuroscience Group at Robarts Research Institute. She is past-Chair of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. Following a PhD in Pharmacology, she trained in neurophysiology at University College London, England and neurochemistry at the MaxPlanck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Germany. She was recruited to Western University as the Rubinoff Scholar in Geriatrics. Dr. Rylett is a cellular and molecular neurobiologist studying the consequences of age-related changes in brain and neurodegenerative diseases, and recognized internationally for contributions in studies on cholinergic neurobiology and Alzheimer disease. Research in her laboratory focuses on mechanisms regulating chemical communication in the nervous system in health, normal aging and disease and the impact on cognitive function. Dr. Rylett served as Chair of the Institute Advisory Board for the CIHR Institute of Aging, on Boards of Directors of the Alzheimer Societies of Canada and Ontario, and on taskforces for international endeavours for Alzheimer Disease research. She has been leader of the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA) Theme 1 – Prevention. Senior Scientist, Robarts Research Institute, Western University London, ON, Canada.

Peter Athanasopoulos

Director, Public Policy 
Spinal Cord Injury Ontario
Toronto, ON, Canada

Peter Athanasopoulos has invested 22 years in a career supporting people with spinal cord injuries in a variety of roles and positions. He started his career in the role of Provincial Peer Support Manager with the Canadian Paraplegic Association Ontario, then moved on to the role of SCI Network and Service Manager and is currently the Director of Public Policy and Government Relations for Spinal Cord Injury Ontario as well as the Executive Director of the Ontario SCI Alliance. In addition to his primary roles, Peter has authored a variety of SCI research and policy reports that resulted in sustainable governmental policy innovation for people with disabilities. These research/policy knowledge translation initiatives advanced Public Transportation, Accessibility, Attendant Services, Assistive Devices, and Secondary Complications in SCI. He is currently active in a variety of projects including Neurotrauma Pathways of Care, SCI Implementation, Evaluation & Quality Care Consortium, and chair of the technical committee of Canadian SCI Standards of Rehabilitation with the Health Standards Organization of Accreditation Canada.

Gery Colombo

Founder and CEO
Hocoma AG
Zurich, Switzerland

Dr. Gery Colombo has a background in Electrical Engineering with a specialization in biomedical engineering. He received his PhD with the research and development of the Lokomat, the worlds first clinically applied gait robot for neurologic patients. He worked for 10 years as the head of research at the spinal cord injury centre of the university of Zurich. Dr. Colombo has over 25 years of experience in the biomedical industry. His broad background in neurorehabilitation with specific focus on robotic and sensor-based devices for functional movement therapy has led to the successful development of the company Hocoma, which has been listed as one of the most influential public & private companies in the global robotics industry and recognized as one of the most disruptive players in wearable healthcare. Besides the robotic field in neurorehabilitation and the invention of the Lokomat®, a driven gait orthosis, he is interested in wearable technologies. More than 10 years ago he had the idea to create a wearable sensor-based device for the treatment of low back pain which was finally launched in 2014 and has been well recognized in the Wearable Technology Scene. As a founder, honorary member and former president of the International Industry Society for Advanced Rehabilitatiln Technology (IISART), he also contributed to the global development of rehabilitation technology in different aspects such as education, regulation or promotion. He also was initiator of the RehabWeek, the world’s leading conference in rehabilitation technology.

Armin Curt

Medical Director
Balgrist University Hospital
Zurich, Switzerland

Dr. Armin Curt is a Full Professor for Paraplegiology and Medical Director at the Balgrist University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland. After receiving his Medical Degree at the University of Cologne, and full training in neurology and clinical neurophysiology, he started his specialization in Spinal Cord Injury care and rehabilitation at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. From 2005 – 2008 he was an Associate Professor in Neurology and SCI Research at the University of British Columbia. In 2013 he gave the Sir Ludwig Guttmann Lecture. He is holder of numerous national and international grants and Principal Investigator of the Horizon 2020 project “NISCI – Antibodies against Nogo-A to enhance regeneration and functional recovery after SCI”. His research interests are translational research in human SCI, neurorehabilitation, clinical neurophysiology and neuro-imaging in human SCI. He is founder and chair of the European SCI Clinical network (www.emsci.org) and involved in early translational clinical trials. The network focuses on clinical recovery profiles and is establishing prediction models to inform the setup of interventional clinical trials and provide outcome thresholds of clinically meaningful neurological and functional assessments. Dr Curt is scientific advisor and board member of national and international SCI foundations seeking to support preclinical research and fostering the translational path for the development of novel treatment strategies for patients suffering from acute and chronic spinal cord injury.

Janice Eng

PhD, BSc (PT/OT)
 Rehabilitation Research Program
GF Strong Rehab Center
Vancouver, BC, Canada

Dr. Janice Eng is a University Killam Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Canada Research Chair in Neurological Rehabilitation at the University of British Columbia and Director of the Rehabilitation Research Program at the GF Strong Rehab Centre. Dr. Eng has clinical training in physical therapy and occupational therapy. She is the co-lead of the CanStroke Recovery Clinical Trials Platform. She has published over 300 peer-reviewed papers. Two of her stroke exercise programs, GRASP for improving arm and hand function and FAME for improving fitness and mobility, are used in over 50 countries. Of local relevance, she completed her masters in biomedical engineering at the University of Toronto, and taught many years ago in the University of Toronto Physical Therapy Program. She completed her doctorate in Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo. Dr. Eng also completed her post-doctoral training in Neurophysiology at Simon Fraser University.

Richard L. Lieber

Chief Scientific Officer
& Senior Vice President
Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Chicago
Illinois, USA

Dr. Rick Lieber is a physiologist who earned his PhD in Biophysics from U.C. Davis developing a theory of light diffraction that was applied to mechanical studies of single muscle cells. He joined the faculty at the University of California, San Diego in 1985 where he spent the first 30+ years of his academic career, achieving the rank of Professor and Vice-Chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. He received his MBA in 2013 and is currently Chief Scientific Officer and Senior Vice President at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab and Professor of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL. Dr. Lieber’s work is intentionally translational, applying basic scientific principles to help patients who have experienced spinal cord injury, stroke, musculoskeletal trauma or cerebral palsy. He has published over 300 articles in journals ranging from the very basic such as Biophysical Journal and The Journal of Cell Biology to clinical journals such as The Journal of Hand Surgery and Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. Dr. Lieber’s research focuses on design and plasticity of skeletal muscle. Currently, he is developing state-of-the-art biological and biophysical approaches to understanding muscle contractures that result from cerebral palsy, stroke and spinal cord injury.