Spinner Fellow Profiles

Meet the Spinner Fellows (Early Stage Researchers, ESRs) who are working on the PhDs in Biomaterials, Biomechanics and in silico modeling for spine surgery.

The Spinner Fellows at their first training event host byAesculap AG, Tuttlingen, Germany.
Left to Right: Marco Sensale (ESR5, Italy), Denata Syla (ESR1, Austria), Chloé Techens (ESR3, France), Cameron James (ESR6, UK), Jennifer Fayad (ESR4, Lebanon),  José Rui Rodrigues (ESR2, Portugal)

Spinner Fellow ESR1:

Denata Syla

Osteoinductive injectable/ mouldable bone graft substitute for spine repair

Denata Syla graduated with a Master’s degree in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine at the University of Applied Sciences Technikum Wien (Vienna, Austria) in which she specialised on biomaterial-based musculoskeletal tissue engineering. During her studies at the university, she conducted research on the development of a muscle-tendon interface via fibrin scaffolds. Further, Denata worked as an international research fellow on a research project focused on the fabrication of bone-muscle tissue grafts with the utilisation of a 3D printer. The in vitro and in vivo results showed a promising outcome and were conducted at the Biomaterials Innovation Research Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School.

As an early stage researcher in the SPINNER project Denata focuses on the development of osteoinductive bone graft substitutes for spinal repair. The grafts are hydroxyapatite-based and replace autologous bone transfer in spinal cages to enhance bone regeneration resulting in spinal fusion. The project is conducted in collaboration between The University of Sheffield (Sheffield, United Kingdom) and the industrial secondment Finceramica (Faenza, Italy).

Nationality:Austrian Austria
Recruiting Institution: U.K.
Academic Institution: U.K.
Industrial Institution: Italy

Spinner Fellow ESR2:

José Rui Rodrigues

Development of osteoinductive coatings for spinal implants (fusion cages)

Jose Rodrigues graduated in Biomedical Engineering in 2016 at University of Minho (Braga, Portugal), with a Master’s degree in Biomaterials, Rehabilitation and Biomechanics. During this time, he conducted research on bioactive composites at the Institute for Biomaterials at Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (Erlangen, Germany) as an International Student, and at 3B’s Research Group (Caldas das Taipas, Portugal) as an MSc Student. His research on biomimetic strategies for the treatment of periodontal diseases resulted in two published scientific papers.

Having also gained experience in printable sensing devices for biotechnology (which contributed for a patent currently under consideration) and the automobile industry, he now joins the SPINNER network as a researcher focused once again in the development of new biomedical solutions. Jose’s project will be focused on the development of hydroxyapatite-based osteoinductive coatings for spinal fusion cages, in a collaboration between The University of Sheffield (Sheffield, United Kingdom) and Finceramica (Faenza, Italy).

Nationality:Portuguese Portugal
Recruiting Institution: U.K.
Academic Institution: U.K.
Industrial Institution: Italy

Spinner Fellow ESR3:

Chloé Techens

Integration of clinical experience and in vitro biomechanical testing to improve spinal augmentation

Chloé graduated in Mechanics of Materials and Processes from the French engineering school Centrale Nantes, Chloé oriented her knowledge towards medical applications with a MSc in Medical Engineering at KTH in Sweden. She specialised in Biomechanics, her research field covers the design and validation of orthopaedic devices as well as the multi-scale mechanical characterisation of biological tissues. Familiar with in-vitro experimentation and the clinical environment, she firstly studied the TrapezoMetacarpal joint.

As part of the SPINNER programme, she focuses on in vitro biomechanical testing of the surgically augmented spine to explain failure mechanisms after vertebroplasty or discoplasty. The assessment of the clinical problems related to those surgeries will be also conducted at the National Center for Spinal Disorders in Hungary based on medical records and image analysis. The research will focus on both the improved vertebral segment and the adjacent ones.

Nationality:French France
Recruiting Institution: Italy
Academic Institution: Italy
Clinical Institution: Hungary

Spinner Fellow ESR4:

Jennifer Fayad

Sagittal stability: movement analysis before and patient motion after spinal treatments

Jennifer graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Biology and a minor in Chemistry from the Lebanese American university and later pursued an MSc in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Surrey, UK. Her main research focus was on motion analysis using optoelectronics techniques and the biomechanics of the spine. In particular, the analysis of changes in spinal posture between younger and older adults.

As part of the SPINNER training network, her project focuses on the in vivo and in vitro methods to assess spinal stability. The in vivo clinical characterizations of the spine would be assessed by motion analysis and imaging techniques at the National Centre for Spinal Disorders in Budapest. While the in vivo assessment would allow for the mechanical characterisation of spine repair treatments to explain proximal joint kyphosis.

Nationality:Lebanese Lebanon
Recruiting Institution: Italy
Academic Institution: Italy
Clinical Institution: Hungary

Spinner Fellow ESR3:

Marco Sensale

Modelling spinal surgical procedures

Marco comes from Italy and is 25 years old. His aim is to deliver highly efficient computational models of spinal surgeries to challenge the current clinical practice.

Marco graduated in Biomedical Engineering with a major in Biomechanics at the Politecnico di Torino, Turin (Italy). His dissertation thesis focused on an interdisciplinary project about uncertainty quantification of the biomechanics of soft tissues as keloid/skin composite. For this project he worked mainly at the University of Luxembourg. Before, he participated in an Erasmus+ period in France, where he also did an R&D internship at FEMTO-ST, Besançon (France).

Marco is now back in France working at ANSYS Lyon and pursuing his studies as a Postgraduate at the University of Sheffield (UK). He applied for a position in SPINNER because he wanted to develop research skills in a company-related environment. He is led by the conviction that a synergy between universities and companies could exploit current advancements and future achievements of biomedical research to make a breakthrough in surgical tools for the third millennium operating room.

Nationality:Italian Italy
Recruiting Institution: France
Academic Institution: U.K.
Industrial Institution: France

Spinner Fellow ESR6:

Cameron James

Statistical shape modelling and reduced order modelling techniques for patient-specific models

Cameron graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2018 with an MEng in Bioengineering, specialising in medical devices and systems. His main research interests include the medical applications of deep learning and control systems. During his time in Sheffield, Cameron was extremely enthusiastic about his subject and could often be found applying his bioengineering knowledge outside of the classroom, both as volunteer at ReMap and as a project leader in Sheffield Bionics Society.

As a SPINNER fellow, Cameron is based at ADAGOS, France. His research focusses on the development of reduced-order, patient-specific modelling techniques for real-time surgical simulation. Alongside his work at ADAGOS, Cameron is continuing his studies at the University of Sheffield as a PhD student in the ACSE department.

Nationality:British U.K.
Recruiting Institution: France
Academic Institution: U.K.
Industrial Institution: France