Keynote speakers

Deborah Falla, PT, PhD

Professor School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, Chair in Rehabilitation Science and Physiotherapy, Director and Research Co-Lead, Centre of Precision Rehabilitation for Spinal Pain, University of Birmingham

Professor Falla is an expert in rehabilitation science and musculoskeletal physiotherapy. Her research utilises state of the art electrophysiological measures to evaluate the control of human movement and how it is affected or adapted in response to various states including pain, injury, fatigue and training. Her research interests also includes optimising the management of musculoskeletal conditions with a particular interest in neck pain, low back pain, whiplash and headache. She has published over 145 papers in international, peer-reviewed journals, more than 100 conference papers/abstracts including 30 invited/keynote lectures. Professor Falla acts as an Associate Editor for Musculoskeletal Science & Practice (formerly Manual Therapy) and the Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology. Since 2016, she is President of the International Society of Electrophysiology and Kinesiology (ISEK).


Alberto Gallace, Psych, PhD

Researcher and professor of cognitive psycology in the Department of Psychology of University of Milano-Bicocca.

alberto gallaceDr Alberto Gallace is a cognitive neuroscientist with a special interest in the study of the cognitive and neural aspects of tactile information processing across the body surface.

His work investigates  multisensory integration, synaesthesia, body representation, spatial attention and spatial information processing in both neurologically normal participants and patients affected by neurological and neuropsychological disorders.  His work underpins the very first neurocognitive model of tactile awareness.
Since 2005, he has written two book chapters, 35 articles and more than 30 conference abstracts. He has been invited as speaker at a number of international conferences and his work has been the focus of popular media articles in different countries. He has published in general science (eg Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) and leading journals in his field (eg Experimental Brain Research, Pain, Journal of Neuropsychology, Consciousness and Cognition, Brain Research, Neuroscience Letters, Perception, Psychological Bulletin, Perception & Psychophysics, Neuroscience and Biobehavioural reviews, Acta Psychologica).

Fabrizio Benedetti, MD, PhD

Dr Benedetti is Professor of Neurophysiology and Human Physiology at the University of Turin Medical School, Turin (Italy), and Director of the Centre for Hypoxia at the Plateau Rosà Labs, Plateau Rosà (Italy/Switzerland).

Dr Benedetti’s pre-eminence in the areas of placebo and nocebo is recognized internationally having been awarded the Medical Book Award of the British Medical   Association in 2009; the Seymour Solomon Award of the American Headache Society in 2012; the William S. Kroger Award of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis in 2015, and the EFIC-IBSA Award for the best paper in the European Journal of Pain in 2015. Furthermore, he is a nominated member of The Academy of Europe and of the European Dana Alliance for the Brain. Fabrizio is a distinguished author; his most recent books, Placebo Effects (Oxford, 2nd Edition, 2014), The Patient’s Brain (Oxford 2010), and Placebo (Springer 2014) are considered seminal advancements in the understanding of placebo and nocebo, and compulsory reading for health professionals.

Rob Smeets, MD, PhD

Prof. dr Rob J.E.M. Smeets (1964) is a physiatrist since 1995 and received his PhD in medicine in 2006. In June 2009 he was appointed full professor in Rehabilitation Medicine and is working as physiatrist at CIR Revalidatie at Eindhoven. He specialized in the physical as well as cognitive behavioral treatments of chronic musculoskeletal pain and chronic fatigue patients and is responsible for the development, research and implementation of new diagnostic tools and treatments for these patients. He has successfully transferred the clinical department of Rehabilitation Medicine into an innovative academic working place and developed new diagnostic and treatment care pathways between primary and secondary care, especially in the field of musculoskeletal disorders. He has been involved in several (inter)national guideline committees, (past) chair of the International Association of the Study of Pain (IASP) special interest group op Pain & Movement, chair of scientific working group of the Dutch Association of Rehabilitation Medicine (2011-2014), and member (till 2014) of the scientific committee of the 7th World Congress of World Institute of Pain (2014). He is internationally recognized in the area of musculoskeletal pain research as well as rehabilitation medicine. He has served ˜70 times as keynote, obtained ˜5 million Euro of grants and co(authored) ˜155 international peer reviewed articles. He is currently supervising 1 postdoc and 12 PhD’s, including 2 in Belgium. He is associate editor of Pain Practice and European Journal of Physiotherapy.

Jessica Van Oosterwijck, PT, PhD

Visiting professor at the University of Antwerp and senior Researcher, Department of Rehabilitation Science and Physiotherapy, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University, Belgium.

Jessica Van Oosterwijck graduated in 2006 as a Master of Science in Physiotherapy (Magna cum laude) at the University College Antwerp (Belgium). She obtained her PhD degree in Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy in 2011 at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium) with a dissertation on chronic pain and central sensitization. She is currently a post-doctoral research fellow funded by the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO) and conducts her research activities at Ghent University (Belgium) where she works at the research unit Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy, section Spine from the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy. Furthermore, she is visiting professor at the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy of the University of Antwerp (Belgium), and a founding member of the Pain In Motion international research group.
Her main research topics of interest are central nervous system mechanisms of pain and fatigue, exercise pathophysiology, pain-motor interactions and rehabilitation in chronic pain populations like those suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic whiplash associated disorders, chronic and recurrent low back pain, osteoarthritis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Her expertise extends to different research methodologies to evaluate pain, psychological factors, physical activity levels, exercise capacity, autonomic function, muscle and brain function and structure.
At the age of 35, she has a total grant income of over 1.5 million euro, and has (co-) authored 48 full text papers published in international peer-reviewed SCI-indexed journals, 10 book chapters, 15 abstracts, and several national papers. Her work has been cited 825 times in the scientific literature (ISI Web of Knowledge) and has an h-index of 18. She has (co-)supervised 1 defended PhD and is supervising 4 ongoing PhD’s. She has lectured at conferences and symposia worldwide and is experienced with teaching courses within the Bachelor and Master programs in Rehabilitation Sciences.

Last modified: Tuesday, 16 April 2019, 11:45 AM