Advanced biomedical signal processing techniques to investigate neurological disorders, sleep quality and neurorehabilitation outcome in patients with spinal cord injury

Area of Knowledge: Telecommunications, Electronics, Robotics, Biomedical Engineering, Automation Engineering, ICT

Group Leader:
Raimon Jané Campos, Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) ·
Biomedical Signal Processing and Interpretation (BIOSPIN)

Co-director of PhD project:
Joan Vidal Samsó, Institut Guttmann ·
Neuroreparation and advanced therapies


The main objective is the development of novel biomedical signal interpretation techniques to study neurological disorders, for assessment of motor function and sleep quality, developing new neurorehabilitation strategies.

Some of the references that show the relevant work related to this field, that has been developed jointly by BIOSPIN IBEC group (Dr. Jané) and the Institut Guttmann (Dr. Vidal), include:

  • Castillo-Escario, Y., Kumru, H., Valls-Solé, J. García-Alen, L., Vidal, J., Jané. R. Assessment of trunk flexion in arm reaching tasks with electromyography and smartphone accelerometry in healthy human subjects. Scientific Reports 115363 (2021).
  • Castillo-Escario, Y., Kumru, H., Valls-Solé, J. García-Alen, L., Jané. R., Vidal, J. Quantitative evaluation of trunk function and the StartReact effect during reaching in patients with cervical and thoracic spinal cord injury. Journal of Neural Engineering, Vol. 18, Num. 4, 0460d2 (2021).
  • Castillo-Escario, Y., Kumru, H., Ferrer-Lluis, I., Vidal, J., Jané. R. Detection of sleep-disordered breathing in patients with spinal cord injury using a smartphone. Sensors 2021 Oct 29;21(21):7182. doi: 10.3390/s21217182
  • “Estudio neurofisiológico de la función motora de las extremidades superiores: una aproximación traslacional para la evaluación de terapias neuromoduladoras en personas con lesión medular” (2021). PhD Thesis by María Rodriguez (PD Neurociències, UAB).  Supervisors: Guillermo García-Alias, R. Jané, H. Kumru (IBEC-Guttmann).


This PhD position is defined in the research project described in the previous section, and it is proposed within the framework of the scientific collaboration between IBEC and Institut Guttmann, under Specific Agreement signed in October 2019. The PhD funded by an INPhINIT grant will be co-supervised by Dr. Raimon Jané (GL BIOSPIN-IBEC) and Dr. Joan Vidal (PI Neuroreparation and advanced therapies, Institut Guttmann).

This PhD project meets the requirements of the IBEC priority criteria, including the co-direction of an IBEC GL and a clinician, and the alignment with the Severo Ochoa research programme [Bioengineering for healthy ageing (SHC2); Bioelectronic and biomedical signal processing (ATP5); Computational Analysis and Integration of Multimodal Biomedical Data (ATC3)]

The job position will consist of the proposal and development of novel biomedical signal interpretation techniques for the study and evaluation of neurological disorders and their impact in motor function and sleep quality, and the design and development of new personalized neurorehabilitation strategies. These tools and algorithms will be tested both on healthy control subjects and patients with neurological disorders such as spinal cord injury (SCI).

The specific objectives and tasks to be achieved include:

  • Analysis of muscle activity to characterize the patterns of human body movements. This will be done from the information of electromyographic signals (EMG), evoked potentials, kinematics, or other biomedical signals, recorded either with classical equipment or novel wearable sensors.
  • Assessment of the effects of neurorehabilitation protocols based on Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and Transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS), brain or spinal cord stimulation and/or robotic exoskeletons, in motor function recovery
  • Evaluation of respiratory activity, ventilation parameters, and sleep quality in patients with spinal cord injury.