About Us

The NeuroQWERTY project is a product of the M+Visión Fellowship in Translational Biomedical Imaging. A cohort of Fellows, exceptional talent from all over the world—engineers, physicians, scientists, and entrepreneurs who see the promise of biomedical imaging—engage in structured learning experiences in Madrid and Boston and develop a research direction. After this initial development period, Fellows conduct research projects—two years or more in duration—with the potential for global effect, using their Consortium network of academic, medical, industry and public leaders as mentors and springboards under luminary leadership of Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Team neuroQWERTY is developing a new transparent technology capable of detecting early signs of neurodegenerative disorders, i.e. Parkinson's disease, via the finger interaction with electronic devices. This project is studying the extent to which changes in brain function are associated with a change in the way someone interacts with a mobile device. This will allow a mass screening of individuals at risk for these diseases, which will allow the development of neuroprotective therapies. If successful, the team will be able to employ mobile devices as “windows” into the human brain that will allow for the early detection of neurological diseases. Considering the increasing life expectancy of western societies, these conditioins will be more frequent in the near future.

The neuroQWERTY team

Luca Giancardo, PhD - view biosketch

Education: BSc, Software Engineering, Southampton Solent University (UK), 2005
MSc, Computer Vision and Robotics, Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh (UK), Universitat de Girona (Spain), Université de Bourgogne (France), 2008
PhD, Instrumentation et Informatique de l'Image, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (USA) and Université de Bourgogne (France), 2011

Luca Giancardo received his BSc from the Southampton Solent University where he was awarded the British Computer Society prize for Best Student in his final year and the David Nicholas Award for Innovation for his computer vision based computer interface in 2005. After working in R&D for a year for Real Time Tracking ltd., an English company developing vision-based systems for sporting events he was selected for the first VIBOT Erasmus Mundus program. The VIBOT is research oriented Computer Vision and Robotics MSc delivered by three different European institutions: Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh (UK), Universitat de Girona (Spain) and Université de Bourgogne (France).

For his master's thesis he started to work with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (USA) where he developed an algorithm to detect the quality of retina images acquired by fundus cameras (an invention disclosure was obtained). During his PhD at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Université de Bourgogne he worked on many different retina analysis algorithms to automatically screen diabetic patients for retinopathy and macular edema. The result of his work is currently used in medical clinics and various prizes were awarded to his research team; the R&D Award by R&D Magazine, ORNL Award Excellence in Technology Transfer, ORNL Significant Event Team Award and FLC South-east Regional Award Excellence in Technology Transfer. In 2011, he started a postdoctoral fellowship with the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (Italy) where he worked on automated analysis of the brain connections in diffusion MRI and on vision-based systems to track and classify small animal behaviors.

In October 2014, Luca was accepted to the Global Young Scientists Summit in Singapore. The summit brings together Nobel Prize, Fields Medal, Millennium Technology Prize and IEEE Medal of Honour recipients and bright young researchers to discuss solutions to global challenges. In there he won the 2015 Singapore Challenge on behalf of the neuroQWERTY team.

Alvaro Sanchez Ferro, MD MSc - view biosketch

MD, ‘Autonoma de Madrid’ University, 2004.
Neurology Residency, ‘Hospital 12 de Octubre’, Madrid, 2009.
PGCer in Clinical Genetics, ‘Alcala de Henares’ University, 2010.
MSc, Research Methodology, ‘Autonoma de Barcelona’ University, 2014.

"The way to try to innovate is to have ideas. To create is something very active."
Álvaro Sánchez-Ferro earned an MD from the "Autonoma de Madrid" University in 2004, and specialized in neurology at the ‘12 de Octubre’ Hospital of Madrid in 2009. He became interested in neurodegeneration while studying the genetic evaluation of Parkinson’s disease under Dr. Thomas Gasser’s supervision at Hertie Institut (Tübingen, Germany).

The Spanish Research Agency (ISCiii) granted him a "Rio Hortega" fellowship, which allowed him to complete his training under the mentorship of Dr. Bermejo-Pareja. During this 3-year program, he researched the pathophysiology of the peripheral impairment of Parkinson ́s disease and the epidemiology of dementia. He collaborated with ‘Fundacion CIEN’ (Madrid) on a project aimed to define the neuroanatomical basis of tremor through MRI. More recently, he enjoyed a research fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston, USA) in Dr. Gómez-Isla ́s group, where he cooperated on the development of a diagnostic tool based on an eye tracking system aimed to detect presymptomatic Alzheimer’s disease.

Ian Butterworth, MSc - view biosketch

BEng, Electronic Engineering, University of Warwick, UK, 2007
MSc, Audio Acoustics, University of Salford, UK, 2009

Ian Butterworth progressed from an undergraduate degree in Electronic Engineering at the University of Warwick, to a Masters in Audio Acoustics at the University of Salford where his thesis focused on psychoacoustics and cognitive listening states, before in 2008 joining the Acoustics department at the UK’s National Measurement Institute, the National Physical Laboratory (NPL).

Ian’s work in innovative metrology at NPL spanned a wide range of acoustic applications including: the development of quality assurance methods for ultrasonic imaging and therapeutic modalities, the control and monitoring of acoustic cavitation in both medical and industrial applications, and the development of a novel laser based acousto-optic method for the mapping of sound fields around complex objects such as loudspeakers and High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) therapy transducers.

Ian is also a keen creative programmer working with modern technologies and taking part in various ‘hackathon’ events in collaboration with emergent tech startups. As an experienced hacker, Ian appreciated the “fun – and risky” fast-pace of the Hacking Medicine Madrid Hackathon in July.

Carlos Sanchez Mendoza, PhD - view biosketch

BSc, Telecommunications Engineering, University of Sevilla, 2006
MSc, Electronics, Signal Processing and Communications, University of Sevilla, 2008
PhD, Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Sevilla, 2011

Carlos comes from a Castilian family with a proud tradition in engineering. “My great grandfather counseled King Alfonso 13th to build the first line of Madrid’s metro at age 31, which is my age now. I am very honored that the current circumstances are empowering my family to make another contribution to our people.”

Carlos S. Mendoza earned his doctoral degree in May 2011, after conducting research in segmentation of computed-tomography images for surgical planning, in shape analysis for retrieval of bone allografts with application to allotransplantation surgery, and in texture characterization of dermoscopic images for computer-assisted diagnosis of malignant melanoma. During his doctoral studies, Carlos spent nine months at the Surgical Planning Lab and the Applied Chest Imaging Lab – Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. His research at the Brigham included the development of a novel methodology for fully automatic assessment of pulmonary emphysema in COPD patients, resulting in the discovery of new genetic factors and epidemiologic traits in COPD.

His PhD thesis title was “Image Processing in Medicine – Advances for Phenotype Characterization, Computer-Assisted Diagnosis and Surgical Planning”. Between January 2012 and February 2013, Carlos held a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation – Children’s National Medical Center (Washington DC, USA). His research at Children's included automatic assessment of cranial dysmorphology in young infants using statistical shape models, and computer-assisted diagnosis of renal pathologies from the automatic segmentation of renal structures in echographic images.

As an M+Visión Fellow, Carlos wants to focus on the translational aspects of biomedical data science. “I’m interested in using statistical methods to characterize human health and disease; using data science to extract relevant patterns that can be crucial to address specific needs of patients.”

Teresa Arroyo Gallego, MSc - view biosketch

BSc, Telecommunications Engineering, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 2012
MSc, Telecommunications Engineering - Major in Bioengineering, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 2014
MSc, Biomedical Engineering, , ‘Universidad Politécnica de Madrid’, Present

Graduated in Telecommunications Engineering, Teresa a passionate about technology and, particularly, about technology applications for clinical purposes. During her major in bioengineering she worked as a laboratory assistant in the Medical Signals and Images Laboratory. In summer of 2013 she started a research collaboration in the Signal Processing Applications Group - GAPS (SSR), ETSIT (UPM) to work in a project about diagnostic application of speech processing and analysis. Currently she combines her work as a Research Assistant in neuroQWERTY with her Biomedical Engineering master studies at the 'Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM)'.

Michele Matarazzo, MD - view biosketch

MD, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 2009

Paloma Montero, MD

Veronica Puertas Martín, PhD

Martha Lane Gray, PhD (PI for Michael J. Fox Foundation Study) - view biosketch

J.W. Kieckhefer Professor of Medical and Electrical Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology

PhD in Medical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1986
SM in Electrical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1981
BS in Computer Science, Michigan State University, 1978

Martha Gray, PhD, has spent the last two decades building programs that foster training of the next generation to become leaders in “patient-centric” biomedical innovation. As director of the M+Vision Consortium, she leads a diverse team of experienced academic, medical and business mentors who work closely with trainees through an innovation methodology that focuses first on defining and validating the medical need, and then on developing a research plan that aims for rapid translation to the clinic. Prior to M+Vision, as director of the Harvard-Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Prof. Gray shepherded growth of a multi-disciplinary and multi-professional environment in classrooms, hospitals and laboratories and seek to advance human health.

Among her numerous accomplishments, Prof. Gray was the first woman to lead a science or engineering department at MIT and is an elected fellow of the AAAS, the Biomedical Engineering Society and the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers.

José A. Obeso, MD, PhD(co-PI for Michael J. Fox Foundation Study) - view biosketch

Professor of Neurology at University of Navarra

Jose A. Obeso, MD, PhD, is a professor of neurology in the University of Navarra Medical School and Clinica Universitaria in Pamplona, Spain. He graduated from the University of Navarra in 1976 and trained in neurology and neurophysiology in San Sebastian and Pamplona, Spain. From 1980 to 1982 he worked as research fellow in movement disorders under Professor C. David Marsden in London, which proved the most exciting and decisive period in his career.

Dr. Obeso has been devoted to the care of patients with movement disorders, Parkinson's disease in particular, and both clinical and laboratory research. He has published more than 300 original papers and 95 reviews in peer review journals and contributed to 99 book chapters, mainly on the pathophysiology and treatment of dyskinesia and Parkinson's disease. His current H-index is 69, and he is co-editor in chief of the Movement Disorders Journal since 2010.

The Scientific Advisory Board

John Growdon, MD - Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA

Felix Bermejo-Pareja, MD - Hospital 12 de Octubre, Madrid, Spain

Jose Antonio Molina, MD - Hospital 12 de Octubre, Madrid, Spain

Maria José Catalán, MD - Hospital Clínico San Carlos, Madrid, Spain

Jacob Hooker, PhD -MGH/HST Athinoula A. Martinos, Boston, USA