Meet our team

Dr. Chris Awai
Managing Director

#MovementAnalysis #DistributedClinicalAssessments #DigitalMobilityOutcomes #PersonalizedRehabilitation

Chris Awai was awarded his PhD in health and exercise science in 2014 from the Universities of Nice and Sydney jointly. His interests center on the rehabilitation of gait and balance after insult to the central nervous system. His work encompasses development of locomotor assessment paradigms and the introduction of markers of gait quality into clinical practice. Since 2020, he leads the cereneo Foundation, an interdisciplinary research team with the mission to bridge the gap between research and clinical implementation in neurorehabilitation.

Dr. Sandra Giovanoli
Research Scientist

#Neuroscience #PersonalizedRehabilitation #Language&Cognition
#Speech #Voice
#Voice Monitoring

Sandra has finished her PhD at ETH of Zurich in Behavioural Neuroscience in 2015, where she investigated the effects of environmental factors on brain development. In 2017, she moved to cereneo Foundation as founding member, where she covers the logopedic and neuropsychological areas of neurorehabilitation. Her work includes research and development of place-independent methods for assessment and monitoring of speech, language and cognitive functions in stroke.

Dr. Josef Schönhammer
Research Scientist

#CognitivePsychology #HumanFactors #CognitiveNeuroscience #HumanComputerInteraction

Josef completed a PhD in Cognitive Psychology in 2015, following a master’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction. He worked as human factors and user experience researcher in the automobile and consumer electronics industries, before he joined cefir in 2020. Here his research focuses on the development and application of rehabilitation technology for the upper extremities.

Dr. Catherine Maher (Graham)
Research Scientist

#PersonalizedNutrition #Nutritionist
#TasteScience #Sensory #Taste #SensoryRehabilitation

Cat completed a PhD in Personalised Nutrition in 2019, following completion of a master’s degree in Human Nutrition. She moved to cefir in 2022 to continue her research line in nutrition sensory science, combining the world of taste and scent perception with genetic variation and dietary intake. For Cat’s publication history click here.  

PhD Candidates
Belen Valladares
PhD Candidate

#Upper Limb Rehab, #TherapyConcept, #MedicalDevices, #ImplementationScience, #KnowledgeTranslation

Yesica Martinez
PhD Candidate (UZH)

#Neuropsychology #Stroke Rehabilitation #Reward #Music

Tim Unger
PhD Candidate (ETHZ)

#IMU #Motioncapture #StrokeRehabilitation #MovementScience #Machinelearning #BiomedicalEngineering

Tim studied Mechanical Engineering at the KIT (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) for his bachelor’s degree and completed his master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering at the TU Berlin in March 2022. Shortly after, Tim joined cefir and started his PhD in collaboration with ETH Zurich. In his PhD, Tim focuses on the evaluation of upper body neurorehabilitation with low-budget technologies.

Johannes Pohl
PhD Candidate (UZH)

##MotorRecoveryPostStroke #SensorBasedOutcome #ClinicalAssessment #KnowledgeTranslation

Johannes completed a Master of Science degree in Physiotherapy at the Bern University of Applied in 2016. The Implementation of evidence-based interventions and integrated assessment in Neurorehabilitation Clinics was the core interest as a Physiotherapist. Johannes started a joint PhD at the Universities of Zurich and Leuven, focusing on the properties and predictability of sensor-based and clinical outcomes post-stroke. His research aims to integrate quantification and quality assessment of activities of daily living after stroke into clinical rehabilitation.

Jiahui An
PhD Candidate (UZH)

#CognitiveNeuroscience #BCI #BehaviorNeuroimagingI #VirtualReality #Neurorehabilitation #Stroke

Jiahui started her PhD in Cefir in September 2022, her main research project is at the intersection of Brain-Computer-Interface and cognitive neuroscience. Jiahui is born and raised in China, since 2017 April she moved to Germany and studied Bioinformatics at the University of Tübingen. She gained her master degree in Neural Behavior Sciences at the International Max Planck Research School (Tübingen) in October 2021. During her stay in Tübingen, she also worked as a research assistant conducting several behavioral experiments using Eeytracker, EEG and facial expression analysis at Max Planck Institute for Intelligent System and Leibniz Institute for Knowledge media. She finished her master thesis at University Children’s Hospital Zurich, where she analyzed Diffusion tensor imaging and structural MRI scans for children with epilepsy.

André Böni
PhD Candidate (UZH)

#PersonalizedRehabilitation #Physiotherapist #PersonalizedFeedback #MovementAnalysis #ClinicalDecisioning

André is a trained application developer and physiotherapist. He finished his master degree in physiotherapy – profession development in summer 2022 at the University of Applied Science Berne. André joined the cereneo Foundation as a PhD student for the StimuLOOP Project. His work is mainly focused on movement analysis, clinical decisioning and personalized feedback

Anna Knill
PhD Candidate (ETHZ)

#Neurorehabilitation #FingerIndividuation

After her bachelor in Health Sciences and Technology, Anna completed her master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering at ETH Zürich in August 2022. During this time, she performed internships at the Swiss Paraplegic Center and AO Research Institute and gained insights into the fields of biomechanics, clinical studies and data analysis. Finding her passion in rehabilitation, she worked with a robotic exoskeleton (the ArmeoPower from Hocoma) to assess upper limb movements during therapy and remains involved in organizations that use assistive technologies to support people with disabilities (e.g., CYBATHLON and HackaHealth). In fall 2022, Anna joined cefir and started her PhD in collaboration with the Rehabilitation Engineering Lab (RELab) of ETH Zürich. The focus of the project lies in neurorehabilitation connected to finger individuation and manual dexterity. 

Francesco Piluso
PhD Candidate

#Nutrition #Nutrition&Genetics #PersonalisedNutrition #TheSenses #Neurorehabilitation

Francesco graduated from the University of Naples Federico II in Biological Sciences in Italy. During his studies, he mainly focused on molecular biology and genetics in the field of diagnostics. In 2022, he started his PhD at the University of Trieste and a collaboration with Cefir. The project he is working on concerns food science, in detail, the analysis of individual variations in the perceptions of taste and smell, how genetics affects them and how this information can be used to improve eating habits and general health.

Harry Stevens
PhD Candidate

#Nutrition #Nutrition&Genetics #PersonalisedNutrition #TheSenses #Neurorehabilitation

Following an undergraduate degree in Nutrition, Harry received his master’s in Nutrition and Genetics from St Mary’s University, London in 2021. After pursuing research about the association between variations in circadian rhythm genes and type 2 diabetes, Harry joined cefir, in association with the University of Trieste, in 2022. His PhD project will investigate whether personalised meals can be created for individuals based on sense of smell, taste and genotype, and whether taste and scent sensitivity can be re-established in individuals suffering from neurodegenerative / neurological conditions.

Simon Zamora

#BiomedicalEngineer #NeuroEngineering #StimuLOOP #TMR #GaitAnalysis

Saskia Neumann
MSc Student

#PhysicalTherapist #BalancePerturbationTraining #GaitAnalysis #Neurorehabilitation

Luca Nastasi
MSc Student (ETHZ)

#MechanicalEngineering #IMU #ActivityMonitoring

Céline Magrini
MSc Student (ETHZ)

#BiomedicalEngineering #GaitAnalysis #FeedbackDesign #StimuLOOP

Simone Merkinger
MSc Student

#Neuropsychology #Stroke Rehabilitation #Music

Theo Maffei

#Neuroscience #Neuroengineering #TargetedMemoryReactivation

Ines Ribeiro Ferreira

#Nutrition #PersonalizedNutrition #WantingAndLiking

Close Collaborators
Dr. Mathilde Lestoille

#PersonalizedRehabilitation #RealTimeFeedback #MotionAnalysis

Mathilde completed a PhD in Robotics, at Sorbonne Université (Paris) in 2021. She is now a postdoc at the Rehabilitation Engineering Lab at ETHZ. Her research focuses on augmented feedback for post-stroke therapy and human motion analysis. She collaborates with the cereneo Foundation in the StimuLOOP project, developing augmented feedback for gait. She also works on visual feedback for home therapy.

Dr. Mathias Bannwart
Research Rehabilitation Engineer (cereneo)

#Neuroreabilitation #VirtualReality #XRDeveloper #MovementScience

Mathias got his PhD in Health Science and Technology from ETH in 2021, following completion of a master’s degree in Neural Systems and Computation and an internship in the rehabilitation technology industry. In 2021 until 2022, he joined the cereneo Foundation as a research associate and developer for virtual and augmented reality applications. His research focused on the effect of visual cueing on gait impairments as well as activity and heart rate monitoring to better understand recovery after stroke. He now works full-time as a research rehabilitation engineer for the cereneo clinic providing patient-tailored therapy and assessments.

Dr. Lore Billie Legrand
Scientific Advisors
Professor Andreas Luft
University of Zurich

Neurorehabilitation Advis​or

Professor Paolo Gasparini
University of Trieste

Nutrition Advisor

Professor Robert Riener
ETH of Zurich

Rehabilitation Engineer Advisor

Former Members
Cyrille Mvomo


Dr. Daniela Hofmann
Postdoc (USZ)

#Stimuloop #Clinical Studies #Study Managment #Ethics #Diseases #Biophysics

David Aschwanden

#DHEST #MedTech

Dominic Bösch

#Occupational Therapy #Psychology

Luca Musumeci

#GaitAnalysis #EMG #Coherence #Neurorehabilitation

Kenza Marie-Noël

#RTT #Bump'em

Khadja Mauricia

#BiomedicalEngineering #Bumep'em #Exoskeletons #Prosthetics

Thomas Menard

#AndroidDevelopment #DataCollection #DataAnalysis #UI #UX

Leo-Scott Macke

#Mechatronics #Mechanics