Martin Ferguson-Pell


Martin Ferguson-Pell completed a BSc in physics at Exeter University in UK and then a PhD in biomedical engineering at the University of Strathclyde, where he subsequently was appointed lecturer for 5 years. He was appointed as a Research Scientist in Rehabilitation Engineering at Helen Hayes Hospital. He was appointed Founding ASPIRE Chair in Neuromuscular Restoration and Rehabilitation (Disability and Technology) at University College London, Institute of Orthopaedics. He was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine at University of Alberta in Canada. He also leads the Alberta Bone and Joint Health Institute as Executive Director. From 2011 -2018 he held a range of senior administrative positions at University of Alberta and has now resumed his research and academic interests. He has dedicated his academic career to the application of technologies for people with physical disabilities, studying underlying causes of secondary complications and ways to reduce their incidence. He designed and developed the Rehabilitation Robotics Laboratory at University of Alberta where he uses advanced technologies to simulate the biomechanical and physiological conditions faced by long-term wheelchair users and elite wheelchair athletes. His research team is also advancing methods for delivering assessments and treatments using tele-rehabilitation, extending the scope of care that can be delivered remotely using advanced IT systems and advanced, easy to use sensor systems. His team in the Rehabilitation Robotics Laboratory have also established a sophisticated extended reality (XR) development program that is advancing the integration of AI into XR simulations. Much of the focus of the program is on the creation of interactive, complex simulations in healthcare. As a result of this program it has become apparent that a platform is needed that bridges academic expertise in XR development with the means to distribute and promote adoption of XR in post secondary education. He has founded a not-for-profit (ELIXR Simulations Association), comprising a collaborative partnership between 11 post-secondary institutions in Alberta. ELIXR is taking on the challenge of ensuring that XR is used effectively in training and education where complex simulations and 3D constructs represent particular challenges for learners. An additional component of ELIXR is the development of a skilled workforce in XR. ELIXR has established a Protege Program that prepares students for XR careers and in the process of doing so they undertake teamwork that develops XR simulations that are designed for social impact. Building upon his experience in musculoskeletal research he is also Executive Director of Alberta Bone and Joint Health Institute, a not-for-profit established in 2005 to advance the delivery of care in Alberta for patients with bone and joint health conditions. This is achieved through an independent quality management program and program management and independent evaluation of transformations to the health system in the bone and joint health domain.

Centre: University of Alberta

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