Junior researchers / PhD students

Raül Acosta Suñé

Raül Acosta Suñé obtained his Master’s degree in Industrial Engineering, with a specialization in mechanics, at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) in 2017, Barcelona. At the end of his degree, he did his mater thesis at UCLouvain as part of the WholeTrack industrial project. In 2019, he returned to Belgium to join the MEED department as a junior researcher for the CRAMIC project, a MecaTech program  funded by the Walloon Region and integrated by 4 partners whose aim is to develop a new technology for the rail tracks of cranes used in international ports.

Nowadays, the cranes of the ports are assumed to be static or cyclical but, because of the increases in speed and loads, they are becoming more and more dynamic. As a result, wear on the rail tracks is increasing and they are becoming insufficiently controlled. As one of the partners of CRAMIC global project, through multibody and granular analysis of the system crane-railway, we focus on identifying and studying the present dynamic effects, participating in developing new track technologies and helping monitoring cranes to organize a future maintenance.

Ali Al-Dabbagh

Ali Al-Dabbagh received his Bachelor degree in Electrical Engineering from University of Kufa in Iraq in 2010; he received Master degree in Electronic Engineering from Flinders University in Australia in 2015. His research interests are Robotics and Computer vision. He has some publications in people detection. From 2015 to 2019, he was working as assistant lecturer and a researcher in University of Kufa; currently, he is a PhD student at UCL working on prosthesis intent detection using active vision.

Caroline Bernier

Caroline Bernier is working on a project in between Robotics and Fluid Mechanics that aims at the design of robust and efficient biomimetic swimming agents. The approach used to tackle the problem distinguishes itself from a broad body of work by a unique combination of multi-disciplinary tools: (i) high-fidelity Computational Fluid Dynamics to simulate self-propelled swimmers; (ii) compliant actuators to generate energy-efficient force-controlled patterns; (iii) oscillator-based coordination to distribute the computational load within a biologically inspired controller; and (iv) advanced optimization algorithm to calibrate the control schemes for a large variety of gaits. Different and complementary swimming gaits will be investigated, like energy-efficient or fast. Using compliant actuators will allow the swimmer to sense the fluid reactions being useful for its propulsion and exploit energy storage in the elastic deformations of the actuator.

Maverick Bleuse 

Maverick Bleuse obtained his Master's degree in Cardiovascular and Bone Physiopathology at the University Picardie Jules Vernes (Amiens) in 2019. He started a joint Phd at the UCLouvain (group of Prof. Greet Kerckhofs) and the University of Lille (France) in November 2019. His research focuses on the microstructural and compositional evolution of the subchrondal bone unit during normal and therapeutically treated osteoarthritis. The use of microCT and contrast-enhanced microCT is an innovative and promising technique in this field of research.


Guillaume Colinet



Victor Colognesi 



Christophe De Gréef 

Christophe De Gréef obtained his Master's degree in electromechanical engineering at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) in 2017. Since then, he is invovled as PhD student in a industrial research project funded by the Region Wallonne. This latter aims at improving the efficiency of the powertrain of railway vehicles by replacing the induction machines by synchronous reluctance machines and the mechanical gears by magnetic gears. Christophe is contributing to this project by providing new modeling and optimization tools to ensure the optimal design of these elements.

Gianmarco Ducci 

Gianmarco Ducci received the Master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Pisa.  In September 2018, he joined the MEED division as a PhD student within the RevealFlight ARC consortium.  RevelFlight is a multi-disciplinary project that aims to synthesize the flight mechanics of birds into a unified framework, combining biomechanical, sensory, aerodynamic and social interaction models, in order to reproduce the flying gaits and the interactions within a flock.

His research focuses on the development of both, analytical and numerical model to study the flight dynamics of flapping wing, at the scale of migratory birds.  Those models will also be employed to address the bird flight behavior within the flock.

 Guillaume François 

Guillaume François received the Master’s degree in electromechanical engineering from the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL), and graduated with a degree of Engineering from the Ecole Centrale Paris in 2017. He also owns a Bachelor's degree in applied economics from the Université Paris Dauphine, obtained in 2015. From then on, he joined the MEED division as a PhD student under the supervision of Prof. Bruno Dehez.

His research focuses on the development of high performance linear actuators, taking benefit of the PCB technology in order to build winding topologies and geometries not feasible with the classical wire technology. In that perspective, his research involves the development of new tools to optimally design such linear actuators, based on multiphysics models able to predict their behaviour.

Sophie Heins 

Sophie Heins obtained her master's degree in Biomedical Engineering in 2013 from the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL), Belgium. She then spent a year at Sopra Banking Software, where she was a Junior IT Consultant. She started to work as a research assistant in September 2014 on the CYBERLEGs project, which was then followed up by the CYBERLEGs Plus Plus project. With the support of the Biobank of Wallonia Brussels, she also worked part time as an IT Project Leader at UCL-Saint Luc and UCL-Mont Godinne from 2015 to 2017, in close collaboration with the biobank managers. In 2016 and 2017, she was also involved in the ROBiGAME project, aiming to develop an auto-adaptive serious game for the robotic, upper-limb rehabilitation of patients with brain damage.

The aim of her PhD thesis is to develop a bio-inspired controller for a new generation of transfemoral prostheses, for level-ground walking and for other locomotion tasks. More precisely, the controller is based on three fundamental neuro-mechanical principles that were observed in healthy humans: motor primitives, local reflexes and postural support. This work also involves the investigation of the optimal combination of these bio-inspired strategies.

Simon Hinnekens

Simon Hinnekens obtained his Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain, Belgium) in 2018. He then joined the iMMC institute to start his PhD in biomechanics under the supervision of Pr. Paul Fisette (UCL/MEED) and Pr. Christine Detrembleur (UCL/IREC).

The aim of his PhD is to determine the strength of human back and core muscles in movement, using a biomechanical model coupled with non-invasive electromyographic measurements. This project aims at improving current treatments in spine diseases, such as lower back pain, spondylitis and scoliosis.

Henri Laloyaux 

Henri Laloyaux obtained his master's degree in electro-mechanical engineering, with a specialization in mechatronics, in 2018 from the Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium.  He then joined the MEED division to start a PhD in rehabilitation robotics under the supervision of Prof. Renaud Ronsse.

 Caroline Leroi 

Caroline Leroi received her master's degree in Electro-mechanical engineering in 2014 from the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL), Belgium. She started to work as a research and teaching assistant in January 2015. From then until September 2016, she worked on a research project about small wind turbines for the industrial energy group Engie in collaboration with UMons. She began a PhD thesis under the supervision of Prof. Emmanuel De Jaeger in October 2016. The aim of her PhD thesis is to contribute to a better understanding of the origin, the propagation and the consequences of conducted disturbances in the frequency range 2-150 kHz. This work involves the development of models for grid components (LV cables, MV-LV transformer) and HF disturbances sources (solar panels, wind turbines, Electric Vehicle battery chargers,..) but also the determination of typical impedance levels.

Lisa Leyssens 

Lisa Leyssens obtained her Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from the UCLouvain in 2018. She then joined the MEED division of iMMC to start her PhD under the supervision of Pr. Greet Kerckhofs.

Her project involves the use of microfocus X-ray computed tomography (microCT) for the analysis of the (i) 3D morphology and in vitro/in vivo corrosion behavior, (ii) dynamical mechanical properties and (iii) in vivo behavior (i.e. tissue ingrowth) of biodegradable metallic intravascular stents. These stents are biocompatible, expandable tube-like materials that are applied for opening up narrowed arteries in the body. So far, they have mostly been produced from non-degradable metals because of their good mechanical properties, but there is more and more interest in biodegradable metallic stents.

For optimized design of this type of stents, a detailed characterization of their functional behavior is necessary. The goal of Lisa’s research is first to develop and further optimize novel advanced microCT-based characterization techniques, and then to apply them to improve the understanding of the effect of a change in the alloy composition on the structural and functional behavior of the stents. This improved functional characterization will allow a more accurate and profound assessment of the potential clinical use of the biodegradable metallic stents and will provide input for more intelligent and robust stent design.

Emile Moreau 



Virginie Otlet

Virginie Otlet obtained her Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering in 2019 from the Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain, Belgium). She then started a PhD in medical robotics at the iMMC institute under the supervision of Prof. Renaud Ronsse.

The goal of her PhD is to develop and validate a haptic assistive method in order to support walking in patients with Parkinson’s disease, provided to the patient’s hips through a wearable pelvis orthosis. This project aims at assessing the assistive and rehabilitative effects of the protocol on the patient’s gait. Therefore, several gait metrics will be analysed both during and after the therapy.

Camille Pestiaux



 Sébastien Timmermans

Sébastien Timmermans obtained his master in Electromechanical Engineering at the University catholique de Louvain (UCL) in 2017 and then he joined iMMC/Meed to start his PhD and research activities about the development of an haptic keyboard for digital pianos.

The touch of a piano keyboard is an essential sensory information for pianists and results from the dynamics of the actions equipping traditional acoustic pianos. Present-day digital instruments offer the possibility of nuancing sound thanks to certain dynamics which imitates that of a traditional piano, but which is far from reproducing the finessed required by pianists.

His project aims at developing a haptic feedback device for digital keyboards, based on (i) multibody models of piano actions using Robotran software, (ii) the use of movement sensors and high dynamic actuators (iii) the study of the phenomenon of touch, with our partners in musicology (the Museum of Musical Instruments of Brussels and the Museum of Philharmonic Music of Paris).

 Joachim Van Verdeghem 

Joachim Van Verdeghem received the electromechanical engineering degree in 2016 from the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL), Belgium. From then on, he joined the MEED division as Ph. D. student. His research focuses on magnetic electrodynamic bearings as well as self-bearing machines. More precisely, he is working on the development of a new type of passively levitated self-bearing motors within which both the driving and axial guidance functions are integrated in a single winding. His main purposes are to design new topologies of such a machine, to derive models allowing us to study the six degrees of freedom of the rotor and to optimize the performance on the basis of key criteria that have to be defined. In addition, several prototypes will be constructed to demonstrate the feasibility of this new machine as well as to validate the dynamic models.

Nicolas Verbeek



Guy Wanlongo Ndiwulu 

Guy Wanlongo Ndiwulu received the Master’s degree in electromechanical engineering, energy, in 2015 from Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL), Belgium. He also MSc Electromechanical Engineering, from Université Kongo, in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Since December 2015, he joined the iMMC/MEED as Ph.D. student. His research focuses on the control and the dynamic operation of islanded microgrids, in African context. The hybrid microgrids are considered. They are composed of multiple and miscellaneous micro-sources (photovoltaic, small hydropower and diesel generator), and energy storage devices such as a battery.  

Senior researchers / Post-docs

Xavier Bollen 

Xavier Bollen obtained his master's degree in electromechanical engineering, with specialization in mechatronics in 2011 from the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL), Belgium. In 2016, he obtained his PhD degree from the UCL. 

During his thesis, under the supervision of Pr. Benoît Raucent and Pr. Parla Astarci (Cliniques universitaires Saint Luc, Brussels), he developed a new device for minimally aortic valve resection. The device was used on patients undergoing open heart surgery in order to validate its design and its functional principle.

Now he still works on the design of the device and he also works on additive manufacturing inside the IMAP department. Since September 2015, he is invited lecturer at the Polytechnic School of Louvain where he teaches technical drawing to the first year bachelor's students in engineering.

 Nicolas Docquier 

Nicolas Docquier obtained is master in Mechanical Engineering in 2005 from the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) and his PhD from the same university in 2010 thanks to a doctoral fellowship of the F.R.S-FNRS. For the last ten years, he has been working on the modelling of multi-body systems (MBS), focusing on applications related to railway and road vehicle dynamics. He participated to many research projects, in collaboration with several industry partners.

In particular, his PhD was dedicated to the modelling of railway vehicles equipped with pneumatic suspensions, in collaboration with a major train manufacturer. In 2014, he did a postdoc stay in Mechanical and Civil Engineering Lab (LMGC, Université de Montpellier, France) where he worked on the coupling between MBS and the Discrete Element Method for modelling interactions between mechanical device and granular media such as the railway ballast.

He is now working on the WholeTrack research project, a Mecatech cluster program funded by the Walloon Region. This project aims at developing new railway track components based on both experimental test and simulation models of the whole railway system. He also coordinates the development of the Robotran software dedicated to MBS.

He is invited lecturer at UCL where he teaches multibody dynamics via a project based approach and at the CIEM  where he introduces railway technologies to students of the specialized master in transport and logistics.

 Virginie Kluyskens

Virginie Kluyskens obtained her master in Electro-mechanical Engineering in 2004 from the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) and her PhD from the same university in 2011.  She has been mainly working on research projects including passive magnetic bearings, for academic research or for research in collaboration with industry partners.

During her PhD, she developed a lumped parameter model, in which the electromagnetic forces acting inside an electrodynamic bearing are modelled by their mechanical equivalents.  This model is particularly well suited to centering homopolar electrodynamic bearings in which the magnetic field presents a rotational symmetry.  After her PhD, she collaborated to research projects enlarging the topic to heteropolar centering electrodynamic bearings (characterized by a magnetic field presenting numerous poles along the rotation), to thrust electrodynamic bearings, and to self-bearing motors including an electrodynamic bearing.

She is now working on the Ecoptine project, aimed to develop a flywheel energy storage system for railway systems, and more particularly on the design of the permanent magnet bearing which will be included in the system.  

 Olivier Lantsoght 



Gennaro Vitucci

Gennaro Vitucci has an undergraduate background in Structural Engineering at Polytechnic of Bari, Italy. In 2018, he completed a PhD in Applied Mathematics at Aberystywth University, United Kingdom, in the framework of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie action Cermat2. His experience spans over various fields of mechanics. He co-authored publications in computational science, analytical modelling, fracture and tissue mechanics.

In 2018, Gennaro arrived at MEED for joining the project RevealFlight as postdoc. The purpose of this ongoing research activity is explaining complex phenomena related to the collective flight of birds, particularly organization and efficiency gains during long migrations. The research locates at the interface between fluid mechanics, biomechanics and multi-agent systems. Gennaro’s role in the team is developing reductionist models for aerial locomotion which can be used in simulations of flocks.

Visiting researchers