Junior researchers and PhD Students
Raül Acosta Suné obtained his Masterâs degree in Industrial Engineering, with a specialization in mechanics, at the Universitat PolitÃ¨cnica 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 Hussein 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.
Tim Balcaen Tim obtained his BSc degree in Biochemistry and Biotechnology at the KU Leuven in 2017. Being more attracted towards the chemical aspects of biology, he decided to perform a MSc in Chemistry and obtained his degree in 2019. During this master he spend five months at the Freie UniversitÃ¤t Berlin as an Erasmus student. For his master thesis, he joined the De Borggraeve lab and investigated novel methodology for the synthesis of indenones starting from propynones using photoredox chemistry and radical chemistry. His passion for both chemistry and biochemistry is reflected in the subject of his PhD studies. Tim develops novel contrast-enhancing staining agents for the non-destructive ex vivo visualisation of soft tissues using computed tomography. In particular, he focuses on the development and fundamental evaluation of known and new contrast-enhancing staining agents.
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.
Victor Colognesi is working on the numerical simulation of bird flight. The flight kinematics is obtained via an optimization of the birdâs movement in order to reach an optimal flight regime considering both biomechanical and aerodynamic factors. This study will lead to a deeper understanding of the principles underlying avian flight and might lead to the discovering of flight regimes different from those of actual birds, if we use different mechanical properties for the compliance and actuation of the skeleton. The obtained mechanical and aerodynamic models can then be used to perform simulations of a flock of birds and to investigate the self-organization of such a group in order to reach a global optimum in efficiency.
Christophe De Gréef obtained his Master's degree in electromechanical engineering at the UniversitÃ© 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 received the Masterâs 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 received the Masterâs degree in electromechanical engineering from the UniversitÃ© 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 UniversitÃ© 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.
Simon Hinnekens obtained his Masterâs degree in Mechanical Engineering from the UniversitÃ© 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 obtained his master's degree in electro-mechanical engineering, with a specialization in mechatronics, in 2018 from the UniversitÃ© 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 received her master's degree in Electro-mechanical engineering in 2014 from the UniversitÃ© 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 obtained her Masterâs 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 and Pr. Pascal Jacques.
Virginie Otlet obtained her Masterâs degree in Biomedical Engineering in 2019 from the UniversitÃ© 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 Parkinsonâs disease, provided to the patientâs hips through a wearable pelvis orthosis. This project aims at assessing the assistive and rehabilitative effects of the protocol on the patientâs gait. Therefore, several gait metrics will be analysed both during and after the therapy.
Eduardo Rene Vasquez Mayen Eduardo Vasquez obtained his Master's degree in electrical engineering ,with specialization in electrical energy, from the UniversitÃ© catholique de Louvain (UCL) in 2020. From then on, he joined the MEED division and is working on the control of DC microgrids in the frame of the project MIRaCCLE.
Senior researchers and post-docs
Xavier Bollen obtained his master's degree in electromechanical engineering, with specialization in mechatronics in 2011 from the UniversitÃ© catholique de Louvain (UCL), Belgium. In 2016, he obtained his PhD degree from the UCL.
During his thesis, under the supervision of Pr. BenoÃ®t 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 obtained is master in Mechanical Engineering in 2005 from the UniversitÃ© 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, UniversitÃ© 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.
François Heremans obtained his master in Electromechanical Engineering at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) in 2015 and then started a PhD with iMMC/MEED/Louvain Bionics on the design of energy efficient prostheses.
Nature has evolved over millions of years to achieve the highly efficient and powerful "machine" that we are. Understanding and replicating the human body is a fascinating and definitely a challenging task. Our research focuses on the development of a lower limb, transfemoral prosthesis for amputees. The use of smart materials is combined with advanced mechatronics to produce a novel device being light, energy efficient and highly performing. The ultimate goal is to help patients regaining normal mobility in daily life activities.
Virginie Kluyskens Virginie Kluyskens obtained her master in Electro-mechanical Engineering in 2004 from the UniversitÃ© 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. She is also involved in the TR2020 project, to develop optimal magnetic gearing systems and synchronous reluctance motors for traction applications.
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 received the electromechanical engineering Master and Ph.D. degrees from the UniversitÃ© catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain) in 2016 and 2020 respectively. Since then, he is a research fellow in the department of Mechatronic, Electrical Energy, and Dynamic Systems (MEED). His research interests include self-bearing machines, magnetic bearings and, generally, electromechanical converters and actuators.