Dr. Martin Ferguson-Pell, PhD, C.Phys.

Dr. Ferguson-Pell is a biomedical engineer and credentialed clinical scientist. He has dedicated his academic career to the study of secondary complications of physical disability and studying underlying causes to reduce their incidence. He designed and developed a new Rehabilitation Robotics Laboratory in the Edmonton Clinic Health Academy and uses virtual reality systems to simulate the biomechanical and physiological conditions faced by long-term wheelchair users and elite wheelchair athletes. This work includes the development of a novel approach to analyzing EMG from upper extremities and shoulders using wavelet + principal component analysis integrated into an FPGA system. The system can identify and measure, in real time, muscle fatigue and changes in muscle recruitment patterns. He also has an active research program through an AIHS Smart Neuro-prosthetics Team Grant for the detection of deep tissue injury using non-invasive spectroscopic methods. He uses both visible and infra-red spectroscopy, including Raman spectroscopy, and also ultrasonic elastography to measure changes in tissues associated with prolonged ischemia and the early onset of deep tissue damage.

His research team is creating a living laboratory network to study the role technologies can play in community care, particularly for vulnerable seniors. At present this work is being undertaken in partnership with Telus Health Solutions and is supported by both Telus and a substantial grant to support graduate students and post-docs through the federally-funded Mitacs program.

Previously Ferguson-Pell was appointed in 1995 as founding ASPIRE Chair in Neuromuscular Restoration and Rehabilitation (Disability and Technology) at the Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Science at University College London. He was also Director of Research for the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (NHS Trust). He held these positions from 1995-2007. Prior to this appointment he was Director of the Center for Rehabilitation Technology, a centre he created at New York State’s Helen Hayes Hospital, which integrated research, education and clinical services for people with complex disabilities.

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