Early Stage Researchers

Marilù Casini


Marilù Casini obtained her MSc in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technologies at the University of Florence (Italy)
in 2019. During her one-year long master’s internship, she performed an electrophysiological characterisation of hiPSC-CMs derived from healthy donor and patient with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. To further deepen her knowledge in this field, she decided to pursue an Erasmus+ internship at the University of Göttingen (Germany), where she worked with human tissue engineered models from hiPSC-CMs. During these years she also grown an interest in science communication to maximise the social impact of the research and promote scientific vocations.
Currently, Marilù is working at the Health Research Institute Hospital La Fe (IIS La Fe) in Valencia (Spain) as part of the PersonalizeAF network researching patient biomarkers that can predict drug response and plan a personalized AF therapy.




Goals and expectations in PersonalizeAF:

“Scientific research and science communication have always been one of my principals aims regarding my future. For this reason, the possibility to work in an innovative multinational, multi-sectorial, and multidisciplinary research project trills me. I am really looking forward to share ideas and knowledge with all the ESRs and researcher of the consortium. I strongly believe that stem cell research can contribute to better understand cardiac diseases, especially if merged with computer modelling. I will put all my passion and strength to ensure that my work will influence the quality of patient helping physician to decide a better therapeutic solution”.

María del Carmen Martínez Antón


Carmen obtained her BSc in Biomedical Engineering at the Universitat Politècnica de València (Spain) in 2017.
After an Erasmus period of 6 months in Graz (Austria) in order to conduct the Bachelor Thesis, she came back to
her native town, Zaragoza. There, she continued her studies also in the biomedical engineering field, where she
got her MSc degree. In the last years of her studies, she started to develop interest in the research field of
biomedical signal processing. After the master thesis, she had the opportunity to continue working as a Research
Assistant at the Biomedical Signal Interpretation and Computational Simulation group (BSICoS) of the I3A
institute in Zaragoza. Currently, she is working at the Institut für Biomedizinische Technik (IBT) at the Karlsruher
Institut für Tecchnologie (KIT) in Karlsruhe as part of the PersonalizeAF network. Her research in this new project
will be focused on characterizing areas of fibrosis and scar by means of changes in conductivity.




Goals and expectations in PersonalizeAF:

I’m really looking forward to taking part of the PersonalizeAF network. Being part of this project allows us to work and collaborate with several important and well-recognized institutions from different points of view, such as research, industrial, and clinician. Although I strongly believe this is a really challenging project, I am committed to dedicate myself to this PhD and I will do my best to contribute improving atrial fibrillation diagnosis and treatment. During my PhD project I expect not only to gain more confidence about working in a multidisciplinary environment, but also to acquire a deeper knowledge to achieve a successful research career. For this reason, I am very glad with the idea of collaborating with other ESRs and explore our backgrounds and cultures in this long-term adventure.

Eric Invers Rubio


Eric obtained his BSc in Biomedical Engineering in Universitat de Barcelona in 2017, and two years later, in 2019, he got his MSc in Biomedical Engineering focused in Radiology and Medical Imaging in Belgium, in Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Universiteit Gent. During his student years, he was able to participate in several research projects involving medical imaging data and radiology departments, such as during his MSc internship in Lima, Peru, and his MSc thesis in Brussels, Belgium, where he could learn about machine learning processes to perform image data analysis to quantify pulmonary ventilation in animal experiments. Nowadays, he is part of the Personalize AF network in Institut d’Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer in Barcelona, Spain. During his years as part of this network, he hopes to develop a new method to quantify the degree of fibrosis in patients with atrial fibrillation by using MRI images in order to contribute to a better treatment for these patients.





Goals and expectations in PersonalizeAF:

Being a member of the Personalize AF network is stimulating in the sense of being able to work along recognized researchers and learning from them in superb environment and conditions. I expect to develop myself by gaining skills both in my research field and other disciplines related to it. With all of this I hope to make a contribution in the improvement of the treatment of AF patients by using non-invasive techniques. I am looking forward to face the challenges I will come across these years in order to improve professionally and personally, as well as culturally enrich myself, and this is a brilliant opportunity to do so!


Sachal Hussain


Sachal Hussain has obtained his bachelor’s degree in Mechatronics Engineering from the University of Engineering &Technology, Pakistan. He has worked as a
3D printer engineer in a 3D printing service provider firm. Then, to pursue master studies, he went to France where he completed his masters in Biomedical Engineering from Ecole des Mines de Saint Etienne, France. For his masters
thesis, he worked on brain images in a Neuro-imaging lab in CHU hospital, Clermont Ferrand, France.
Currently, he is enrolled as a Ph.D. fellow and at the same time, he is working as an Early Stage Researcher in Alma Mater Studorium Universita Di Bologna Cesena campus, Italy, as part of the PersonalizeAF project.




Goals and expectations in PersonalizeAF:

It is a great honor and pleasure to be a part of the European Marie Skłodowska-Curie International Training Network PersonalizeAF. It gives me an opportunity to
work and collaborate with young researchers at the best labs and industries in Europe.
Being a researcher in PersonalizeAF project, I aim to bring forward a novel approach to segment and register cardiac images to automatically compute the
patient-specific left atrium deformation throughout the cardiac cycle in atrial fibrillation patients which will be helpful to predict clot formation. For this purpose, I will collaborate with different research labs and industries in Germany, Spain, and Norway .

Ozan Fırat Özgül


Ozan Fırat Özgül has obtained his B.Sc. in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Bilkent University (Turkey) and his M.Sc. from the Biomedical Engineering Department of KU Leuven (Belgium). His research interests lie primarily in biomedical signal processing and application of machine learning on biological data. Currently, he is working towards a Ph.D. at the Physiology Department of Maastricht University as a part of the PersonalizeAF program. During his doctoral studies, Ozan will develop a software package for non-invasive and personalized assessment of AF substrate complexity and long-term treatment outcome prediction. He is hoping to contribute to the Personalize AF project by proposing solutions to
challenging signal processing problems related to both invasive and non-invasive AF monitoring.

Goals and expectations in PersonalizeAF:

It is a great privilege to be a member of the PersonalizeAF community which brings scientists from distinct but complementary domains together for a better understanding of atrial fibrillation and improving treatment strategies. The interdisciplinary structure of the
program enables viewing atrial fibrillation from all angles. This is a great opportunity to
interact with other scientists and comprehend domain-wide problems and solution

During my doctoral studies, I expect to provide solutions to challenging atrial fibrillation- related signal processing problems mainly related to non-invasive monitoring and wave mapping. I am also anticipating to equip myself with all the required skills for an academic career path with the help of the PersonalizeAF program’s self-improvement opportunities including summer schools and research activities

Teresa Schiatti


Teresa Schiatti received her B.Sc. degree in Biomedical Engineering in 2018 from Padova University (Italy) and her M.Sc. degree in Cell and Tissue Engineering in 2020 from Keele University (UK). Her research interests are the overlapping issues between engineering and medicine in the cardiac field. She contributed to the development of a physical model for integrating optoelectronic scaffolds with optogenetics to investigate their effects on human stem cell-derived cardiomyocyte functionality. She is currently part of the Personalize AF network at the Institute for Experimental Cardiovascular Medicine in Freiburg (Germany). During the course of her project, she will investigate the functional heterocellular coupling between cardiomyocytes and fibroblasts in the context of atrial fibrillation. She hopes her work will contribute to finding new therapeutic strategies, and, eventually, translate interdisciplinary research into the clinical setting.




Goals and expectations in PersonalizeAF:

I am thrilled to be part of Personalize AF network as it gives me the opportunity to collaborate with other researchers towards the same goal of improving the treatment for atrial fibrillation. During as well as after my Ph.D., I expect to contribute to advancing the field, by gaining more interdisciplinary knowledge as well as applying different facets of my background. Although I believe this to be a challenging project, I feel to be part of something bigger than myself, which can eventually make a difference in cardiac medicine. For this reason, I am looking forward to diving into this culturally and academically captivating adventure!

Cristian Barrios Espinosa


Cristian did a 5-year degree in Theoretical Mathematics at Universidad Sergio Arboleda in 2011 in Colombia. Later, he obtained his 6-year degree in Medicine at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in 2014 also in Colombia.
Afterwards he worked for 3 and a half years at a health center of the Colombian Red Cross in Bogota. In 2018, he
won a full scholarship to study a master’s degree in Systems Biology at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. In this master, he learned to apply mathematical theories and computational methods to solve medical research questions. In his master thesis, he developed a patient-level Markov model to assess risk factors and clinical outcomes of atrial fibrillation.   
Currently, he is part of the Personalize AF project at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. He will develop a reentrant reaction-Eikonal model of atrial fibrillation to assess arrhythmogenicity in different patterns of fibrosis




Goals and expectations in PersonalizeAF:

I am particularly excited about working in a multidisciplinary environment in the consortium of Personalize AF. At the same time, I am very lucky to be surrounded by experts in the field at KIT. Under these circumstances, I am looking forward to transforming my previously acquired knowledge to great contributions in science guided by my supervisors. Moreover, I am delighted with the idea of collaborating with other ESRs with different academic and professional backgrounds. I believe they will provide invaluable insights into my work.

Thomas Hutschalik


Thomas obtained his B.Sc. in Medical Engineering and M.Sc. in Biomedical Technologies from the University of Tübingen. Originally from Germany, he has had the opportunity to work at various international institutions during his career including the Tokyo Institute of Technology and the European Commissions Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety in Brussels. He most recently engaged in developing novel, high-throughput Organ-on-a-Chip systems used to advance pharmaceutical R&D and personalized medicine. His research focus has been utilizing his broad background in biomedicine and engineering to work on creative solutions for medical problems.

Thomas has joined PersonalizeAF working as a Ph.D. student at Ncardia in Leiden (NL) and is currently researching atrial cardiomyocytes derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells to be used as an in vitro disease model of atrial fibrillation.




Goals and expectations in PersonalizeAF:

I look forward to working collaboratively, combining diverse fields like computer modelling, engineering and biomedicine to better our understanding and treatment of atrial fibrillation (AF). Contributing from the cell based side of the project, I aim to develop a reliable in vitro model to help research AF in general and by using human induced pluripotent stem cells open up the possibility for patient-specific approaches.

I hope to give my personal contribution in tackling AF as part of the PersonalizeAF ESRs, wherein I am especially excited to bridge the gap from academic research to industry implementation and work to connect private and public sector for patient benefit.

Albert Dasí i Martínez


Albert conducted a Master Thesis at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), subsequent to his degree in Biomedical Engineering by the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV), and his Master’s degree in the same specialty by the same University. At the beginning of his third year of College he took part in a program called approach to be trained in the Computational Research Group at the Centre for Research and Innovation in Bioengineering (Ci2B). He collaborated at the Ci2B during his fourth year of college as part of a “Collaboration fellowship” granted by the Education Ministry.  

To ensure a deeper knowledge in computational cardiology, he moved to Karlsruhe, Germany, to conduct his Master’s Thesis in the Cardiac Modelling Group at KIT.  Albert has recently joined the Computational Cardiovascular Science Team at Oxford University after a three-year experience in different research groups specialized in cardiac modelling to gain more knowledge in such a fascinating field. 




Goals and expectations in PersonalizeAF:

It is hard to put into words what being part of the PersonalizeAF network means. During my undergraduate and master studies, I had the incredible opportunity to learn from highly skilled professionals from two leading universities involved in this project. Hence, I could not have imagined a better scenario than joining the Cardiovascular Science Team at Oxford University, a third different research group, to tackle atrial fibrillation (AF) through computational modelling.  

During my DPhil studies, I aim to shed light on the underlying mechanisms of AF and unravel the molecular and cellular pathogenesis of this complex disease.   Not only will I be trained by a pioneering research team, but also, I will collaborate with other ESRs and colleagues in what, in my view, is a fascinating way of sharing knowledge around the globe. That being said, please allow me to express how eagerly I am looking forward to beginning this experience. 

Narimane Gassa


Back in 2019, Narimane obtained her engineering degree in scientific computation and data sciences at the National Engineering School of Tunis in Tunisia. During her student years she has been introduced to both modeling and numerics, covering several aspects of computational mathematics. As she was mainly interested in the application of machine learning in medicine, she had a particularly intriguing internship at the French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation (INRIA) in France where she worked on various statistical methods to define an effective target for deep brain stimulation.

Narimane has joined PersonalizeAF as a Ph.D student at University of Bordeaux where she will be working on developing new methods of diagnosis and prognosis of atrial arrhythmia.



Goals and expectations in PersonalizeAF:

I’m looking forward to taking part of the european project PerosnalizeAF with great excitement as I will be able to work and collaborate with distinguished researchers, clinicians and professionals.

I would love to dedicate myself with commitment to this challenging project and I hope that I will contribute the best way I can to improve atrial fibrillation diagnosis and treatment.

By the end of my Ph.D I expect to develop myself by gaining more knowledge and insight into cardiology and I will have grown not only professionally but also personally as it’s an amazing opportunity to meet people with different backgrounds and explore new cultures.



Carlos Fambuena Santos


Carlos obtained his BSc in biomedical engineering at the Universitat Poliècnica de València (Spain) in 2017. Then, he moved to the Netheterlands to continue his studies also in
biomedical engineering at the University of Twente (The Netherlands) where he got his MSc degree. During his years as a student, he developed interest in different research fields like biomedical signal processing, machine learning and medical robotics. He also had the chance
to participate in projects related to all these disciplines like his bachelor thesis at the Bioelectronic group (GBIO) of the I3B institute and his MSc internship at the Biorobotics lab of the University of Delft. Currently, he is working at the Information and Communications Technologies Institute at the Universitat Poliècnica de València as part of the PersonalizeAF network. His research in this new stage will be focused on develop reliable post-processing algorithms to identify atrial fibrillation drivers in ECGI.



Goals and expectations in PersonalizeAF:

Being part of the PersonalizeAF network is a new and exciting challenge that I am very glad to face. This project provides the opportunity to work collaboratively in a very enriching community of scientist coming from different fields and countries and pushing all together to get better diagnosis techniques and treatments for atrial fibrillation.
During my PhD I expect to bring a bit closer ECGI to the clinical practice, gaining new knowledge in the field and all the tools necessary to have a successful research career. This is why, in spite of all the difficulties that I will be finding in the way, I am really looking forward to
starting this new professional and personal adventure

Lourdes Patricia Martínez Díaz


Patricia obtained her B.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (Mexico). From the beginning of her professional career Patricia showed a special interest in the area of cardiology and right after graduation she started working in the field of cardiovascular devices. She did a research Internship at the Instituto Nacional de Cardiología Ignacio Chávez (Mexico) in the department of Electromechanical Instrumentation where she worked in the area of ECG signal analysis. 

Last year she obtained her Master’s degree in Computational Medicine at the University of Sheffield (UK). Patricia has recently joined the Cardiac Modelling group
at the Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (Germany) as a PhD student, as part of the Personalize AF network . Her research project focuses on the integration of clinical data
measured in the electrophysiology laboratory into a patient-specific model of the atria to simulate and evaluate different ablation patterns that could potentially stop atrial fibrillation.




Goals and expectations in PersonalizeAF:

“My main driver to complete a PhD within the European Marie Skłodowska-CurieInternational Training Network PersonalizeAF is to contribute to the field of computational cardiology and address the growing demand for quantitative methods to understand atrial
fibrillation, as well as to help reduce the translational barriers of in-silico methods. 

I strongly believe that personalised models and computer simulations will provide useful insights for planning atrial fibrillation ablation, help reduce procedure times and decrease re-intervention rates. My goal is that my work, in collaboration with other researchers, has
the potential to positively influence the quality of life of patients and can contribute to
helping physicians provide better therapeutic solutions”.

Sergio Gadur Nabil


Sergio Nabil Gadur graduated with a B.Sc. degree in Nuclear Engineering in 2017 at the Balseiro Institute – University of Cuyo (Argentina) and his M.Sc. degree in Engineering in 2019 at the Balseiro Institute – University of Cuyo (Argentina). Both of these theses were carried out at the Computational Mechanics Department of the Bariloche Atomic Centre (Argentina). His investigations were based on open source codes development using numerical techniques such as Finite Element (FEM), scientific computing and Fluid Mechanics. He simulated Fluid Structure Interaction (FSI) problems in which passive safety devices were immersed in nuclear reactors.

Currently, he is working at Simula (Norway). He is a Ph.D. student at the Physiology Department of the University of Oslo, and he is part of the PersonalizeAF program. His research interests are primarily focused on applying CFD to biophysical systems, and, investigating non-intuitive post-processing techniques using convolutional Neural Networks (NN) in medicine.




Goals and expectations in PersonalizeAF:

“It is a pleasure to be part of a multidisciplinary European team whose main expectation is to seek medical solutions addressing Atrial Fibrillation disease from different angles. This project represents a great opportunity and challenge to merge my two passions, CFD simulations and biological systems with the aim to give solutions to medical problems. During my years as a PhD student I expect to learn valuable knowledge in Biology in order to deeply understand AF and create more realistic biophysical models to have a better representation of this disease.

My main goal is to successfully finish my PhD program, contributing to the development of
cutting-edge biophysical models reflecting form and function of the left atrium. I consider, that the collaboration among all different parties of this consortium is a vital piece to discovering new possible treatments to enhance the lifestyle of AF patients.”

Victor Gonçalves Marques


Victor G. Marques has a B.Sc. / M.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering from the Federal University of ABC (Brazil). His Master’s work, financed by a grant from the São Paulo Research Foundation, was focused on the characterization of atrial arrhythmias, especially atrial fibrillation, from a non-invasive perspective. Currently, he is enrolled as a Ph.D. student at Maastricht University, in the Netherlands, as part of the Personalize AF project, where he works with computer modeling of the heart and signal processing of atrial fibrillation. His main research interests are applying computational techniques to help enlighten the mechanisms driving cardiac arrhythmias, improving their diagnosis, and, eventually, leading to better therapeutic strategies


Goals and expectations in PersonalizeAF:

I am very excited to be a part of the PersonalizeAF project, which joins the efforts of some of the most relevant researchers and institutes in the field towards a common goal to improve the treatment of atrial fibrillation.

I expect to contribute to this goal with my project, improving the current knowledge of the arrhythmia and ablation strategies by using computer models and signal analysis. I also hope to develop myself personally and professionally during my Ph.D., enabling me to continue in this career path after the conclusion of the project and to continue my contributions to the scientific community.

Alexander Lacki


Alexander obtained his B.Sc. in Mechatronics Engineering from AGH University of Science and Technology in Poland. He went on to receive an M.Sc. in Artificial Intelligence from Universidad Politecnica de Madrid in Spain. Alexander has consistently participated in medically motivated research projects, such as the investigation of material properties of biological tissue, the evaluation of public transport behavior of senior citizens, as well as the monitoring of automobile passengers for motion sickness. Within the PersonalizeAF project, Alexander will stratify atrial fibrillation patients based on atrial-specific markers, as well as develop a decision support system enabling a more personalized treatment.



Goals and expectations in PersonalizeAF:


Having circled the medical field in previous projects, I am beyond excited to dive into the world of cardiology and apply the technical knowledge I have acquired in recent years to an endeavor with substantial implication for the wellbeing of patients.

 I am certain that our diverse team of PhD students can make a considerable contribution in field, especially when combined with the expetise of our supervisors.With my participation in the PersonalizeAF project I hope to further develop my skills in artificial intelligence, the application of black-box systems in high stake environments, as well as decision support systems, while working in a culturally enriching environment.