UCL Division of Surgery and Interventional Science


Aspire Create

Our work is to improve the quality of life of people with spinal cord injuries. The Centre for Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology (Aspire CREATE) is an exciting joint research venture between UCL, the Aspire Charity, and the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore.

Our work

Set up in 2014, Aspire CREATE develops translational research to improve the quality of life of people with spinal cord injuries (SCIs). We investigate techniques that are applicable and transferable between different domains in related areas of interest. These include, but are not limited to:

  • spinal cord and nerve injury
  • stroke
  • muscular dystrophy
  • amputation
  • ageing populations
  • training of specialised skills (e.g., surgical).

We regularly invite school students to test our projects and get involved in the science. This is one of our favourite engagement activities. The students learn a lot, and our team learns from them too.

Research themes

Would you like to participate in our research?

Our work could not happen without volunteers. We often run studies with patients and members of the public. (You do not need to be a local patient.) If you are interested, let us know.

If you want to be informed of our studies, send a blank email to aspire-create-research-join@ucl.ac.uk. Anyone on the UCL network can subscribe via the mailing list homepage.

Our facilities

Academic holds up child to view a rubber duck on a laptop screen

A user in a smart wheelchair, while another person views a screen.

A volunteer is wired up to a robotic arm in a staging area

Our people

Rui Loureiro

Head: Prof. Rui Loureiro

Tom Carlson

Prof. Tom Carlson

Lynsey Duffell

Dr Lynsey Duffell

Sara Ghoreishizadeh

Dr Sara Ghoreishizadeh

Roundel icon of a silhouette in grey

Dr Steve Taylor

Hubin Zhao

Dr Hubin Zhao

Anne Vanhoestenberghe

Dr Anne Vanhoestenberghe (2014-2022)


Research Associates

Former associates

  • Dr Fjodors Tjulkins | Postdoc, 2017-2018
  • Dr Henry Lancashire | Postdoc, 2017-2018
  • Dr Alireza Rastegarpanah | Postdoc, 2017-2018
  • Dr Michael Mentink | Postdoc, 2015-2017
PhD students

Former PhD students

  • Dr Chinemelu Ezeh | PhD student, 2014-2018
  • Dr Andrew Symonds | PhD student
Research assistants

Former research assistants

  • Mr Ha Le | Research Assistant, 2014-16
Affiliated researchers
Former students

UCL students

  • Hannah Catherine Campbell | MSc, 2020-21
  • Elisabeth Diane Joyce  | MSc, 2020-21
  • Amber Ruth Kite  | MSc, 2020-21
  • Arnaud Jacques Hervé Lauriau  | MSc, 2020-21
  • Chrysolvalanto Messiou  | MSc, 2020-21
  • Stephanie Anne Stephanie Panousis  | MSc, 2020-21
  • Paporn Chokpitiboon | MSc, 2020-21
  • Jack Evans | MSc, 2020-21
  • Vitella Fomenko | MSc, 2020-21
  • Federico Fries | MSc, 2020-21
  • Chongli Gao | MSc, 2020-21
  • Kukena Esther Kaindama | MSc, 2020-21
  • Alina Khafizova | MSc, 2020-21
  • Paporn Chokpitiboon | MSc, 2020-21
  • Jack Evans | MSc, 2020-21
  • Vitella Fomenko | MSc, 2020-21
  • Federico Fries | MSc, 2020-21
  • Chongli Gao | MSc, 2020-21
  • Kukena Esther Kaindama | MSc, 2020-21
  • Alina Khafizova | MSc, 2020-21
  • Athiya Anindya | MSc, 2019-20
  • Elizabeth Reynolds | MSc, 2018-19
  • Ms Lydia Mardell | MSc student, 2017-18
  • Ms Susannah Lee | MSc student, 2017-18
  • Ms Suji Im | MSc student, 2017-18
  • Ms Ashley Coggins | MSc student, 2017-18
  • Mr Devash Hanoomanjee | MSc student, 2016-17
  • Ms Fatma Hegazi | MSc student, 2016-17
  • Ms Mariam Hegazi | MSc student, 2016-17
  • Mr Yu Imaoka | MSc student, 2016-17
  • Ms Sarah Massey | MSc student, 2016-17
  • Mr Jeremy Low | MSc student, 2015-16
  • Mr Vincent (Vinnie) Kehoe | iBSc student, 2015-16
  • Ms Darshni Pandya | iBSc student, 2015-16
  • Mr Alex Zervudachi | iBSc student, 2015-16
  • Mr Ashish Rathore | iBSc student, 2014-15
  • Mr Matthew Willett | iBSc student, 2014-15

Visiting students 

  • Martin Blondiau | Visiting student, 2018
  • Nicholas Hautekeet | Visiting student, 2018
  • Ms Louise Devigne | Visiting PhD, 2016 & 2017
  • Mr Nicolas Le Borgne | Visiting student, 2017
  • Mr Valentin Buereau | Visiting student, 2016
  • Mr Eric Sanchez | Visiting student, 2016
  • Mr Joris Van der Cruijsen | Visiting student, 2014-15
  • Mr Pierre Jestin | Visiting student, 2014-15
  • Mr Matthew Wilcox | Visiting student, 2014-15
  • Mr Antoine Mouraux | Visiting student, 2014-15
  • Ms Jeviya Mohanakrishnan | Visiting student, 2014-15
  • Mr Tiago Toste | Visiting student, 2014-15

Funding / Partnerships

We are proud to be part of:

The organisations we work with include:

  • Aspire Charity
  • Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital
  • Barbara Bus Fund
  • Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA)

We would like to thank the organisations that fund our work:

Aspire charity logo

European Commission logo

Interreg / European Regional Development Fund logo

Inspire Foundation logo

Restoration of Appearance and Function Trust (RAFT) logo

UCL Grand Challenges logo

Wellcome Trust logo

Spinal Research logo

Selected publications

  1. Morbidi, F., Devigne, L., Teodorescu, C.S., Carlson, T., et al. (2022). Assistive Robotic Technologies for Next-Generation Smart Wheelchairs: Codesign and Modularity to Improve Users' Quality of Life. IEEE Robotics and Automation magazine, 2-14.
  2. Papadopoulou, A., Kumar, N.S., Vanhoestenberghe, A. & Francis, N.K. (2022). Environmental sustainability in robotic and laparoscopic surgery: systematic review. The British Journal of Surgery, znac191.
  3. Pacaux-Lemoine, M.P., Habib, L., Carlson, T. (2022). Levels of Cooperation in Human-Machine Systems: A Human-BCI-Robot example. In Fortino, G., Kaber, D., Nurnberger, A., Mendoca, D. (eds.), Handbook of Human-Machine Systems. Wiley-IEEE Press.
  4. Teodorescu, C., Zhang, B.Carlson, T. (2021). A Stochastic Control Strategy for Safely Driving a Powered Wheelchair. IFAC PapersOnLine 53-2 (2020) 10148–10153.
  5. Jiang, D., Liu, F., Lancashire, H.T., Vanhoestenberghe, A., et al. (2021). A Versatile Hermetically Sealed Microelectronic Implant for Peripheral Nerve Stimulation Applications. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 15
  6. Peterken, F., Benjaber, M., Doherty, S., Donaldson, N., et al. (2021). Adapting the Finetech-Brindley Sacral Anterior Root Stimulator for Bioelectronic Medicine. 43rd International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine & Biology Society.
  7. Al'Joboori, Y., Hannah, R., Francesca, L., Duffell, L., et al. (2021). The immediate and short-term effects of transcutaneous Spinal Cord Stimulation and Peripheral Nerve Stimulation on Corticospinal Excitability. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 15.
  8. Yue, K., Lancashire, H., de Jager, K., Vanhoestenberghe, A., et al. (2021). An Assistive Coughing Device for Post-Laryngectomy Patients. IEEE Transactions on Medical Robotics and Bionics, 1.
  9. Zhang, B., Eberle, H., Holloway, C., Carlson, T. (2021). From HRI to CRI: Crowd Robot Interaction - understanding the effect of robots on crowd motion. International Journal of Social Robotics, 14, 631-643.
  10. Ghoreishizadeh, S.S., Liu, Y., Carminati, M. (2021). Guest Editorial: Special Issue of IEEE TBioCAS on Selected Papers of IEEE ICECS 2020 Conference. IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Circuits and Systems, 15 (5), 859.
  1. Debelle, A., Hesta, M., de Rooster, H., Vanhoestenberghe, A., et al. (2021). Impact of adaptive gastric electrical stimulation on weight, food intake, and food intake rate in dogs. Artificial Organs, 46 (6), 1055-1067.
  2. Debelle, A., de Rooster, H., Vanhoestenberghe, A., et al. (2021). Optimization and assessment of a novel gastric electrode anchoring system designed to be implanted by minimally invasive surgery. Medical Engineering and Physics, 92, 93-101.
  3. McNulty, J., de Jager, K., Lancashire, H.T., Vanhoestenberghe, A., et al. (2021). Prediction of larynx function using multichannel surface EMG classification. IEEE Transactions on Medical Robotics and Bionics, 1.
  4. Lamont, C., Grego, T., Vanhoestenberghe, A., Donaldson, N., et al. (2021). Silicone encapsulation of thin-film SiOₓ, SiOₓNy and SiC for modern electronic medical implants: a comparative long-term ageing study. Journal of Neural Engineering, 18.
  5. Oldfrey, B., Loureiro, R., Holloway, C., et al. (2021). Additive manufacturing techniques for smart prosthetic liners. Medical Engineering & Physics, 87, 45-55.
  6. Watson, F., Fino, P.C., Heracleous, C., Loureiro, R., et al. (2021). Use of the margin of stability to quantify stability in pathologic gait - a qualitative systematic review. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 22 (1).
  7. Pacaux-Lemoine M-P., Habib L., Sciacca N. & Carlson T. (2020). Emulated haptic shared control for brain-computer interfaces improves human-robot cooperationIEEE International Conference on Human-Machine Systems (ICHMS), Rome.
  8. Pacaux-Lemoine M., Habib L. & Carlson T. (2018). Human-robot cooperation through brain-computer interaction and emulated haptic supports. 2018 IEEE International Conference on Industrial Technology (ICIT), pp. 1973-1978.

  9. Rastegarpanah, A., Rakhodaei, H., Saadat, M., Loureiro, R.C.V., et al. (2018). Path-planning of a hybrid parallel robot using stiffness and workspace for foot rehabilitation. Advances in Mechanical Engineering. January 2018.

  10. Snow, P.W., Sedki, I., Sinisi, M., Comley, R. & Loureiro, R.C.V. (2017). Robotic therapy for phantom limb pain in upper limb amputees. International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR), pp. 1019-1024.

Related courses

How to reach us

Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital
Brockley Hill

How to get there

  • Our office: Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Science. (Building 6, ref. 8D.)
  • Our main lab: Peripheral Nerve Injury unit. (Building 37, ref. 5E.)

Building map

It can be tricky to find your way around the site. We have created a photo guide to help you find our office. 

Download guide