Paola Contessa, Ph.D.

Curriculum Vitae

Boston University
NeuroMuscular Research Center
19 Deerfield Street, 4th Floor
Boston, MA 02215  USA
Phone  (617) 358-0715
E-mail contessa@bu.edu

POSITIONS

Mar 2012-present Research Scientist at the Neuromuscular Research Center, Boston University, USA
Mar 2012-present Supervisor of the Motor Unit Laboratory, Neuromuscular Research Center, Boston University, USA
Jan 2010-Feb 2012 Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the Neuromuscular Research Center, Boston University, USA
Mar 2008-Dec 2009 Visiting Research Assistant at the Neuromuscular Research Center, Boston University, USA.

RESEARCH ACTIVITY

Motor unit control and analysis of EMG signals. Strategies of muscle force production, simulation models of motoneuron behavior and muscle force. Gait, balance, and EMG characteristics in healthy and pathologic subjects.

EDUCATION AND TRAINING

Jan 2007- Dec 2009 PhD student in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Padova, Italy. Thesis: A muscle-  force model with physiological bases.
Jan 2006-Jun 2006 Exchange student at Boston University. Study period at the Neuromuscular Research Center, Boston University, USA.
Sept 2004-Oct 2006   University of Padova, Italy – Department of Information Engineering, “Laurea Specialistica” in Biomedical Engineering (MS). Thesis: Changes Induced by Bedrest in the Control of Motor Units. 
Final mark: 110/110 cum laude.
Sept 2001-Jul 2004 University of Padova, Italy – Department of Information Engineering, “Laurea Triennale” in Biomedical Engineering (BS). Thesis: Ottimizzazione delle Prestazioni di Macchina per Riabilitazione. 
Final mark: 110/110 cum laude.

TUTORIALS/WORSHOPS PRESENTED

Novel sEMG decomposition system for the study of motor units and muscle activation. Lindley S, Contessa P, Suresh N. XIX Congress of the International Society of Electrophysiology and Kinesiology (ISEK), Brisbane, Australia, 18 Jul 2012.

Innovative Techniques in EMG Analysis. Lee S, Contessa P.   Annual Conference of the Gait and Clinical Movement Analysis Society (GCMAS), Grand Rapids, MI (USA), 9 May 2012.

Best practices for recording the sEMG signal. De Luca CJ, Richards J, Contessa P. 29th Annual Conference of the International Society of Biomechanics in Sport (ISBS), Porto, Portugal, 27 Jun 2011.

Decomposition of sEMG signals: a new tool for assessing muscle performance. De Luca CJ, Contessa P. 15th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science (ECSS), Antalya, Turkey, 23 Jun 2010.

Neural regulation of force: from technology to physiology to a model. De Luca CJ, and Contessa P. 15th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science (ECSS), Antalya, Turkey, 26 Jun 2010.

REVIEWER-JOURNALS

Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Journal of Biomechanics
Muscle & Nerve

GRANT PARTICIPATION

Title    Harnessing Motoneuron Activity: From Lab to Clinic
Type NIH (R01) – 06/01/2007 – 02/28/2013
PI Carlo J. De Luca
Purpose  Develop an automatic system that will accurately and quickly decompose EMG signals into their constituent action potentials and provide the timing of every firing of a set of concurrently active motor units.
Role  Post-Doctoral Associate

 

Title Wearable-Sensor System for Monitoring Motor Function
Type NIH (R01) – 09/06/2006 – 08/31/2012
PI Carlo J. De Luca
Purpose Develop a wearable Personal Status Monitor (PSM) for improving the medication management of Parkinson’s disease patients by monitoring the effects of medication continuously during the day.
Role Post-Doctoral Associate

  HONORS/AWARDS               

Oct 2008-Oct 2009 12-month research scholarship “Ing. A. Gini”.
 Jan-Jun 2006 Scholarship for a semester at Boston University, College of Engineering (USA). 

PUBLICATIONS

Papers
Neural control of muscle force: Indications from a simulation model. Contessa P. and De Luca CJ. (In Review)

Relationship between clinical and laboratory measures in chronic post-stroke hemiparesis subjects: a pilot study. Sawacha S, Carraro E, Contessa P, Guiotto A, Masiero S, Cobelli C. (In Review)

Hierarchical control of motor units in voluntary contractions. De Luca CJ, Contessa P. Journal of Neurophysiology, 107: 178-195, 2012.

Abnormal muscle activation during gait in diabetes patients with and without neuropathy. Sawacha Z, Spolaor F, Guarnieri G, Contessa P, Carraro E, Venturin A, Avogaro A, Cobelli C. Gait and Posture, 35: 101-105, 2011.

Motor unit control and force fluctuation during fatigue. Contessa P, Adam A, and De Luca CJ. Journal of Applied Physiology, 107:235-243, 2009.

Conference Papers
Control of motor units during voluntary force-production: implications for exercise. De Luca CJ, Contessa P, Nawab SH. Vilas-Boas, Machado, Kim, Veloso (eds.) Biomechanics in Sports, Portuguese Journal of Sport Sciences 11 (Suppl. 2), 2011.

A model of motoneuron behavior and muscle-force generation for sustained isometric contractions. Contessa P, Nawab SH, De Luca CJ. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc, 4072:4075, 2011.

Proceedings
The control of motor units does not maximize force production. Contessa P, Hostage EC, and De Luca CJ. 41st Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN), New Orleans, USA, 13-17 October 2012.

A model for the influence of force twitch on motor unit behavior. Contessa P and De Luca CJ. XIX Congress of the International Society of Electrophysiology and Kinesiology (ISEK), Brisbane, Australia, 19-21 July 2012.

Neural regulation of force: from technology to physiology to a model. De Luca CJ, and Contessa P. 15th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science (ECSS), Antalya, Turkey, 23-26 June 2010.

Automatic detection of subjects at risk for diabetic foot through gait analysis. Sawacha Z, Guarneri G, Guitto A, Spolaor F, Munari A, Contessa P,  Venturin A, Avogaro A, Cobelli C. JEMG, the combined GCMAS and ESMAC (European Society of Movement Analysis for Adults and Children) Meeting, Miami, Florida, USA, 12-15 May 2010.

Correlation between clinical and laboratory measures in chronic stroke subjects. Sawacha Z, Carraro E, Contessa P, Battistella S, Guiotto A, Masiero S, Cobelli C. JEMG Meeting, Miami, Florida, USA, 12-15 May 2010.

Motor unit control and force fluctuation during fatigue. Contessa P, Adam A, De Luca CJ. 39th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN), Chicago, USA, 17-21 October 2009.

A model for muscle force with physiological basis. De Luca CJ, Contessa P. 22nd Meeting of the International Society of Biomechanics (ISB), Cape Town, South Africa, 5-9 July 2009.

Automatic detection of postural sway characteristics in diabetics, post-stroke and ankylosing spondylitis based on cluster analysis. Sawacha Z, Guiotto A, Carraro E, Guarnieri G, Contessa P, Masiero S, Avogaro A, Cobelli C. 19th Conference of the International Society of Posture and Gait Research (ISPGR), Bologna, Italy, 21-25 June 2009.

Control properties of motor units during fatiguing contractions. De Luca CJ, Contessa P, Adam A. International Workshop and Conference on Human Reflexes “Wiring and Firing of Motoneurons”, Izmir, Turkey, 11-15 May 2009.

Assessment of diabetic neuromuscular disorder through surface EMG. Sawacha Z, Venturin A, Guarnieri G, Contessa P, Spolar F, Ursino S, Avogaro A, Cobelli C. 17th Annual Meeting of the GCMAS, Denver, Colorado, USA, 10-13 March 2009.

Surface EMG is a predictor for diabetics neuropathy? Sawacha Z, Guarnieri G, Venturin A, Contessa P, Ursino S, Zanardo C, Spolar F, Avogaro A, Cobelli C. 9th Annual Meeting of SIAMOC, Potenza Picena, Italy, 2-4 October 2008.

Hemiparetic post stroke chronic patient: a case study. Contessa P, Carraro E, Postal V, Masiero S, Donà G, Cobelli C. 17th Annual Meeting of ESMAC, Antalya, Turkey, 8-13 September 2008.

Correlation between surface EMG and kinematics-kinetics-plantar pressure analysis of diabetic neuropathic foot. Sawacha Z, Venturin A, Guarnieri G, Contessa P, Zanardo C, Ursino S, Centenaro S, Avogaro A, Cobelli C. 1st International Foot and Ankle Biomechanics Congress (i-FAB), Bologna, Italy, 4-6 September 2008.

Surface EMG: a clinical tool in investigating diabetic neuropathy. Sawacha Z, Venturin A, Guarnieri G, Contessa P, Scutari A, Zanardo C, Cristoferi G, Avogaro A, Cobelli C. 13th Annual Meeting of the GCMAS, Richmond, Virginia, USA, 2-5 April 2008.

Foot deformities characterization through integrated kinematic, kinetics and plantar pressure analysis in neuropathic patients. Sawacha Z, Guarnieri G, Contessa P, Cristoferi G, Avogaro A, Cobelli C. 13th Annual Meeting of the GCMAS, Richmond, Virginia, USA, 2-5 April 2008.

Gait Analysis in patients with post-stroke hemiparesis: a pilot study. Contessa P, Carraro E, Postal V, Masiero S, Sawacha Z, Donà G, Cobelli C. 8th Annual Meeting of SIAMOC, Cuneo, Italy, 24–27 October 2007.

The role of surface EMGin diabetic foot treatment. Sawacha Z,  Venturin A, Guarneri G, Contessa P, Scutari A, Zanardo C, Cristoferi G, Avogaro A, Cobelli C. 8th Annual Meeting of SIAMOC, Cuneo, Italy, 24–27 October 2007.