TM-Alliance Team

TM-Alliance Team members

The TM-Alliance team is composed by professionals in the fields of Medicine, Science, Laws, Telecommunications and Management. The staff are distributed among the three organisations:

  • ESA (Noordwijk,The Netherlands)

  • ITU (Geneva,Switzerland)

  • WHO (Barcelona, Spain)

    Didier Schmitt
    Head of the Life Sciences Unit, ESTEC
    Project Leader

    Dr. Didier Schmitt, holds Master's and undergraduate degrees in science and in medicine. He received his Ph.D. in Immunology and Pharmacology in 1990 from the University of Strasbourg and his M.D. in 1992 from the University of Toulouse. Dr Schmitt holds also several University diplomas in emergency medical care and aerospace medicine and he was graduated from the International Space University (summer session'89). In 1994 he received the highest University Diploma as research director (“Habilitation”) from the University of Strasbourg. Didier Schmitt has served as the Principal Investigator for many Space Life Science experiments: parabolic flight, four Space Shuttle/Spacelab and Spacehab missions, Mir missions, long duration bed rest and confinement, Antarctic wintering and Biosatellite flights. Dr. Schmitt served as Assistant Professor at the University of Toulouse from 1992-1996 and as Associate Professor at the International Space University in Strasbourg. He joined the European Space Agency in 1997 and is currently head of the Life Sciences Unit, in charge of strategy, programme planning and scientific co-ordination, in fields ranging from life science on the International Space Station and other carriers to Human planetary exploration preparation and exobiology on Mars.

    Benny Elmann-Larsen
    Head of Human Physiology

    Benny Elmann-Larsen holds a rank of First Lieutenant of the Danish Army in 1975. Achieved a B.Sc. in Geology at University of Copenhagen 1978, and a M.Sc. in Physiology at University of Copenhagen in 1984.Joined the European Space Agency 1985 as a Project Scientists for the project Anthrorack, to fly onboard the 2nd joint comprehensive European Spacelab mission (D-2 / 1993) with the Space Shuttle. He was nominated Mission Life Scientist for the missions to the Russian Space Station MIR in 1994 and 1995, the Euromir 94 & 95 missions. Later responsibility for management of Science Topical Teams, Microgravity Application Promotions projects. Was Project Manager for the first European Long Term (90 days) Bed Rest study 2001-03, focusing on countermeasures against space-induced osteoporosis and muscle atrophy. In parallel, he was Project Manager for a shorter cross-over bed rest study focused on nutrition and exercise in relation to regulation of bodyweight.Mr. Elmann-Larsen is the orginator and author of the TM Alliance Project proposal that was selected by the European Commission in 2002.

    James Kass
    Senior scientist

    Dr. James Kass holds a B.Sc. in Physics and Math (Montreal) and an MS in Physics (Ann Arbor, Michigan). He completed his Ph.D. in physics in Leeds, England, before joining the Max-Planck Institute to research in Nuclear Physics. He then joined the department of medicine at Joh.-Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany, where he researched in Neuro-physiology and space medicine for 8 years, working on two Spacelab missions. Following this he worked for the aerospace industry in Bremen and Munich in the sectors of space operations, tele-medical research, artificial intelligence, and human behaviour, performing work under-water, in parabolic flight, with the MIR station and with long-duration isolation missions. He joined ESTEC as a resident contractor in 2000 where he worked on the STS-107 Spacehab/Shuttle mission. He joined the Telemedicine Alliance project in 2001.

    Cristina Bescos
    Telemedicine Technical Coordinator

    Cristina Bescos has a degree in Telecommunication Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Madrid (1999), where she is also a Ph.D. candidate; her thesis is about "Virtual Reality in Telemedicine". She had a Researcher position at the Bioengineering and Telemedicine Group of the Polytechnic University of Madrid (1999-2002), and Telefonica I+D (1997-1999), participating in several health telematics projects funded by the EU related to home-care, broadband access, training in emergencies and citizen education (ATTRACT, TEN-CARE, JUST, V-PARK, WEIGHT-INFO). She has worked as Virtual Reality Engineer (visiting scientist) at the Simulation Lab of the European Space Agency (2001) and at the Miralab-Virtual Reality Lab of the Computer Faculty of the University of Geneva (2000). Cristina Bescos is, since mid 2002, the Telemedicine Technical Coordinator of the TM-Alliance Project, working in the Life Science in Space Division of the European Space Agency, in Noordwijk (The Netherlands).

    Patrik Sundblad
    Life Science Coordinator

    Patrik Sundblad, born 1965, PhD in Physiology 1999, MD 2001. He has worked clinically as MD in emergency medicine in an University Hospital for 1,5 yrs. Research interests is mainly the effect of gravity on the function of the human circulatory and respiratory system. He has participated as co-PI in two spaceflight experiments and one long-term bedrest. In recent years he has participated in clinical studies regarding cardiac diagnostics. He has lectured medical students for almost a decade regarding the function of the heart, lungs and circulatory system. Active participation in a Telemedicine project aiming at designing and evaluating an ICT-based decision support for Medical Doctors – the finished product was used in handheld computers. Presently he works as Life Science Coordinator at the Directorate of Human Spaceflight, ESTEC, ESA.

    Mila Garcia Barbero
    Head of Office
    WHO Project Leader

    Dr. Mila Garcia-Barbero is a Medical doctor, University of Madrid, Ph.D., University of Alicante (received University of Alicante Award). 1997, Master in Health Services Administration, EADA, Barcelona. Visiting Research Associate, Utah and North Carolina, USA. 1979-1981, Assistant Professor, Medical School, University of Valladolid, Spain. 1981-1985 Director of Medical Education, Medical School, University of Alicante. Fellowship, University of Dundee 1990-1999 Regional adviser for Medical Education, Hospitals, Primary Health Care at the WHO Regional Office for Europe, Copenhagen. 1999 appointed Head of the WHO Office for Integrated Health Care Services, Barcelona

    Angela M. Dunbar
    eHealth Technical Officer

    Angela Dunbar, was born in British Columbia, Canada in 1974. She is currently studying her MBA (Master in Business Administration) from the Open University, United Kingdom and holds a bachelor of science degree in Health Informatics from the University of Victoria, BC Canada. Ms. Dunbar is the e-Health technical officer for the WHO European Office for Integrated Health Care Services in Barcelona, Spain.She brings to the project over 6 years of experience as a project manager working with healthcare information systems. Before joining WHO, she coordinated the CEC R&D project SMARTIE (Smart Medical Applications Repository of Tools for Informed Expert Decision) and managed partner contributions to the projects LIQUID (Language Independent Querying for Medical Information Discovery) & MEMO (Medical Mobile Devices) for the Municipal Institute of Medical Investigation (IMIM). Previous to IMIM, she worked as an Implementations Project Manager for the Product Marketing Requirements & Usability Department of Picis Inc., who specializes in developing operating room and intensive care unit software. She also held the position of research information analyst for the British Columbia Ministry of health and System Analyst for St. Paul’s Hospital in BC, Canada.

    Petko Kantchev
    Co-ordinator Technologies and Network Development (TND) Unit
    ITU Project Leader

    Mr. Petko Kantchev joined the former Technical Cooperation Department, nowadays the Telecommunication Development Bureau (TDB), of the International Telecommunication Union, Switzerland, in 1986. His current responsibilities as Senior Sound and Television Broadcasting Engineer and Coordinator of the Technologies and Network Development (TND) Unit are related, inter alia, to the provision of advice and consultation to the sound and television broadcasting organizations from the developing world, frequently visiting these countries on short missions. He has supervised or administered many projects in the developing world, inclusive both the Interactive TV Distance Learning and Telemedicine domains. He has assumed the responsibilities of “ITU Telemedicine Coordinator” since September 1999. Prior to his association with the ITU, he worked first for the Ministry of Communications, Bulgaria, later for the National Bulgarian Television and broadcasting industry on a wide range of matters related to sound and TV broadcasting. He participated actively in Study Groups 1 and 3 of the former OIRT and participates in the work of several ITU-D, ITU-R and ITU-T study groups and working parties. He graduated from the Technical University of Sofia, Bulgaria, with an MSc Engineering degree in high frequency radio-communications in 1967.

    Last update: 15 December 2004

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     •  EC-Information Society (
     •  WHO-Telemedicine (
     •  ITU-Telemedicine (

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