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TMA-Bridge 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 Coordinator

    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.

    Cristina Bescos
    Project Manager

    Cristina Bescos has a MS degree in Telecommunication Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Madrid, where she is also a Ph.D. candidate; her thesis is about a Model for Clinical Data Management for the Preparation of Long Duration Human Spaceflight Missions. 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 joined in mid 2002 the TM-Alliance Project, as Telemedicine Technical Coordinator. She is currenty the Project Manager of TMA-Bridge, working in the Life Science in Space Unit of the European Space Agency, in Noordwijk (The Netherlands).

    James Kass
    Administrative Coordinator

    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.

    Marie Diop
    Policy Interface

    Marie DIOP holds a Master in International Public Law, and Diplomacy (with a specialty in International Relationships, Space and Telecommunication law, and European Law). She also holds a certificate from the International Space University Summer Session Program.She worked for the European Telecommunication Standards Institute (ETSI), where she reviewed the co-operation agreements between ETSI and other international standardisation organisations (ISO, CEN, ATMF, etc.). In Rio de Janeiro she represented the European region in the Manfred Lachs Space law Competition - a moot court organised by the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) - won the finals and award for best memory. She later worked at CNES (French Space Agency, Paris), in commercial utilisation of the international Space Station. Since 2002, she has worked at ESA/ESTEC in the ESA Human Spaceflight, Microgravity And Exploration Directorate. Her duties are related to Policy and Legal support more particularly in European Union matters. She was relocated during three months to the EC DG RTD Space Policy Unit where she developed an expertise in the EC organisation, policies and programmes. She joined the TM Alliance Project end of 2003.

    Arnaud RUNGE
    Telemedicine Technical Coordinator

    Arnaud Runge holds a Master Degree in Instrumentation and Biomedical Techniques Engineering. After a three-year preparation to enter French national engineering Schools (Classes Préparatoires aux Grandes Écoles), he attended a three-year program in biological and medical sciences, biomedical techniques and project management in a biomedical engineering school in Besançon (FRANCE), where he came first in his year. He already worked for ESA at ESTEC on smart clothing capabilities to enhance astronaut’s safety and performance during Extravehicular Activities (EVAs). He was also involved in the 7th Student Parabolic Flight Campaign organized by ESA as a team leader to study acoustic manipulation of particles in weightlessness. Arnaud Runge is, since September 1st 2004, the Telemedicine Technical Coordinator of the TMA-Bridge Project, working as in the Life Science Unit of the Human spaceflights, Microgravity and Exploration Directorate of the European Space Agency, in Noordwijk (The Netherlands).
    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

    Alexander Ntoko
    Chief E-strategies Unit
    ITU Project Leader

    Alexander NTOKO is the Chief of E-strategies Unit at the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau. His responsibilities include managing the implementation of ITU's E-strategies Programme that includes e-applications (such as e-health, e-government, e-commerce, e-learning, e-security, e-legislation) and Internet Protocol in ITU Member States worldwide. His is also the ITU Focal Point for ITU-D Study Group Question 14 dealing with the elaboration of Guidelines for e-health. He obtained Bachelors (BSc) and Masters (MSc) degrees in Computer Sciences from the State University of New York in 1985 and 1987 respectively. From the early 1990s he has played a key role in the introduction of various Internet applications and services at the ITU, launched the ITU global e-commerce initiative (EC-DC) and contributed towards its expansion to other e-applications. Today he manages a wide range of Internet Protocol, e-government, e-health, e-business and e-learning activities (projects, strategies and policies) in various regions of the world. He has published papers on technology strategies for e-applications, Internet Protocol policy and technology issues and organized many IP and e-applications events. Since his move from the Information Services Department of ITU to the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, he has assisted many developing countries in the elaboration of national and regional strategies on ICTs, and technology implementation for various e-applications projects. He is Cameroonian and has been with ITU for the past 14 years.

    Kerstin Ludwig
    Project Officer

    Kerstin LUDWIG is the project officer on e-health related matters at the E-strategies Unit of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau. She has coordinated ITU activities within the Telemedicine Alliance Bridge since 2004. She holds a Master of Project Management degree from the Université du Québec, Canada, where she was named on the Dean's honors list, and was awarded a prize for academic excellence. She also obtained a Bachelor degree in Business Administration focusing on International Management from the same university, and a Bachelor of Arts (Diplomkauffrau FH) of the University of Applied Sciences of Bremen, Germany (A-level degree). Prior to joining ITU, she worked at the World Health Organization in eHealth, country cooperation strategies and Human Resources. She was also active at the Canadian Central Bank providing key communications as part of the successful implementation of a major change initiative. Originally from the German banking sector, where she helped increase customer satisfaction and annual figures, she has also worked in the aviation industry. Ms Ludwig speaks English, French, and German, and currently lives in Switzerland

    The TMA-Bridge Team
    Last update: 21 February 2006

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