Winner of BioEM 2018 Arthur Pilla Young Scientist Award

Authored by: Azadeh Peyman, and Maura Casciola

Published on: Jul 19, 2018

Many congratulations to Maura Casciola, for winning this year’s Arthur Pilla Young Scientist Award. The Annual Arthur Pilla Young Scientist Award ceremony took place at the BioEM2018 Meeting in Portoroz, Slovania June 2018. For more information on late Dr. Arthur Pilla and the award set in his honor visit here: and

The award was presented to Maura by BEMS president Dr. Andrew Wood and two board members of the Arthur Pilla Foundation Dr. James Ryaby and Dr. Marko Markov. 

Maura Casciola receiving Pilla Award

We asked Maura to write a few words about her research and experience in BioEM2018. See below her report with a few photos of her during the BioEM2018 in Portoroz!

Azadeh Peyman (BEMS Award Committee Chair)

Maura Casciola receiving Pilla Award

Pilla Award presentation



Award winner’s report
Maura Casciola

My research, starting from my Master studies, has been focused both on the effects of nanosecond-millisecond, high-intensity pulsed electric fields (PEFs) on biological targets, and on the electromagnetic design and characterization of nano-pulse microchambers. Attending for the first time the BioEM meeting (Thessaloniki, Greece, 10-14 June 2013) at the beginning of my PhD studies, was an inspiring experience that broadened my perception of this multidisciplinary community. Not only I realized how important is to be able to interact with experts coming from different backgrounds, but also how exciting (and fun) it can be to be part of an established and yet dynamic scientific society!

In 2015, I participated in the BioEM meeting in Asilomar (California, 14-19 June), where I received the 3rd place platform presentation award for students ( There, I had the opportunity to discuss with several scientists, and among them my present mentor and friend Dr. Andrei Pakhomov.

Under Dr. Pakhomov’s guidance, I have been working since 2016 on neuron excitation with nanosecond PEFs. I presented part of this work in Portoroz (Slovenia) during BioEM 2018, showing exciting results on “nanosecond bipolar cancellation of action potentials in nerve fibers”. Briefly, by tuning the amplitude, duration and interpulse interval of a bipolar nanosecond pulse, we can reduce, and eventually suppress the response of the nerve. The quantification of this effect is crucial for future medical applications. Our idea is to superposition and synchronize two bipolar pulses so that the E field distribution created in the tissue results in a biologically inefficient bipolar exposure close to the electrodes in contact with the body, while producing an effective unipolar pulse in a region distant from them. This ability to spatially modulate the response of tissues opens tremendous opportunities for remote, targeted deep tissue stimulation.