Winner of BioEM2019 Arthur Pilla Young Scientist Award

Authored by: Azadeh Peyman, and Ilaria Liorni

Published on: Jul 26, 2019

Many congratulations to Ilaria Liorni, for winning this year’s Arthur Pilla Young Scientist Award. The Annual Arthur Pilla Young Scientist Award ceremony took place at the BioEM2019 Meeting in Montpellier, France June 2019. For more information on late Dr. Arthur Pilla and the award set in his honour visit here: and

The award was presented to Ilaria by BEMS president Rene De-Seze and founder of the Arthur Pilla Research Foundation, Astrid Pilla.

Ilaria Liorni receiving award

We asked Ilaria to write a few words about her research and experience in BioEM2019. See below her report with a few photos of her during the BioEM2019 in Montpellier!

Azadeh Peyman (BEMS Award Committee Chair)


Award winner’s report

Ilaria Liorni

My interest in bioelectromagnetism began when I was studying towards the Master degree, and I therefore pursued my Master's thesis research at the Xlim Institute, CNRS, in Limoges, under the supervision of Prof. Philippe Leveque. The aim of my thesis research, which was supported by my supervisors Dr. Caterina Merla and Prof. Micaela Liberti of the Sapienza University of Rome, was to improve the performance of a microstrip-based nanosecond-pulse generator for electroporation by developing broad-band matching between the generator and the electroporation cuvette. This work was presented at the 33rd Annual Meeting of the Bioelectromagnetics Society in Halifax CA, 12–17 June 2011.

I continued my studies in bioelectromagnetics, pursuing the PhD in Bioengineering under the supervision of Dr Paolo Ravazzani and Dr Marta Parazzini at the Politecnico di Milano. My research became more focused on the assessment of exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) and compliance testing, particularly related to exposures during early life. The research was performed mainly in the framework of the EU founded Project ARIMMORA (Advanced Research on Interaction Mechanisms of electroMagnetic exposures with Organisms for Risk Assessment), with the aim to find possible mechanistic associations between exposure to extremely low-frequency magnetic fields and childhood leukemia.

In 2013, I attended the BioEM Meeting for the first time in Thessaloniki (10–14 June 2013), where I presented some of the results of my PhD studies. I immediately loved the atmosphere of this conference, since it offers possibilities to discuss scientific topics in very collegial environments where both senior researchers and PhD students can easily share opinions. Furthermore, the PhD students are considered an active part of the bioelectromagnetics community and have the possibility to present their own research and to be awarded for it. 

I joined the IT’IS Foundation in 2016 as post-doctoral researcher and became a Project Leader in 2018. My current research is focused on the assessment of exposure to wireless power transfer (WPT) systems, an emerging technology that represents a more sustainable method for charging electronic devices. Depending on the type of device, the charging requirements varies from a few milliwatts to up to several kilowatts. High-power WPT systems used in public spaces pose additional concerns about possible adverse health effects in the population. The absence of a well- established method for testing compliance could delay the introduction of WPT in the market, as the methods currently available insufficiently guarantee both the safety of the population and the technological progress of these devices. 

The focus of my studies has therefore been focused on the development of new methods for the assessment of the exposure to EMFs generated by WPT. The work presented at the BioEM Meeting in Montpellier (23–28 June 2019), for which I was honored with the Arthur Pilla Award, deals with a new concept for coupling factors used to account for the effect of the inhomogeneity of magnetic fields caused by the steep gradients of, e.g., high-power WPT systems. The coupling factors are used to translate measured magnetic field amplitudes and gradients into induced fields and absorbed power for direct comparison with basic restrictions published in all current regulations and guidelines. The coupling factors were derived through an extended numerical study and have been strengthened by tethering to physics-based concepts. This new concept based on coupling factors has also been adopted in the draft of the new standard in which novel methods for near-field WPT exposure assessment are described, currently under review by the IEC TC 106 PT63184, on which I am participating as invited expert.