Universitat Rovira i Virgili

Research team

Fernando Vidal (Principal Researcher, projects 1 and 2)

Born in Buenos Aires, Fernando received degrees in Psychology, History, and Philosophy of Science at Harvard University, Université de Genève, and Université de Paris. He has a Doctorate from the University of Geneva (1988) and a Habilitation from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Paris. He has worked on the history of human sciences and the sciences of the mind / brain from early modernity to the present. He has among other obtained a Guggenheim Fellowship, and has been visiting researcher, at the American Academy in Rome, Harvard University and the Brocher Foundation, as well as visiting professor in Argentina, Brazil, France, Mexico, Japan and Taiwan. Prior to his appointment as ICREA Professor in 2012, he was permanent senior researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin. He is an associate member of the Alexandre Koyré Center (EHESS, Paris) and a member of the Europaea Academy.


Àngel Martínez Hernáez (Principal Researcher, project 2)

 PhD on Cultural Anthropology (Univ. of Barcelona, 1994). Full professor. Distinguished professor since 2019. He has assumed different positions of academic management at the URV and has been director of the Department from 2012 to 2016. He has been visiting professor/researcher, among others, at Univ. of Barcelona, Univ. of California, Univ. Nacional Autónoma de México, Univ. degli Studi di Perugia (Italy) and at many different universities of Brazil. Advisor, expert and/or evaluator of different public institutions, standing out the World Health Organization-Regional Office for Europe and the VI Framework Program of the UE. He has published more than 100 papers and book chapters, as well as different books.

Some of his research lines are: Medical anthropology; anthropological theory; "biopolicies" of afflictions; sanitary policies in Europe and Latin America; mental health; Amazonian cultures.



Lina Masana (Postdoctoral Researcher)

(BA, MSc, PhD) is a social and cultural anthropologist specialized in medical anthropology and international health. Her fields of expertise are ethnography, qualitative research and narrative analysis, especially concerning health and social care topics. She has widely explored the topic of chronic illnesses experience and management, and her research interests and experience explored related topics such as disability, dependency, public policies, care needs, elderly care, end of life care and advanced directives, research ethics and bioethics, among others.

She has conducted scientific seminars at universities and research centres in Spain, The Netherlands, Austria and the UK, where she has worked on applied health research in two Health Research Institutes. During the past two years she has worked at the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Evaluation of Catalonia (AQuAS) belonging to the Department of Health of the Catalan Government. Currently, she is a postdoctoral fellow of the Anthropology and Phenomenology of the Locked-in Syndrome project at the Department of Anthropology, Philosophy and Social Work at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (DAFiTS-URV) and a collaborator of the Medical Anthropology Research Centre (MARC-URV).



Lucía Denegri Méndez (predoctoral researcher)

Lucia holds a degree in Psychology from Universidad del Salvador (Buenos Aires, 2007), with training studies in psychoanalysis, and a Master's Degree in Medical Anthropology and Global Health from Universitat Rovira i Virgili (2020). Her work experience has been in the fields of clinical psychology and education, in different public and private projects and institutions in Peru. She has been a teacher in Universidad Antonio Ruiz de Montoya's Psychology Department. During her master's studies she has done research in mental health, agency, body and gender in the case of women diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome in Catalonia.

Currently, she is working on her doctoral thesis as a predoctoral fellow in the Martí-Franquès Research Fellowship Programme (2021-2023). As a doctoral student, her interests are focused in exploring dimensions of corporeality, identity and intersubjectivity within the Anthropology and Phenomenology of the Locked-in Syndrome project at the Department of Anthropology, Philosophy and Social Work at Universitat Rovira i Virgili.


Yukiko Oishi Himeno (Collaborator)

Degree in Medicine (Physiology) from Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, 2008. Since 2015, Assistant professor of Physiology in the Department of Informatics, College of Life Sciences, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan. Her research interests concern the concept of the body, from mechanical materialism to vitalism. She has been a member of Ritsumeikan's Biosimulation Research Center since 2008, and has worked on developing mathematical models to simulate various physiological functions in spatio-temporal dimensions, especially in cardiovascular physiology and autonomic regulation. Currently, she is extending her research area to the anthropological and philosophical fields, aiming at developing humanistic models for the better understanding of human beings. From May to November 2019, Dr. Himeno was Visiting Researcher at DAFITS. Her stay was made possible by an Academic Development Leave for Assistant Professors from Ritsumeikan University's Advanced Research Programs. Dr. Himeno collaborates in the project "Sustainable Care in the Society with COVID-19," led at Ritsumeikan by Prof. Tatsuya Mima. The experience of persons affected with ALS and LIS in Japan is being studied in the framework of that project.


Tatsuya Mima (Collaborator)

Tatsuya Mima, M.D., Ph.D. is a neuroscientist, sociologist and certified neurologist. He graduated from Kyoto University School of Medicine in 1990 and received his Ph.D. degree in Brain Pathophysiology at Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine in 1997. After spending some years at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS, National Institutes of Health, USA), he served as Associate Professor at the Human Brain Research Center, Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine. Since 2015, he is Professor in The Graduate School of Core Ethics and Frontier Sciences, Ritsumeikan University, where he leads multidisciplinary research on topic ranging from virus to globalization. His books (in Japanese) include Ethics of Brain: Introduction to Neuroethics (2010), The Body at Risk: Modern Medicine and the Technology of Governmentality (2012), Reading "Discipline and Punish:" Modern Medicine as an Art of Governing Life (2015) and Infection Society: Biopolitics after COVID-19 (2020). His current project "Sustainable Care in the Society with COVID-19," supported by Ritsumeikan University, focuses on the lived experiences of persons with ALS and LIS in Japan. A list of his publications can be found at http://researchmap.jp/tatsuyamima/?lang=english.


Yumiko Shimada Kawaguchi 

Dr. Yumiko Kawaguchi, director of the Japanese ALS Association from 2005 to 2018, is head of the non-profit organization ALS/MND Care Centre Sakura, which she founded in 2003. This organization prepares individuals with no prior certification to become helpers of persons with ALS and LIS in a short period of time. It provides support for independent living, and has pioneered an approach, known as the "Sakura model," in which patients and family members run their own caregiving businesses. In 2002, also Dr. Kawaguchi started a homecare service that sends helpers to ALS patients receiving mechanical ventilation treatment in their homes. At present (2021), it employs 80 caregivers and provides round-the-clock care to 21 LIS patients. She has conducted joint research with the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, and her model was legally recognized in 2009. From 1995 to 2007, Dr. Kawaguchi dedicated herself to providing in-home care to her mother, an ALS patient. She wrote about that experience in her 2009 book Yukanai Shintai (The Body Still Breathing), for which she received the Soichi Oya Prize for Non-fiction, the most prestigious literary prize awarded to works of non-fiction in Japan. In 2013 she received her doctorate from Ritsumeikan University.


Ana Libertad Prieto Ralda (Collaborator)

She has completed the double degree in Anthropology and Human Evolution (URV-UOC) and is currently studying a postgraduate course in Collective Mental Health at the Rovira i Virgili University Foundation. She is a volunteer collaborator of the project, where she examines in particular the gender dimension in people with Locked-in syndrome.

She has worked in different fields of study such as gender and sexuality, health, social networks, flirting networks (e.g. Tinder, Badoo...), theatre as a therapeutic tool, kinship, evolution, society and culture, politics, economy, education and social work etc. Her most outstanding work is the graduation work on social utopias and the case of a historical utopian community. She has been trained as a preventive health agent and is also an actress, specialized in Theatre of the Oppressed.



Andrés Jordán Zorrilla Casal

Bachellor in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the University of the Basque Country in 2019 and current student of the Master in Medical Anthropology and Global Health at the Rovira i Virgili University. He participates in the Anthropology and Phenomenology of Locked-in Syndrome project through the Teaching and Research Initiation Grant (BIDI) of the URV.