Evgeny Vaschillo, PhD: In Memoriam
Professor Evgeny Vaschillo, 75, passed away on November 21st, 2020, in the home he shared with his wife, son, daughter-in-law, and grandkids in Redmond, WA.
Evgeny was born on April 11th, 1945, in the city of Leningrad, Russia. His parents and his older brother Anatoly lived through the siege of Leningrad during the war. In 1968 Evgeny graduated from the Leningrad State University of Aerospace Instrumentation (Russia) with a master’s degree in electromechanical engineering. After graduating, he worked at research institutes supporting the Russian space program. He studied heart rate variability (HRV) and the effects of rhythmical stimulation of the cardiovascular system by breathing, muscle tension, and emotion. His work particularly focused on the baroreflex and the possibilities of applying resonance frequency HRV biofeedback to train Russian cosmonauts to function better in space. After getting his Ph.D. in human and animal physiology at the Scientific Research Institute for Experimental Medicine in 1983, he worked on developing physiological methods to evaluate and control functional states of the “human-operator” in extreme environmental conditions, with applications to cosmonaut crews, submarine crews, and athletic teams. Later, these techniques were expanded to treat patients with asthma and various neuroses. In 1997 he came to the United States and has continued studying the cardiovascular system and the baroreflex using biofeedback – first, as the Director of Physiological Data Laboratory at the NASA Regional Applications Center at Florida International University in Miami, FL, and since 1999 as an Associate Research Professor at Rutgers University, NJ.
Dr. Vaschillo is one of the giants in the field of applied psychophysiology. He has authored more than 100 publications on the topic. He was granted the Distinguished Scientist Award by the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback in 2018. Recently, he became an Honorary Fellow of the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback for lifetime significant contributions to the field.
Evgeny and Bronya
Evgeny married his wife, Bronya, in 1969. They spent 52 years together. After they moved to the United States, they worked as a team at Rutgers University. Bronya was a great support to Evgeny and was instrumental in helping him to implement his scientific ideas.
Scientific work was the passion of Evgeny’s life. He was constantly generating new ideas and approaches, analyzing experimental data, looking for, and finding new patterns and correlations. Some of his brilliant discoveries came to him in his sleep, and he would write them down and share them with his wife in the morning. His engineering approach and method allowed him to generate breakthrough ideas in psychophysiology. He pioneered the use of resonance frequency heart rate variability biofeedback, and his methodology laid the foundation for a new actively researched field of study. This biofeedback approach’s applications were instrumental in developing new treatments for asthma, depression, anxiety, and enhancement of elite athlete performance.
Evgeny had always generously shared his ideas with colleagues and students, the new generation of scientists, and was guiding the work of the Cardiac Neuroscience Laboratory at Rutgers University. His cardiovascular research has generated a tremendous amount of interest throughout the world.
Evgeny loved his family and friends. He has spent the last 23 years in the United States but kept close contact with his relatives and friends in Russia. These interactions and friendship were especially important to him.
Evgeny loved nature and was an enthusiast of trips to the forest for lingonberries and mushrooms. He also collected rare coins and was interested in numismatics.
Evgeny was a loving husband, father, and grandfather. He introduced his son and grandsons to his work and gave them the opportunity to collaborate in scientific research. Each of his three grandsons participated in the projects under his mentorship. He was proud that the work of his life is important to and will be continued by the younger generation.
Evgeny is survived by his wife Bronya, his sister Tatiana, his son Alexander, his daughter in law Alexandra, and his three grandsons: Alex, Michael, and Ilya.