NIH’s chief of translational tech is fifth annual VISE Symposium speaker

An engineering symposium dedicated to translational technology will host a national figure in that field as its keynote speaker, plus give visitors a first look at the devices coming out of Vanderbilt’s labs.

Dr. Christopher P. Austin, director of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, will speak at 4 p.m. Dec. 14 in Light Hall 202 for the Vanderbilt Institute in Surgery and Engineering’s fifth annual Surgery, Intervention, and Engineering Symposium. The topic is the current unprecedented number of discoveries in the biosciences and the bottleneck blocking those from getting into surgical suites and doctors’ offices.


Austin’s address will follow a day of meeting with the leaders of the School of Engineering’s institutes and representatives from its nine intellectual neighborhoods, which characterize our culture of collaboration among Vanderbilt’s schools, colleges, departments and institutions.

“Christopher is the point person in the organization at NIH that’s figuring out how to do translation,” said Michael Miga, Harvie Branscomb Professor and VISE seminar series chair. “This is a great opportunity for us to learn from him and to present the challenges with translational opportunities to a policymaker on the national stage.

“It’s exciting to mark our fifth year with a speaker of this caliber.”

The 5:15 p.m. poster session will give research professors, graduate students and guests from across campus the opportunity to learn more about the institute’s cutting-edge designs, including:

  • Computational models that predict aspects of radiation damage, allowing physicians to tell the difference between recurrence of a tumor and radiational necrosis without additional surgery.
  • Optimal programming of cochlear implants that eliminates and problem of cross-electrode stimulation overlap by using image guidance.
  • A temperature-sensing device for the end of endoscopes that allows surgeons to avoid collateral damage during thermal ablation for tumors.

In addition, Nabil Simaan, associate professor of mechanical engineering and otolaryngology, and his graduate students will demonstrate a snake robot to be used in delicate surgeries to minimize invasiveness and warn users if it’s touching something it shouldn’t.

For more information on the symposium, click here.


Heidi Hall, (615) 322-6614
On Twitter @VUEngineering


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