True Cutting-Edge Engineering
The field of Technology Guided Therapy (TGT) combines a number of different medical disciplines including medical imaging, image registration, image segmentation, computational modeling and surgical data collection and processing. The guidance process is where TGT moves from being an imaging or image processing field to a therapeutic process. Images are used as maps enabling surgeons not only to see where instruments are, but also where they are relative both to the lesion or site of surgical interest and to sensitive, healthy structures they want to avoid.
Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Professor of Neurosurgery
Professor of Surgery
"That's not how I would do it," I blurted out in the midst of watching my first stereotactic neurosurgery case. Talk about arrogant! But I was appalled by how much the surgeon was working for the system, not the system working for the surgeon. There were tasks that are the purview of engineering not surgery: locating instruments in three-dimensional space, tracking their motion and indexing through large data sets in the medical images. If I could create a device—now devices—to do that for surgeons, then they could focus entirely on the surgery and provide experience, insight and wisdom, things that are tough to capture in any device. From our start in intracranial neurosurgery, we have developed guidance systems for ophthalmology, spinal surgery, cochlear implants, liver surgery, kidney surgery and colorectal cancer staging. While this requires a great deal of focus, robust development and mission-critical engineering, the payoff is huge. We can point to patients and say, "Our
work saved their lives." That's pretty okay.
Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Professor of Radiology and Radiological Science
Professor of Neurological Surgery
Movies like The Black Hole, Tron, War Games and Platoon inspired me to do two things while growing up: get into computers and join the United States Army. The former turned me into an engineer; the latter turned me into a biomedical engineer. In my senior year in college, I was deployed to serve with the army during the Persian Gulf War. Returning from war, I really wanted to do something to help people so I signed up to study biomedical engineering in graduate school and never looked back. Computers and the world of simulation had made indelible impressions on me; thus, my laboratory focuses on generating sophisticated computer models and embedding them within technology such that they direct surgical therapy and aid in the diagnosis and characterization of disease. While actor Matthew Broderick may have used computers to simulate global thermonuclear war in War Games, my team uses computer simulation to assist in surgery, to generate novel medical imaging diagnostics and to assess the effectiveness of therapeutic delivery I like my career choice better.
Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology
When I enrolled at Vanderbilt as an undergraduate in 1994, I had plans to become a mechanical engineer. As time progressed, I became more interested in the biological sciences and ultimately graduated with a degree in biomedical engineering. I subsequently received my M.D. and a Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology. Following residency and fellowship training, I was fortunate enough to return to my alma mater as an endoscopic sinus and skull base surgeon, and now treat patients with chronic inflammatory sinonasal disorders. It is these clinical interests that have once again brought me back to engineering, as I see great potential in the use of nanomedicine and biomaterials for therapeutics and drug delivery.