Towards Clinical Impact in Robotic Assisted Neuro and Skull-Base Surgery -- Imperial College, London, 28th June 2016 (9AM - 5:30PM)

Workshop Aims

The World Economic Summit [Bloom, D. E., et al., The Global Economic Burden of Noncommunicable Diseases, Geneva, 2011] reports that the five main chronic, non-communicative diseases (mental illness, cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes) will cost $47 trillion globally by 2030, with $16 trillion attributed to mental disease. Costs in the United States today are estimated at more than $900 billion annually [PricewaterhouseCoopers, The Annual Cost of Brain Disease in 2012], while “the [European Brain Council] EBC estimates the cost of brain disease in Europe since January 2014 at nearly €750 billion and rising fast. Europe’s aging population is increasingly in need of effective care and therapies for brain diseases, including stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease, which represent 35% of the burden of all diseases in Europe” [Banks, J. Neurotechnological Revolution, 2015].

Due to these startling statistics, the world is in desperate need of new technologies, which can drastically improve our ability to tackle brain disease. This workshop aims to survey the most promising technological breakthroughs arising from the last decade worth of scientific and clinical innovation, with a view to ascertain the current neurosurgical landscape and identify existing open challenges and possible ways to address them with robotics. Invited speakers represent academic, clinical and commercial entities, which are at the forefront neurosurgery today, covering tool sensorization, new brain models and modelling approaches, new mechanisms and new clinical applications that may improve the quality of life of patients.

Focus Areas

Tool sensorization 
Including OCT, elastography, Raman.

New mechanisms
Including new hardware platforms and surgical systems for research and commercial exploitation.

New soft tissue models and modelling methods
Including tool tissue interaction modelling, cutting and puncturing, brain tissue characterization, massively parallelised big data management for realistic tracking of soft tissues, etc.

New clinical applications
Including neurosurgical drug delivery, minimally invasive surgery and chronic disease management.

Organizing Committee

  • Dr Elena De Momi, Assistant Professor, Politecnico di Milano, Italy
  • Dr Ferdinando Rodriguez y Baena, Associate Professor, Imperial College, UK
  • Dr Robert J. Webster III, Associate Professor, Vanderbilt University, USA


Co-Chairs: Ferdinando Rodriguez y Baena, Robert J. Webster III, Elena De Momi

Welcome and Introduction

  • 09:00 - 09:30

Soft Tissue Models and Modelling Methods

  • 09:30 - 09:50
    Stephane Bordas (Univ. of Luxembourg and Cardiff Univ. – Legato Team Comput. Mech.)
    "Uncertainty quantification and real-time error estimation for soft tissue simulations"
  • 09:50 - 10:10
    Ron Alterovitz (Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Comput. Robotics Research Group)
    "Path Planning for Steerable Medical Robots"
  • 10:10 - 10:30 
    Yike Guo (Imperial College – Data Science Institute)
    "Brain Informatics Research in the Data Science Institute"
  • 10:30 - 10:50
    Daniele Dini (Imperial College – Tribology Group)
    “Realistic soft tissue phantoms for neurosurgery: how well can we mimic and model brain deformations?”
  • 10:50 - 11:20
    Poster Teasers (with Tea & Coffee)

Tool Sensorization

  • 11:20 - 11:40
    Paul Fielder (Renishaw Plc. – Neurological Products Division)
    "An overview of the Neuromate robotic system and RAMAN imaging"
  • 12:00 - 12:20
    Peter Brett (Brunel University, Institute of Environment, Health and Societies)
    "Tissue guided surgical robotics in cochlear implantation"
  • 12:20 - 12:40
    Hani Marcus (Imperial College – Department of Surgery and Cancer)
    "A 'smart' force-limiting instrument for microsurgery: Laboratory and in-vivo validation"
  • 12:40 - 13:00
    Giancarlo Ferrigno (Pol. di Milano – Neuroengineering and Medical Robotics Lab)
    "Active Constraints Technologies for Ill-defined and Volatile Environments (ACTIVE)"
  • 13:00 - 14:00
    Lunch, Coffee, Posters & Demos

New Mechanisms

  • 14:00 - 14:20
    Robert J. Web ster III (Vanderbilt Univ. – Medical Engineering and Discovery Lab)
    "The Holes in Your Head you Never Knew You Had … and Robots that Reach Into Your Brain Through Them”
  • 14:20 - 14:40
    Laura Marcu (University of California Davis – Bioemdical Engineering Department)
    "Fluorescence lifetime techniques in neurological surgery"
  • 14:40 - 15:00
    Jessica Burgner-Kahrs (Leibniz Univ. Hannover – Laboratory for Continuum Robotics)
    "Continuum Robots for Intracranial Procedures"
  • 15:00 - 15:20
    Kaspar Althoefer (Queen Mary University of London – School of Eng. and Materials Sci.)
    "Control and navigation of low-diameter continuum robots for minimally invasive surgery"
  • 15:20 - 15:40
    Jake Abbott (Univ . of Utah – Utah Telerobotics)
    "Magnetic Manipulation in the Human Head"
  • 15:40 - 16:00
    Tea & Coffee, Posters & Demo

New Clinical Applications

  • 16:00 - 16:20
    Federico Roncaroli (University of Manchester – Institute of Brain, Behaviour and Mental Health
    "Neuropathology at the interface between old and new technologies"
  • 16:20 - 16:40
    Lorenzo Bello (Istituto Clinico Humanitas – Cancer Neurosurgery Unit)
    "Minimally invasive neurosurgery for complex cancer therapy"
  • 16:40 - 17:00
    Pierre Dupont (Harvard Medical School – Boston Children's Hospital)
    "Pushing the Boundaries of Endoscopic Visualization in Intracranial Neurosurgery"

Roundtable Discussion

  • 17:00 - 17:25
    Achieving Real Impact in Neurosurgery

Final Thoughts

  • 17:25 - 17:30


ERC STING (Imperial College)


There will be a poster display open to the conference delegates with a selection of titles related to the workshop aim and objectives.