2023/03/29 | Events | Surgical technologies
On 20 and 27 March 2023, 32 students from the 10th grade (Sekundarstufe II, 2nd year) with an elective in MINT visited the ARTORG Center. Accompanied by their teacher, Moritz Wedell, they received a general overview of our research center and the challenges and potentials of biomedical engineering in general, before taking a deeper dive into the research groups of Image Guided Therapy, Organs-on-Chip Technologies, Gerontechnology and Rehabilitation, Cardiovascular Engineering and Medical Image Analysis.
As part of a STEM module, the students attend two additional lessons in mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology per week. In this context, they visited the ARTORG Center on two afternoons, where they first received an introduction by Prof. Dr. Stefan Weber on the questions "How does science work?" as well as various examples of medical technology such as imaging, monitoring devices, and implants.
The tour continued with concrete insights into research: In the Image Guided Therapies lab, Stefan Weber showed the surgical robot for minimally invasive cochlear implantation that was developed and then spun off there. In the future, the high precision and real-time image guidance of this robot could also make it possible for people with severe hearing loss to receive a cochlear implant (it is currently only approved for deaf patients because residual hearing in the very small structures cannot be preserved during classical implantation).
In the Organs-on-Chip Technologies lab, postdoctoral researcher Pauline Zamprogno demonstrated how long it takes to develop a new drug in research and bring it to market. She presented organs-on-chip (OOCs) as a promising alternative to animal models in this process, which could both make research results more relevant to humans and speed up the development in general. As an example of OOC research in the laboratory, she mentioned lung diseases caused by pollutants in the air (smoking but also aerosols and particles).
For the Gerontechnology and Rehabilitation group, postdoc Stephan Gerber presented the NeuroTec Loft research apartment at sitem-insel, with which engineers and clinicians jointly research neurodegenerative diseases (in old age) to be able to detect them earlier and treat them better. The students were also allowed to try out a Smart Sensor Egg, which allows people with problems in fine motor skills (e.g. through Parkinson’s) to train hand movements using an app.
On the second day of the visit, Prof. Dr. Dominik Obrist, Head of Cardiovascular Engineering (CVE), welcomed the group to sitem-insel, where he first presented the translational successes of the ARTORG Center with several spin-offs and then provided insights into the research of the CVE. PhD students Aurelia Bucciarelli and Yannick Rösch gave a tour of the CVE lab, where a flow loop is used to experimentally observe the behavior of artificial heart valves in the heart, and Karoline Bornemannn and Valerie Kulka demonstrated how related questions can be answered using computer simulations and fluid mechanics.
For the Medical Image Analysis group, master's student Martin Kunz presented his project, which allows via virtual reality to directly observe the functioning of an artificial intelligence and thus to dissolve the "black box" character to a certain extent. This interpretability is important for medical professionals to trust an AI system to suggest good and safe treatment decisions for patients. Martin also presented the group's research areas for medical imaging in general.