Pint of Robotics: Margaret Rox, George Freeman, and Dr Onaizah Onaizah

  • Date:
  • Time: 18.00 - 21.00
  • Location: The Library Pub, The Lending Room, 1st Floor (229 Woodhouse Lane, LS2 3AP).

Speaker 1: Margaret Rox (Mechanical Engineering Department, Vanderbilt University).
Margaret Rox is a 6th year PhD candidate in Professor Bob Webster’s lab at Vanderbilt University (MEDLab). She has both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering, from Lipscomb University and Vanderbilt University, respectively (2016, 2021). She will be finishing her PhD in the fall of 2022 with a wide range of publications focusing on continuum robotic devices for minimally invasive surgery.
Title: A Steerable Needle Robot for Enhanced Access of Peripheral Lung Lesions.
Abstract: The lungs are extremely complex and obstacle dense, making traditional methods for biopsy of lesions challenging for even the most skilled surgeon. This talk will present progress on a new steerable needle robot that can access previously unreachable targets in the lungs. The system integrates with a traditional bronchoscope, uses motion planning to avoid obstacles, and steers a bevel-tip needle to peripheral lesions with high accuracy in both ex vivo and in vivo porcine lungs.
Speaker 2: George Freeman (Mechanical Engineering, University of Leeds).
George Freeman is a final year PhD student developing soft robotic systems for tissue culture.
Title: Combining the Existing Paradigms of Cell/Tissue Culture with Soft Robotics for Mechanobiology.
Abstract: Being able to synthetically produce complex biological structures would have significant ramifications for medicine and biological research; but we are currently stuck between culturing disorganised, individual cells and useful biological tissue at scale. One aspect driving the development of useful lab grown tissue is the field of mechanobiology, which aims to understand and utilise a cells response to it’s mechanical environment. Though traditionally, the means to conduct this research is limited to highly specialised and/or well funded labs, there have been academically driven efforts across the fields of robotics, material science and tissue engineering to produce more accessible means for conducting this research. However, a gold standard has yet to emerge; leading to a variety of weird and wonderful methods of exploring this field. Our approach aims to combine the existing paradigms of cell/tissue culture with soft robotics to make mechanobiology a more accessible and widely adopted research consideration.

Mentoring Session:
Speaker: Dr. Onaizah Onaizah (University of Leeds).
Onaizah Onaizah received her BSc in Physics from the University of Toronto in 2013, her MSc in Medical Biophysics from Western University in 2015 and her PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toronto in 2019. She is currently a Research Fellow in Surgical Robotics at the University of Leeds working in the STORM Lab under the direction of Dr. Pietro Valdastri. She was the recipient of the NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2020 and was featured as one of nine women to watch from the University of Toronto Engineering’s class of 2020. Her research interests include small-scale and soft robotics incorporating both fabrication and control strategies. She will be starting as an Assistant Professor at McMaster University in September 2022.