For his new project INSPIRE in which flexible needles will be used for ablation UT Professor Sarthak Misra received an ERC Proof of Concept. The Proof of Concept Grants are up to €150 000 for a period of 18 months. Funding is made available only to those who already have an ERC award to establish proof of concept of an idea that was generated in the course of their ERC-funded projects. The funding will cover activities at the very early stage of turning research outputs into a commercial or socially valuable proposition.
The goal of INSPIRE is to develop and evaluate an innovative instrument that integrates shape sensing technology for ablation procedures. INSPIRE involves clinical and industrial collaborations. The results gained will be applicable to a range of rigid and flexible instruments, and to an assortment of personalized treatment scenarios. INSPIRE is strongly motivated by the existing need to further reduce the invasiveness or MIS, improve clinical outcomes, minimize patient trauma, and enable treatment of inoperable patients.
Sarthak Misra has been awarded a prestigious individual ERC Starting Grant worth 1.5 million euros in 2014. Flexible needles already produced the necessary successful preclinical studies with cadavers and biological tissues. Inserting needles is one of the most common minimally invasive medical procedures. It is used during biopsies, but also when inserting radioactive particles into the body for the treatment of prostate cancer, for example. Needles have the disadvantage that they are rigid and sometimes miss their target, for example because of the patient or an organ motion. Also, using rigid needles makes it impossible for clinicians to move their way around tissue or bones. Flexible needles offer the solution. Using this novel technology Misra can steer needles with sub-millimeter accuracy. In ablation where the physician blocks the electrical stimuli in the heart that disturb the rhythm, accuracy is of vital importance.
Sarthak Misra joined the University of Twente in 2009. He is currently a Full Professor in the Department of Biomechanical Engineering within the Faculty of Engineering Technology. He directs the Surgical Robotics Laboratory. He is affiliated with MIRA – Institute for Biomedical Technology and Technical Medicine. He is also affiliated with the Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Groningen and University Medical Center Groningen. Sarthak obtained his doctoral degree in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA. Prior to commencing his studies at Johns Hopkins, he worked for three years as a dynamics and controls analyst at MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates on the International Space Station Program. Sarthak received his Master of Engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering from McGill University, Montreal, Canada. He is the recipient of the European Research Council (ERC) Starting and Proof-of-Concept grants, Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) VENI and VIDI awards, Link Foundation fellowship, McGill Major fellowship, and NASA Space Flight Awareness award. He is the co-chair of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Technical Committee on Surgical Robotics, and area co-chair of the IFAC Technical Committee on Biological and Medical Systems. Sarthak’s broad research interests are primarily in the area of applied mechanics at both macro and micro scales. He is interested in the modeling and control of electro-mechanical systems with applications to medical robotics.