SW-4-3-4: Micro- and nanorobots navigating in the blood vessels for targeted applications: progress, challenges and future directions

Prof. Sylvain Martel, École Polytechnique de Montréal (EPM), Montréal, Canada


In recent years, medical robotics have evolved from interventions being performed by large robots outside the patient to smaller untethered versions such as the camera pills capable of travelling through the digestive track. More recently, nanotechnology and robotics were combined to develop new interventional platforms designed to navigate therapeutic carriers capable of targeting regions in the human body such as tumors only accessible through smaller diameter blood vessels. These new navigable therapeutic agents could play a major role in cancer therapy by enhancing therapeutic efficacy by delivering an improved concentration of the drug at the targeted area while decreasing systemic side effects compared to modern interventions such as chemotherapy. The talk will provide an overview of recent progress in this field, identify some of the major challenges and conclude with some potential future directions.

Speaker Biography

Sylvain Martel received the Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from McGill University, Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Montréal, Canada, in 1997. Following postdoctoral studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he was appointed Research Scientist at the BioInstrumentation Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT. From Feb. 2001 to Sept. 2004, he had dual appointments at MIT and as Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at École Polytechnique de Montréal (EPM), Campus of the University of Montréal, Montréal, Canada. He is currently Professor in the Department of Computer and Software Engineering, and the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, and Director of the NanoRobotics Laboratory at EPM that he founded in 2002. Dr. Martel holds the Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Micro/Nanosystem Development, Fabrication and Validation since 2001 and he is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering. In the medical field alone, he pioneered several innovative technologies such as the first parallel computing platform for remote surgeries, direct cardiac mapping systems designed to investigate the cause of sudden cardiac deaths, and new brain implants for decoding neuronal activities in the motor cortex. Presently, Dr. Martel is leading an interdisciplinary team involved in the development of new types of therapeutic agents and interventional platforms for cancer therapy.