Current trends in medicine are oriented towards developing surgical tools that minimize the damage to the patient.
PI: Johan van Leeuwen
The challenges we are faced with are how to accurately reach the target tissue inside a patient’s body without causing too much harm, how to treat the target tissue (e.g. administration of medicine, radiotherapy), and how to obtain specific tissue samples from targets deep within the patient’s body.
Similar mechanical and control challenges are met by certain groups of insects, including parasitic wasps, mosquitoes, and hemipterans, when they are in search of food or hosts in which to lay their eggs. These insects insert steerable and flexible needle-like structures in a variety of different substrates and manage to successfully and accurately locate hidden targets . We aim to reverse engineer the features (e.g. structure, shape and material properties) and mechanisms (e.g. insertion/piercing, steering) involved in the food/host seeking behaviour using needle-like structures. The novel mechanistic insight will be used to develop, together with TU Delft, steerable needles for medical applications.
Our collaborators are: Prof. Paul Breedveld and Dr. Dimitra Dodou at the Department of BioMechanical Engineering, TU Delft, The Netherlands. This project is financially supported by STW grant STW12712.