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AT-NCIGT - The National Center for Advanced Technologies for Image Guided Therapy

Ali Uneri, PhD: Image-Guided Robotics: Closing the Loop in Surgical Robotics Using Interventional Imaging

Ali Uneri
Ali Uneri, PhD

Research Associate, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Co-Director, Carnegie Center for Surgical Innovation
Johns Hopkins University


Intraoperative imaging provides in situ, real time information on the progress of the surgery and location of surgical devices. When paired with suitable automated image analysis, it can be used to close-the-loop in robotic approaches – that is, provide real time feedback to adjust the path and actions of a robot and confirm successful execution of the surgical plan. The talk will demonstrate how synergistic advances across multi-modality imaging, image registration, surgical robotics, and machine learning can be leveraged to combine image-based sensing with precise robotic manipulation. Clinical application of this paradigm will be presented in:

  1. robotic orthopaedic fracture fixation;
  2. spine deformity correction;
  3. neuroelectrode placement in deep brain stimulation.

Short Bio

Dr. Ali Uneri is a research associate of Biomedical Engineering and the co-director of the Carnegie Center for Surgical Innovation at the Johns Hopkins University. He has a PhD in Computer Science from Hopkins and an MSc in Biomedical Engineering from Imperial College London. His research develops new approaches for image guidance in computer-assisted and robotic surgery, including novel interventional imaging devices and algorithms, system integration, and clinical translation. Dr. Uneri currently leads multiple NIH projects and academic-industry collaborations, including an NIH R01 on image-guided robotic repair of the ankle syndesmosis using automatic planning, robotic manipulation, and image-based confirmation. His PhD research resulted in fast registration algorithms that provide 3D tracking of anatomy and devices from 2D intraoperative imaging without the need for surgical trackers or custom markers. Dr. Uneri’s early academic and industrial research in surgical robotics contributed to the design of systems that are now in clinical use, including a cooperatively controlled microsurgery robot for vitreoretinal surgery (predecessor to Galen Robot) and a force-limiting robot for knee and hip replacement (Acrobot Sculptor, predecessor to Stryker Mako).

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