University of Leeds: Top honour for engineer pioneering medical robots

A leading academic at the University of Leeds has been honoured for his work in developing medical robots.

Pietro Valdastri, Professor of Robotics and Autonomous Systems in the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering and Director of the STORM Lab, has been made a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE).

Fellowships are given to a limited shortlist of members who have made significant contributions to engineering, science and technology.

This important recognition means that what I have done… has had a tangible impact on society as a whole.

Professor Pietro Valdastri
Professor Valdastri said: “I am immensely proud to have been elevated to IEEE Fellow. It is a recognition of the work that I and my team have done to advance our understanding and knowledge in the field of medical capsule robots.”

Medical capsule robots
Professor Valdastri’s research focuses on medical capsule robots – tiny devices that are inserted into the human body through natural orifices or small incisions to perform endoscopy and surgery in a minimally invasive way.

One of the projects he leads is the development of a capsule system that would revolutionise colonoscopy examinations, making them less painful for patients and easier for healthcare professionals to carry out.

He said: “Research in surgical robotics and robotic endoscopy is really my passion, and this important recognition means that what I have done in the past 15-20 years has had a tangible impact on other researchers and on the society as a whole.”

The technology has the potential to widen accessibility to endoscopic screening, diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in healthcare settings across the world.

Pietro’s work reflects the University’s goals: to be at the centre of the research community and improve the future of our world.

Professor Nick Plant, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation
Professor Valdastri said: “My ultimate dream is to see the platforms we have developed in my lab improve the quality of life for patients. This goes beyond any formal recognition, and I am so glad to see it happening.”

Susan K. Land, President and CEO of the IEEE, said: “The IEEE Fellow is one of the most prestigious honours of the IEEE, and is bestowed upon a very limited number of Senior Members who have contributed importantly to the advancement or application of engineering, science and technology, bringing significant value to our society.”

Global impact
Professor Nick Plant, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation at the University, said: “It is excellent news that Pietro has been recognised by the IEEE for his pioneering work on medical capsule robots. With the potential to improve healthcare outcomes across the world, Pietro’s work reflects the University’s goals: to be at the centre of the research community and improve the future of our world.”

Professor Valdastri added: “Students coming to Leeds to learn about robotics will have the opportunity get involved in world-leading research in the field of medical capsule robots and, potentially, contribute to the advancement of this exciting field.”

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