In the MED lab, our research is primarily in surgical robotics and on other devices to make surgery less invasive and more accurate. For more information (and videos!) about our research, click on the research tab above.
The MED lab is a laboratory in the Mechanical Engineering department at Vanderbilt University, and is a charter member of the Vanderbilt Initiative in Surgery and Engineering.
Prospective graduate students, please click here.
The MED lab is a place where doctors and engineers work side by side to create new lifesaving medical technologies. We design and construct devices to make interventional medicine more accurate, less invasive, and more effective. With a world-class medical center a 5-minute walk from the lab, we are often in operating rooms observing surgical procedures and conducting experiments with the devices we build. We also patent our work, which enables us to transfer it to commercial products, amplifying its real-world impact. Our partners include startup companies such as Pathfinder Theraputics and Acoustic MedSystems, as well as larger companies including Intuitive Surgical and MathWorks. Current major projects include a surgical robot with tentacle-like, needle-diameter arms that removes tumors from the center of the head through the nose (partnership with Neurosurgery), a parallel robot that reduces invasiveness in cochlear implant surgery which restores hearing to the deaf (partnership with Otolanrygology), endowing the da Vinci with "surgical GPS" to enable more accurate and less invasive kidney surgery (partnership with Urologic Surgery), as well as systems for lung interventions (partnership with Radiology), transurethral laser prostate surgery (partnership with Urologic Surgery), and needle-based treatment of cerebral hemorrhages and epilepsy (partnership with Neurological Surgery). Graduate and undergraduate students in the MED Lab receive a unique educational experience in which they work side by side with surgeons, and are encouraged to pursue not only ongoing lab projects, but also their own ideas as they learn to be innovators in surgical engineering and robotics.
If you don't know much about surgical robotics in general and want to know more, the video below is a good high-level introduction. It is Dr. Webster's faculty commencement lecture from 2012.