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VISE Training Grant

Michael I. MIga,
Harvie Branscomb Professor of Biomedical Engineering
VISE Steering Committee Member and VISE Seminar Series Chair

The Vanderbilt Institute for Surgery and Engineering Training Program for Innovative Engineering Research in Surgery and Intervention was renewed in May of 2021.

Available to pre-doctoral graduate students, it strives to translate dramatic laboratory breakthroughs in biomedical science into clinical use. It breaks down barriers to clinical translational research by supporting engineers to gain expert understanding in the treatment of human disease/dysfunction as well as training in the inception of novel technology-based platforms for studying and treating these systems.

Graduates of this program will represent a new cadre of researchers capable of creating, developing, implementing, clinically evaluating, and translating methods, devices, algorithms, and systems designed with a clear focus at one particular application of medicine, namely, to facilitate surgical/interventional processes and their outcomes. Thematically, our trainees and training program will have a central focus – innovative platform technologies for treatment and discovery.

We believe that continued scientific discoveries within the human environment as well as novel treatment approaches are highly dependent on these technology-based instrumentation platforms.  While this training program addresses pressing problems in biomedical research, namely the translation and facilitation of human investigative systems, the program also speaks to improving higher education career trajectories by providing a novel professional development atmosphere. Briefly described, the initial year 1 begins by requiring participation in novel professional development and broad therapeutic bioengineering courses, and concludes with application for trainee status. Upon acceptance to trainee status, year 2 begins with an immersion in the clinical environment involving literature reviews, needs assessments, and novel proposals to clinical barriers towards treatment and discovery. Students then continue course work in their desired areas of specialty possibly comprised of training in image-guided procedures, interventional imaging, interventional medical image processing and analysis, robotics and medical device design, modeling and simulation, and/or interventional therapeutics. The breadth of program expertise will provide trainees with almost limitless options for the creation of novel technologies. This all takes place within an environment that is highly promoting of technology transfer as well as scientific discovery. An overview of the program can be found here.

We believe Vanderbilt to be one of the most unique environments in the world that includes incredible close proximity of surgical and interventional suites, robotic and medical device fabrication capabilities, guidance and analysis laboratories, extensive therapeutic investigations, imaging infrastructure, large animal surgical facilities, and a clinical cadre with a history of pioneering invention with our engineers.

Engineering disciplines that are participating are: biomedical engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering. Interested applicants should apply through the student’s preferred department. Within their statement of purpose, students should express interest in the Training Program for Innovative Engineering Research in Surgery and Intervention.

VISE Certificate Program

The objective of this certificate program is to provide a broadening experience for the next generation of engineers and scientists interested in the creation, development, implementation, clinical evaluation and commercialization of methods, devices, algorithms, and systems designed to facilitate surgical and interventional processes and their outcome. Students who attain this certificate will be experts in the process of creating novel engineering solutions to surgical and interventional problems, and may pursue careers in academia, industry, startup companies, and in other environments where engineering creativity applied to clinical problems is needed.

The Vanderbilt Institute for Surgery and Engineering (VISE) involves eight core Engineering faculty in the biomedical engineering (BME), electrical engineering and computer science (EECS), and mechanical engineering (ME) departments as well as more than a dozen primary collaborators in the School of Medicine.  This certificate will capitalize on this expertise to provide both an interdisciplinary technical foundation and clinical exposure to students interested in interventional procedures and processes.

The certificate is available to current graduate and professional students at Vanderbilt.  Acceptance to the program requires the approval of both the student’s adviser and the Director of Graduate Studies in the student’s home department. To earn a certificate in Surgical and Interventional Engineering, students must take at least 12 credit hours of courses listed below with at least two courses outside the student’s home department (each course is three credit hours). Plus, attend at least 75% of the VISE seminar series for at least 2 semesters.

Required course:

BME 6301 Engineering in Surgery and Intervention: Provocative Questions
or  ME 8391, Surgical/Interventional Engineering Design

At least three elective courses chosen from the following:

BME 5400/Physics 7805, Foundations of Medical Imaging
BME 7110, Laser-Tissue Interaction and Therapeutic Use of Lasers
     or BME 7120, Optical Diagnosis: Principles and Applications
BME 7310, Advanced Computational Modeling and Analysis in Biomedical Engineering
BME 7450,  Advanced Quantitative and Functional Imaging
BME 8900, Bioacoustics & Ultrasonic Imaging
EECS 6357, Advanced Medical Image Processing
EECS 6358, Quantitative Medical Image Analysis
EECE 8396, Special Topics – Medical Image Segmentation
ME 5271, Introduction to Robotics
ME 8391, Wireless Mechatronics
ME 8391, Special Topics – IMPACT
Special Topics and Course Additions – Courses are continuing to evolve, the above is not a complete list.  When developing your course plan, please discuss with the director.

Surgical and Interventional Engineering Certificate Contact:
Robert Webster, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and VISE Education Director

VISE has a number of educational seminars and courses taught by affiliates:

BME 258. Foundations of Medical Imaging
Physics and engineering of image formation by different modalities used for medical applications. Concepts common to different imaging modalities and limits of physical phenomena. Mathematical concepts of image formation and analysis; techniques for recording images using ionizing radiation (including CT) ultrasound, magnetic resonance, and nuclear (including SPECT and PET). Methods of evaluating image quality.
Prerequisites: PHYS 116b, 118b, Math 196.
Credit offered for only one of BME 258 and PHYS 228
Offered: Spring, 3 credit hours

BME 275: Therapeutic Bioengineering
This undergraduate course explores the engineering aspects of treating disease or disorders. Topics include surgical mechanics, diffusion therapies including chemical and energy diffusion, image-guided therapies and the role of discovery and design in the development of medical treatments. The course has three extensive homework assignments and requires a 20 page research paper.
Prerequisites: College Physics, EE 213, BME 101 and BME 210. BME 271 can be a co-requisite and an imaging course may be helpful.
Offered: Fall, 3 credit hours

BME 279. Modeling Living Systems for Therapeutic Bioengineering

Introduction to computer modeling and simulation in therapeutic bioengineering processes. Building computer models and using modern modeling software tools. Introduction to numerical techniques to solve differential equations and origin of mathematical models for biotransport, biomechanics, tumor/virus growth dynamics, and model-based medical imaging techniques.
Prerequisites: MATH 196 or MATH 198, CS 103 or equivalent, BME 101 or equivalent mechanics course.

BME 301C. Quantitative Methods in Biomedical Engineering Mathematics, quantitative analysis and computation for biomedical engineering applications.
The third in a three-unit sequence consisting of BME 301A, BME 301B and BME 301C (5 weeks each). Numerical differentiation, and integration, optimization, nonlinear ordinary and partial differential equations, applications in modeling and image analysis.

BME 329. Advanced Computational Modeling and Analysis in Biomedical Engineering
Survey of current topics within biomedical modeling: biotransport, biomechanics, tumor and virus growth dynamics, model-based medical imaging techniques, etc. Mathematical development and analysis of biomedical simulations using advanced numerical techniques for the solution of ordinary and partial differential equations. Emphasis will be on graduate research related topics.

BME 395 – Technology Guided Therapy (will be taught as a special topics course)
This graduate course focuses on the delivery of therapeutic processes: resection, ablation, implantation and local delivery of drugs and gene therapy agents. It will be concentrated on guidance systems and image-space to physical space registration.
Pre-requisites: A background in programming and experience with linear algebra.
Offered: Spring, 3 credit hours

EECE 357. Advanced Image Processing. (Also listed as CS 357) This course covers current techniques for medical image processing and analysis including rigid and non-rigid registration algorithms, segmentation and classification. Classic papers in these areas are covered and discussed; the methods they describe are implemented.
Pre-requisites: EECE 253 Image Processing and good Matlab programming experience.
Offered: Fall, 3 credit hours

EECE 395: Statistics in Med Imaging
This graduate course will cover methods for quantitative analysis and interpretation of imaging data with a focus on neuroimaging approaches related to brain structure, function, and connectivity. Specific topics include massively univariate analysis (parametric mapping), multiple comparison issues, random fields, independent components, non-parametric approaches, and Monte Carlo methods.
Pre-requisites: Linear algebra / calculus, signal processing, programming ability, research interests.
Offered: Occasionally, 3 credit hours

EECE 395: Machine Learning in Medical Imaging
This seminar course will cover application of machine learning to medical imaging problems, specifically focusing on quantitative analysis and interpretation of brain structure, function, and connectivity. Specific topics will include: Segmentation, Classifiers, and Dimensionality Reduction.
Pre-requisites: Linear algebra / calculus, signal processing, programming ability, research interests.
Offered: Occasionally, 3 credit hours

EECE 395 Practicum: Medical Image Processing and Visualization in Virtual Environments
In this intensive, hands-on course, we will explore the use of and interaction with medical imaging data in immersive virtual environments. In this course, students will design, implement and evaluate an immersive experience for interacting with medical imaging data.
Pre-requisites: Programming experience, imaging interests, and permission of instructor are required.
Offered: Occasionally, 2-3 credit hours

EECE 395: Readings in Vanderbilt Institute for Surgery and Engineering
This seminar class will introduce graduate students from different disciplines to the key research questions facing integration of surgery and engineering research. We will cover seminar and representative readings suggested by Vanderbilt Institute for Surgery and Engineering (VISE) investigators with a goal of improving mutual understanding and building interdisciplinary connections.
Pre-requisites: VISE research interests.
Offered: Occasionally, 1 credit hour

ME 190: Dynamics
This course is a sophomore class designed to introduce students to the basics of rigid body dynamics including kinematics (study of motion) and kinetics (study of motion and forces causing motion)
Offered: Spring

Special Topics: Introduction to Medical Robotics
Undergraduate students should register for ME210.02 “special topics”.
Graduate students should register for ME392.02 “special topics”.
This course is for Senior undergraduate and for Graduate students interested in an introductory level course to medical robotics. This new course presents a unique opportunity for students to learn and apply a wide array of design and analysis skills specifically focused on the design of surgical instruments and on the integration of new tools and robots in the surgical workflow.
Prerequisites: Linear algebra, Recommended: Mechanics of Machines, Introduction to robotics
Offered: Fall

ME 271: Introduction to Robotics
History and application of robots. Robot configurations including mobile robots. Spatial descriptions and transformations of objects in three-dimensional space. Forward and inverse manipulator kinematics. Task and trajectory planning, simulation and off-line programming. Typically offered in the fall of each year.
Prerequisite: Math 194.
Offered: Fall, 3 credit hours

ME 331: Robot Manipulators
This newly revised course will build on the background obtained in the recently revised Intro to Robotics (ME271) course. The course is highly recommended for graduate students in robotics disciplines (EE/CS and ME alike). Also, I will consider recent undergraduate seniors who took ME271 in fall 2012 provided that their grade achievements and current ME271 instructor feedback suggest that they are able to manage graduate-level coursework.
Offered: Spring

ME 391-03: Special Topic: Wireless Mechatronics
This course is intended for graduate students in ME, EE, CS or BME interested in the design of mechatronic devices with emphasis on miniaturization and wireless transmission of data and power. The course will cover programming of wireless microcontrollers and data acquisition and transmission from sensors and to actuators.
Recommended prerequisite:   Experience in 3D CAD design (ProE), experience in C-like code programming.
Offered: Fall, 3 credit hours

ME 392-02: Special Topics: Advanced Topics in Robotics and Mechanism Synthesis
This is a graduate level course in robotics and mechanism synthesis. The course focuses on covering several topics in kinematics of serial and parallel robots, special methods in kinematics including dual number representations and quaternion methods, introduction to screw-based kinematics and its applications to mechanism analysis and synthesis, line geometry methods and applications in kinematics, open research problems in robotics, mathematical methods for the solution of polynomial systems related to design/analysis problems of mechanisms (e.g. direct kinematics of parallel robots) including homotopy continuation methods and resultant-based methods. This course is highly recommended for graduate students with some background in robotics and mechanism theory who are interested in expanding their background for research in these areas. It is intended to provide a wider perspective on the mathematical methods and on performance evaluation/optimization of different mechanisms/robots including parallel robots, serial robots, multi-fingered hands, robots with actuation redundancy and with kinematics redundancy (e.g. snakes).
Prerequisites: Linear algebra (you should be familiar with matrix computations, eigenvalues/ eigenvectors) and ordinary differential equations (recommended).
Offered: Spring


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