CSTARWestern Engineering

Engineering Faculty

Rajni Patel

Rajni Patel

Engineering Director, CSTAR
Distinguished University Professor and Tier-1 Canada Research Chair
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering,
Cross Appointments: Department of Surgery and Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences
Western University

rvpatel@uwo.ca
Personal profile

Research Interests/Specializations:  My research interests and expertise are on the development of novel technologies incorporating robotics, haptics (sense of touch), teleoperation, multimodality sensing, smart materials, and intelligent systems for applications in minimally invasive surgery and therapy and surgical training and skills assessment. My recent work also includes the use of robotics and haptics for post-stroke rehabilitation, Parkinson's Disease and other movement disorders.

Michael Naish

Michael Naish

Associate Professor of Mechanical and Materials and Electrical and Computer Engineering at Western University and an Associate Scientist at CSTAR

mnaish@uwo.ca   
Personal profile

Research Interests/Specializations: My research involves the application of mechatronic principles to the design and development of systems and devices. Applying my background in both engineering and computer science, I am able to address highly interdisciplinary research in the areas of mechatronics, multisensor systems, robotics, design, and intelligent systems.

Ana Luisa Trejos

Ana Luisa Trejos

Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Western University and an Associate Scientist at CSTAR

atrejos@uwo.ca   
Personal profile

Research Interests/Specializations: My research interests include the design, integration and evaluation of mechatronic devices and systems for surgery, therapy and rehabilitation. This includes the development of smart devices for minimally invasive surgery and the design of wearable devices for the treatment of chronic pain. Another component of my research entails the development and evaluation of systems for surgical training and motor skills assessment.

Medical Faculty

Christopher Schlachta

Christopher Schlachta

Medical Director, CSTAR

Professor in the Departments of Surgery and Oncology, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University, Associate Scientist at CSTAR

christopher.schlachta@lhsc.on.ca   
Personal profile

Research Interests/Specializations: Clinical expertise in minimally invasive surgery and in particular laparoscopic and computer-assisted surgery for gastrointestinal diseases oncology. Advocates for advancing surgical technology to minimize the pain and suffering that surgery patients endure and to use computer technologies to enhance the surgeon’s capability.

His latest research endeavors are concerned with developing computer assisted technologies for simulation training while improving trainee engagement through serious games.

Bob Kiaii

Bob Kiaii

Associate Professor Department of Surgery Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University

bob.kiaii@lhsc.on.ca   
Personal profile

Research Interests/Specializations:  Minimally invasive cardiac surgery including surgical treatment of atrial fibrillation, mitral valve procedures, and coronary artery revascularization

Dr. Marie-Eve LeBel

Marie-Eve LeBel

Associate Professor Department of Surgery Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University

mlebel4@uwo.ca   
Personal profile

Research Interests/Specializations: Reconstructive surgery of the shoulder

Richard Malthaner

Richard Malthaner

Dr. Malthaner is the Chair/Chief Division of Thoracic Surgery. He is the Director of Thoracic Surgery Research and Professor in the Departments of Surgery, Oncology, and Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry and The University of Western Ontario. Dr. Malthaner is a scientist at the Lawson Health Research Institute and one of the founding members of Canadian Surgical Technologies and Advanced Robotics (CSTAR).

richard.malthaner@lhsc.on.ca   
Personal profile

Research Interests/Specializations:  Dr. Malthaner’s research is focused on translating minimally invasive robot assisted technologies developed at CSTAR into clinical practice.  One of the most promising treatment options is a minimally invasive treatment that involves the direct placement of therapeutic agents into lung cancers via robotic assistance.  This innovative treatment avoids major surgery, systemic chemotherapy, and conventional radiation, and allows for the precise, consistent and safe placement of therapeutic agents. The research is focused on the development of a small, low-cost, safe and versatile minimally invasive robot assisted system for tumour ablation therapies (MIRATAT). This system incorporates robotic arms, electromagnetic navigation, tactile imaging and real-time ultrasound tumour localization to allow accurate placement of delivery probes through a master-slave setup. Previous work at CSTAR has enabled his team to develop a lung tumour model for ultrasound image guidance; a three-dimensional minimally invasive surgical ultrasound for lung tumour imaging; an endoscopic device to locate tumours by palpation; a new device for robotic brachytherapy seed insertion; and electromagnetic needle guidance software.  Future work involves the building of our own robotic system for lung cancer therapy and testing the MIRATAT system using new modalities such as radiosensitizers, lasers, radiofrequency ablation, microwave therapy, cryotherapy, and gene therapy. With the hope of translating this research into the world’s first MIRATAT clinical procedure, this project represents renewed hope for the thousands of lung cancer patients who die needlessly each and every year.

Nawar Alkhamesi

Nawar Alkhamesi

Assisant Professor in the Department of Surgery, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University, Associate Scientist at CSTAR

nawar.alkhamesi@lhsc.on.ca   
Personal profile

Research Interests/Specializations: Specializing in minimally invasive colorectal and general surgery, Dr. Alkhamesi's research interests include surgical innovation and education, advanced minimally invasive and video-assisted surgery, colorectal oncology, and the improvement of the operative environment.