Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Common menu bar links

Past Winner
2017 Gilles Brassard Doctoral Prize for Interdisciplinary Research

NSERC Gilles Brassard Doctoral Prize for Interdisciplinary Research

NSERC Gilles Brassard Doctoral Prize for Interdisciplinary Research

Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Aerospace Engineering

Concordia University

Many of us will be touched by heart disease at some point in our life, whether it affects us personally or family and friends. In Canada, there are 2.4 million people over 20 years of age who live with diagnosed heart disease. Coronary artery stenosis (CAS), a blockage or narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the heart, is the most prevalent form. CAS is treated by guiding surgical instruments toward the blockage through a flexible catheter inserted into these critical blood vessels. This surgery is performed under live X-ray monitoring and exposes both patient and surgeon to health risks, such as X-ray exposure, orthopedic disorders, skin cancer and pregnancy problems.

To reduce such problems, robots are used to navigate the surgical tools, while the surgeon is at the controls a few metres away from the patient. The problem with these robotic solutions is that the surgeon controlling the robot loses the sense of touch and is unable to tell how much pressure or resistance the tools are encountering. This can lead to complications during surgery.

Amir Hooshiar, a PhD candidate and Vanier Scholar at Concordia University, is tackling this issue by developing the fundamental science and applying it to take into account the contact force between instruments and the vessels. He is incorporating live X-ray images in a fast computational model that will detect and analyze how a catheter is interacting with the vessel. Furthermore, he is developing a novel system that can relay to the surgeon the pressure and resistance from the robotic tools. His research will help in making the robot-assisted cardiovascular treatment safer and more reliable.

Amir Hooshiar
For additional information or to request photos of NSERC Prize Winners, please contact Media Relations.