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EDEN2020 – EU Research Grant for Advanced Needles for Robotic Neurosurgery

03 December 2015

Prof. Sarthak Misra, a researcher from the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), has been awarded a European grant of EUR 713,000 for EDEN2020 (An Enhanced Delivery Ecosystem for Neurosurgery in 2020). This will enable him to conduct research over the next four years into the development of flexible needles equipped with sensors for robotic neurosurgery. Prof. Misra’s research is part of the European project EDEN2020, in which he joins forces with researchers from seven European universities and medical institutions. EDEN2020 is funded by EU commission (Horizon2020).

A minimally invasive neurosurgical procedure, e.g., inserting a needle into the brain to take a biopsy of a brain tumour, must be performed with extreme precision. MRI can be used to determine the exact location of a tumour or other damage to the brain, but even a tiny movement of the head can cause the needle to miss its target. Furthermore, it is not possible to know the exact location of the needle in the brain during the neurosurgical procedure.

Flexible robotic needle steering

Prof. Misra intends to use the EDEN2020 grant to develop a robotic needle steering system that is equipped with miniaturized sensors. With the aid of fiber optic sensors that will be integrated on the needle, it will be possible to determine the exact location of the needle with extreme accuracy. Furthermore, the surgeon will be able to determine the path of the needle in 3D. The thin needle will be flexible and, in contrast to needles today, will be better able to manoeuvre through tissue, thus avoiding sensitive tissue. The needle that Prof. Misra and the EDEN2020 team will be developing can travel deep into the body.

Prof. Misra has been researching robotically steering flexible needles and their application for some time already. In his work at MIRA, the University of Twente’s research centre for Biomedical Technology and Technical Medicine, he is developing a robotic system that uses flexible needles to inject magnetic particles into the human body, thus enabling the precise administration of drugs. Since 2014, Misra has also been working at the UMCG, where one aspect of his work is collaborating with the Departments of Neurosurgery and Radiology that allows him to use knowledge and experience from clinical practice in his research.


Prof. Misra’s research is part of the European project EDEN2020, in which eight European research institutes are collaborating under the leadership of Imperial College London. The project has received EUR 8.4 million in funding from the European Union’s research and innovation programme Horizon2020.

About the researcher

Prof. Sarthak Misra studied mechanical engineering at McGill University in Montreal (Canada) and worked for three years on the International Space Station for MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates. He was awarded his PhD degree from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore (USA) in 2009. Prof. Misra has been a researcher at the UMCG since 2014. In addition, he has works in the Department of Biomechanical Engineering at the University of Twente since 2009, where he leads the Surgical Robotics Lab, which is affiliated to MIRA. He received a Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) in 2015 and a Veni grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) in 2010. He is interested in the modelling and control of electro-mechanical systems for medical applications. More information can be found on the website of the Surgical Robotics Lab:

The UMCG’s partners in the EDEN2020 project are Imperial College London, Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Technische Universität München, Politecnico di Milano, Renishaw Plc and Xograph Healthcare Ltd.

Last modified:12 March 2020 9.46 p.m.
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