PhD in Biomedical Engineering – Testimonial by Marek Zelechowski

I’m a PhD student at the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Basel, and my project involves working with augmented and virtual reality. I started one and a half years ago as an intern, and then, after six months, I transitioned to conduct my own PhD research at the Planning & Navigation Group of the MIRACLE project. I come from Poland. I finished my master in Poland and in the UK. I have a double degree in biomedical engineering. Then my girlfriend decided to do a PhD in Basel, and I thought this might be a good career move for me, too. So I have started looking for a position. The Department of Biomedical Engineering has a strong Image Analysis Group. So I have applied for an internship and after six months I transitioned to a PhD project with Philippe Cattin’s group here in the MIRACLE project. The MIRACLE project involves developing a minimal invasive robot-assisted computer-guided endoscope to cut bones inside the patient’s body. The project consists of four groups: Robotics Group, Lasers, Smart Implants and Planning & Navigation. The Robotics Group is responsible for developing an endoscope, how to actuate it and to move it inside the patient’s body. The Lasers Group is responsible for the cutting of the bones; so they are developing a laser plus the cooling system to cut the bones inside the patient. The Smart Implants Group will then create a custom-made implant that will replace the missing bone parts. And we, at the Planning & Navigation Group, are responsible for the visualization and positioning of the endoscope inside the patient’s body. So we want to overlay the position of the endoscope with the CT data that we have obtained preoperatively. We are part of the Faculty of Medicine and we have medical advisers at the university which told us what the current challenges in this procedure are. Plus, what are the limitations and what kind of dimensions do we have to restrict ourselves to? Then we get a monthly feedback on the current progress. That’s how our collaboration works. We have a computer scientist; I’m a biomedical engineer; we have physicists; we have also a lot of robotics engineers in the Robotics Group. So we have a variety of specialists from different fields. I really like Basel. I think it is a great introduction to Switzerland A lot of people speak English. It is very close to the mountains; one and a half hours if you want to go skiing. It’s close to Germany, it’s close to France if you want to spend your weekend in one of the cities around. Then there is an airport that offers a lot of good connections to all the cities in Europe. Also, the Rhine is a great place to spend your weekend. This is a big plus for the city: this international community and being close to everything.

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