WPI's response to the pandemic featured science, data, and a relentless focus on health and safety. Read more about how the university rallied its community to reconfigure the campus, build a health infrastructure, pivot the academic operation, and rethink the research enterprise, all in the service of WPI’s educational and research missions, in the latest WPI Journal.
Reinventing Larynx Surgeries
Assistant professor of robotics engineering Loris Fichera has developed an innovative robotic laser probe to allow for less invasive larynx surgeries, leading to shorter recovery times and cost savings as procedures are moved out of hospitals. Read more, and sign up for the research newsletter for the latest research news.
The ability of our biological tissues to adapt to their mechanical environment, and the ways in which our tissues are well suited for their own mechanical role within the body, is a constant source of wonder to me. I am interested in understanding the mechanical signals that are experienced within the skeleton during different types of physical activity, understanding what features of these signals stimulate bone to adapt its structure, and in developing noninvasive methods to quantify bone strength.
My research interests are in the application of robotics and computer science to enhance medicine, and particularly surgery. What gets me out of bed in the morning is the prospect of helping doctors save lives and improve the quality of life of their patients. My students and I work side-to-side with clinical collaborators to create technology that presents a tangible clinical value – for instance, making an existing surgical procedure more accurate or enabling new procedures that are not feasible with current instrumentation.
Micronutrient transition metals (copper, zinc, cobalt, nickel, iron, and manganese) play a central role in the interaction of pathogenic (and beneficial) bacteria with higher eukaryote hosts. Our research is directed to understand the bacterial mechanisms of metal homeostasis required for these interactions. In particular, we focus on the functions of transmembrane transporters and chaperone molecules that tightly control metal uptake and distribution.
My research program focuses on understanding and managing fungal diseases. We primarily study Candida albicans, an opportunistic pathogen and the most prevalent fungal pathogen of humans. It is responsible for common clinical problems including oral thrush and vaginitis, but can also lead to life-threatening systematic infections in immunocompromised individuals such as AIDS patients, resulting in 30-50% mortality rates. The estimated annual cost of treating nosocomial Candida infections exceeds $1 billion per year.
Campus in Photos
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