BME Seminar: Engineering Accessible Soft Robots: from Surgical Devices to Societal Perceptions, Dr.Holly Golecki, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Monday, January 23, 2023
12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Floor/Room #


Dr. Holly Golecki, Faculty Candidate

Teaching Assistant Professor

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign


Engineering Accessible Soft Robots: from Surgical Devices to Societal Perceptions


Abstract: In this talk, Dr. Holly Golecki will discuss results of her NSF funded research program as a Teaching Faculty Member at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. Her work spans accessible robotics from education to implantation. One pillar of Dr. Golecki’s research program is development of new material strategies for soft robots. While the field of medical device design has made tremendous progress in recent decades, implantable devices continue to be plagued by the body’s immune response and fibrosis. To advance the use of soft robotics in medical devices, new materials that address both mechanical and chemical environments in vivo must be explored. We hypothesize that protein-based soft robotic actuators hold promise for implantable medical devices and surgical tools by not only matching moduli surrounding tissues but also providing physiologically relevant chemical cues. Next, Dr. Golecki will discuss her research in access to engineering. This work leverages mixed methods studies to understand and diversify the field of robotics across the continuum of education. Together, Dr. Golecki’s materials-based approach to soft robotics enables new biocompatible tools and new initiatives to inspire the next generation of innovators.

Biography: Holly Golecki, Ph.D  is a Teaching Assistant Professor in Bioengineering at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign and in the Biological and Translational Sciences Department at the Carle Illinois College of Medicine. She is a Core Faculty member at the Institute for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access in the Grainger College of Engineering. Dr. Golecki holds an Associate appointment in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. Dr. Golecki earned her BS and MS degrees in Materials Science and Engineering from Drexel University. She then earned her PhD in Bioengineering from Harvard University, developing biomaterials for engineered scaffolds in vivo. Specifically, she built manufacturing tools to fabricate fibrous protein scaffolds for wound healing applications. Dr. Golecki now uses her expertise in biomaterials applied to robotics. She runs an externally funded research group working in the areas of soft biorobots and engineering education research addressing the challenges faced when humans interact with robots by building accessible tools. Her research spans work engineering biomaterials in medical device design to developing new educational and analysis tools with the goal of increasing equity and access in research and engineering. 

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Biomedical Engineering
Contact Person
Ina Gjencaj