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RBE Colloquium Series: Dr. Junichi Tokuda | MRI as a sensory device for medical robotics


Various images of robots at Robotics Engineering WPI alt
WPI Robotics Engineering
Friday, December 03, 2021
2:00 pm to 3:00 pm

Robotics Engineering Colloquium Series



Dr. Junichi Tokuda

Department of Radiology, Brigham and Women's Hospital


MRI as a sensory device for medical robotics


Friday, December 3, 2021

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Virtual | Zoom:


Abstract: Robotics has the great potential to improve the safety and efficacy of clinical diagnosis and treatment when combined with state-of-the-art medical imaging. There has been a steady clinical interest in using a robotic device in a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner to sample specimens from or deliver treatment to an abnormal lesion precisely in many parts of the body, including the prostate, liver, kidney, breast, and brain. The combination of robot and MRI allows physicians to take advantage of MRI’s ability to obtain a high-quality image without ionizing radiation and the robot’s ability to position a surgical instrument in a narrow gantry space of the MRI scanner. To date, many groups have developed robotic systems that work in the MRI environment where strong electromagnetic fields are present without disturbing them. While most of them use MRI simply as a tool to obtain geometric information about the target lesion and the surrounding areas, MRI can provide far more information beyond geometry. This lecture will review the development and clinical application of existing robotic systems for MRI-guided diagnosis and treatment and discuss how advanced MRI technologies could further enhance their potential to improve the safety and efficacy of diagnosis and treatment.

Bio: Junichi Tokuda is a research scientist at the Department of Radiology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. As a computer scientist, he has contributed to the biomedical research field by developing and clinically evaluating novel computational, robotic, and imaging technologies that assist in diagnosis and treatment. He is particularly interested in technologies to support image-guided “closed-loop” interventions, where images are used for planning a procedure, guiding tools, and monitoring and confirming treatment effects to provide safe and effective diagnosis and treatment. Those technologies include software platforms for image-guided and robot-assisted interventions, MRI-compatible manipulators that enable accurate needle placement in internal organs for biopsies and minimally-invasive ablation treatments, and new intraprocedural MR imaging techniques to monitor ablations. Throughout his career in the field, he has been working closely with clinical collaborators, including clinicians, technologists, and nurses in the hospital. The regular conversations with them and the proximity to patient care allow him to discover unmet needs and adopt new technologies to the clinical practice. He has been playing major roles in several clinical trials and published in scientific journals. He is currently an Associate Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School. As a Principal Investigator, he is leading several research projects funded by the National Institutes of Health and industry. Before joining the BWH/HMS community in 2007, he received undergraduate and graduate training at the University of Tokyo, Japan, and obtained a B.S. in Engineering and M.S. and Ph.D. in Information and Science and Technology.

Find out more: Watch previous RBE Colloquia on the Robotics Engineering Colloquium Stream channel.