Sarthak Misra receives ERC Consolidator Grant

| Michaela Nesvarova

UT professor Sarthak Misra has received the ERC Consolidator Grant in the amount of € 2.35 million. The grant was awarded for his project MAESTRO, which aims to develop surgical robots controlled by sound waves.

Photo by: Gijs van Ouwerkerk

Sarthak Misra runs the Surgical Robotics Lab at the UT Department of Biomechanical Engineering (Faculty of Engineering Technology). He is the second UT scientist to receive the ERC Consolidator Grant this year, alongside Marielle Stoelinga. Misra was not on the initial list of grant recipients, but was officially added yesterday.

‘I’m extremely pleased and happy,’ says the professor. ‘A lot of work went into the proposal. Making such a proposal is almost like making a movie. And now I have the opportunity to do everything I’ve ever dreamt of doing. I’m extremely excited to start this journey.’

'Snake-like robots' 

Misra was given the grant for project MAESTRO (Magneto-Acoustically Engineered Steerable Robots) that will develop a new type of robotic system for minimally invasive surgeries. ‘Devices that are currently used and researched are controlled mechanically and by cables. We will work on instruments that are controlled wirelessly and by sound waves – acoustically,’ he explains.  

The result should be ‘flexible devices that resemble snakes’,  clarifies the scientist. ‘These flexible robots will go inside the body and release micro or nano-robots which we will also design and fabricate. The primary application would therefore be minimally invasive surgeries. The devices could be used to access areas that are hard to get to for surgeons, such as the gastrointestinal tract, lungs or the area around the heart.’

Sarthak Misra will start working on the MAESTRO project next year, after finishing projects funded by the ERC Proof of Concept grant he received in 2017 and the ERC Starting grant that the scientist got in 2014.

erc consolidator grant

ERC (European Research Council) Consolidator Grants are annually awarded to excellent scientists who want to consolidate their own independent research team or programme.