Project proposals

We welcome students from all backgrounds…

… who are excited to work in a multidisciplinary environment! We have previously accepted students from Bioengineering, Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Chemical Engineering, and Microengineering.

When you contact us, please provide information on your background, and send your resume and transcript.

Microengineering of a dexterous probe for neural interventions (Masters thesis)

Description:Traditional rigid instruments, while accurate, remain restricted in their ability to navigate delicate and structurally complex soft tissues such as the brain. Steerable devices have made strides in maneuverability, yet their motion capabilities within cerebral regions remain constrained. We have recently introduced a novel ribbon-shaped soft robotic device that can autonomously penetrate and navigate soft tissues. The project involves further miniaturisation of the device using cleanroom microfabrication techniques and the integration of various sensors for measuring tissue mechanics as a means to diagnose various pathologies.

Keywords: design, microfabrication, mechanical testing

Workload: 100% experimental
Contact: Mehdi Gadiri

Bioengineering living machines (Masters thesis)

Description: Thanks to progress in tissue engineering, all organic machines are in reach. The objective of this project is to optimize tissue culture protocols to obtain epithelial coated tissues with stable, reproducible shapes for the biomachine assembly. Tasks will mainly include experimental work (cell culture, microscopy) and image analysis (Python or MATLAB).

Keywords: cell culture, tissue engineering, microscopy, image analysis

Workload: 70% experimental, 30% computer vision
Contact: Adrien Mery

Controller for a medical robotic navigation system (Masters thesis)

Description: Magnetic catheters are long and flexible tubes that are inserted inside the brain vessels and are steered using external magnetic fields. The objective of this project is to program and validate a custom magnetic robotic navigation system that is designed for human scale interventions. Tasks will mainly include programming (python) a commercial robotic arm and its custom magnetic end effector, and ultimately validating the performances in laboratory and clinical settings.

Keywords: magnetics, robotics, kinematics

Workload: 80% programming, 20% experiments
Contact: Lucio Pancaldi

Pose estimation for a robotic instrument in soft gels (Semester project)

Description: The project involves the development of a software that accurately estimates the 3D pose of a robotically actuated ribbon-shaped instrument inside soft and transparent gels using dual-camera vision. The pose will then be used to improve the control of the device during navigation. The code will be developed using C++/Python with OpenCV.

Keywords: image analysis, software development

Workload: 100% programming
Contact: Lorenzo Noseda

Shear flow deformation cytometry (Masters thesis)

Description: Deformation cytometry allow a high throughput analysis of the mechanical properties of a cell population. The objective of this project is to establish the experimental setup and its analysis pipeline of a deformability cytometry. Tasks will involve cell culture, assembling the microfluidic circuit, acquire the microscopy images and analyzing the data with a U-net neural network.

Keywords: microfluidics, cell mechanics, image analysis, neural network

Workload: 50% experimental, 50% computer vision
Contact: Adrien Mery

Microfabrication of endovascular microcatheters (Masters thesis)

Description: Catheters are long and flexible tubes that are navigated inside the brain vessels. The objective of this project is to manufacture the smallest microcatheters (size of human hair) that are navigated in microscopic arteries. Tasks will include microfabrication in laboratory, validation and characterization of the devices, and ultimately tests in in vitro and clinical settings.

Keywords: manufacturing, design, mechanical testing

Workload: 100% experimental
Contact: Lucio Pancaldi

Development of fluidic components for embryo culture (Semester project)

Description: The objective of this project is to enhance an existing culture platform by introducing an elastomer joint and valve to maintain the platform airtight. The student will engage in the comprehensive process of designing, fabricating, and testing fluidic systems. This innovation aims to provide researchers with a reliable tool for maintaining optimal culture conditions for mouse embryos, fostering advancements in developmental biology and drug discovery.

Keywords: design, manufacturing, fluid mechanics

Workload: 100% experimental
Contact: Lorenzo Noseda

Development of a micropipette force sensor (Masters thesis)

Description: Micropipette force sensors (MFS) can be used to detect a wide range of forces (pN to mN) at various length scales (µm to mm). The goal of this project is to develop the protocol to fabricate and manipulate MFS to be used in mechanobiology context, with the microsurgery platform developed at MICROBS. The work will involve glass micropipette forging, microscopy, robotic manipulation and programing (Python) and the CAD of the associated attachment.

Keywords: robotic micromanipulation, glass forging, microscopy, mechanobiology

Workload: 80% experimental, 20% computer vision
Contact: Adrien Mery

Simulation of soft tissue fracture (Master thesis)

Description: The student will work on the modeling and simulation of brain tissue fracture caused by the insertion of a small-scale robotic device towards brain interventions. The project will involve identifying and adapting existing crack propagation FEM models, and implementing novel features.

Keywords: finite element modelling, continuum mechanics

Workload: 100% simulation
Contact: Lorenzo Noseda

Optimization of MEMS Pressure Sensors for Endovascular Applications (Masters thesis)

Description: The integration of microfabrication techniques in medical devices has been transformative, yet the challenge of creating highly sensitive, miniaturized sensors for endovascular applications remains. The development of these sensors is pivotal in advancing the diagnosis and treatment of coronary artery disease. At our lab, we have initiated a project to optimize MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) pressure sensors, focusing on their application in endovascular guidewires. The project aims to refine various aspects of sensor design to enhance sensitivity and reliability. As a part of our team, you will work closely with experts in microfabrication and biomedical engineering. Your primary responsibility will be to develop and implement strategies for optimizing sensor components. This will involve extensive work in cleanroom environments (CMi), conducting experiments to tweak and test different sensor configurations, and performing rigorous characterization to assess performance improvements.

Keywords: MEMS, pressure sensor, microfabrication, biomedical engineering

Workload: 100% experimental
Contact: Mehdi Gadiri

Development of an ex utero culture platform (Master thesis)

Description: We have recently developed an ex utero culture platform that allows to grow embryos outside the belly. The project aims to explore innovative approaches to entirely reshape this culture platform, introducing novel features and mechanisms that would fully automatise the culture procedure and significantly increase the throughput. The project involves mechanical design, integration of mechanical and fluidic elements with sensors and actuators, programming for automation, and extensive characterization with living specimen.

Keywords: design, manufacturing, mechatronics, biomechanics

Workload: 100% experimental
Contact: Lorenzo Noseda

3D Printing of Flexible Microstructures for Acoustic Microrobots (Semester project)

Description: Sound waves can be used for the wireless manipulation of small structures submerged in fluids. Air bubbles, for example, are efficient transducers that generate forces via interactions with the external pressure waves and the surrounding medium. Direct laser writing is ideally suited to fabricate acoustically actuated complex mechanical microsystems. In this project, the student will work in the cleanroom (CMi) to optimize the procedure for printing microstructures from a silicone elastomer. Printed structures will be tested using our unique acoustic actuation platform. A large design space will be explored, which will allow the student to gain first-hand experience on advanced manufacturing and soft microrobotics.

Keywords: acoustics, 3D printing, microfabrication

Workload: 100% experimental
Contact: Junsun Hwang

Development of an In-vitro Fluidic Test Platform for Endovascular Instruments (Masters thesis)

Description: The evolution of medical diagnostics is heavily reliant on the precision and reliability of testing platforms. In the realm of endovascular sensor development, the creation of an in-vitro fluidic test platform is crucial for simulating coronary artery conditions and evaluating sensor performance. You will engage in the hands-on assembly of the platform, followed by a series of calibration and optimization processes. Your role will be instrumental in establishing a robust test environment, including phantom fabrication,  the development of control systems for flow and pressure, and sensors integration.

Keywords: fluid dynamics, mechatronics, biomedical engineering

Workload: 100% experimental
Contact: Mehdi Gadiri