Maziyar Askari

“I am motivated to translate novel computer-aided surgical technologies from benchtop to bedside.”

Hometown: Isfahan, Iran

Year: Fourth-year PhD student

Program: Electrical and Computer Engineering

Mission Areas: BiotechnologySystems and Sensors

Lab: Integrated Imaging and Cyberphysical System Laboratory 

Advisor: Yang Liu, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering

What do you do at the University? 

I am a full-time student at the University of Iowa, working on my PhD dissertation. My research is centered around augmented realty, intraoperative imaging, and computer-aided surgery. As part of my research over the past three years, I have been working on two human subject clinical studies at Cleveland Clinic. The studies are aimed at improving the accuracy of diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients, specifically breast cancer and melanoma.

What do you work on and what do you enjoy most about your work? 

Currently, I am working on novel intraoperative imaging and augmented reality systems. These systems have the potential to improve surgical accuracy, simplify surgical workflow, and reduce surgery costs.  In addition, I am working on multimodal imaging for medical and industrial applications, including a recent work on temperature screening for COVID patients. I particularly enjoy the co-design of hardware and software which creates a versatile platform for solving clinical problems. I am motivated to translate novel computer-aided surgical technologies from benchtop to bedside.

What achievements are you most proud of? 

During my PhD study, I have been fortunate to have a chance to collaborate with surgeons from Cleveland Clinic and the University of Iowa hospitals, who are pioneers in image-guided surgery. Through this collaboration I was able to work on designing and building systems that can offer tangible improvements in medical interventions. Experiencing the direct impact of research on patients' quality of life, makes me most proud of the time and effort I have dedicated thus far, and most motivated to continue on this path.

What are your goals for the future? What do you hope to be doing professionally in 10 years?

My near-term goal is to finish the clinical studies and get the technology closer to approval for use in current standard of care, as well as applying them to new research studies. I am also focusing on finishing my PhD dissertation next year. My greatest hope for long term is being able to stay involved with research and dedicate my knowledge and skills to the advancement of medical research.