Huddle with the Faculty: Will a Robot be Training Your Next Surgeon?

See one. Do one. Teach one. It’s how we’ve always trained our doctors. High fidelity simulators, however, have allowed us to add “Try lots on a simulator” in between “See one” and “Do one.” Drs. David Han, Scarlett Miller, and Jason Moore are a research team studying the training of surgeons at Penn State Hershey Medical Center. This collaborative effort leverages the individual talents and resources of each of the investigators in designing, developing, and testing a novel robotic simulator used to teach procedural skills to our surgeons-in-training. While robots have already firmly established a role in “Seeing one” and “Doing one,” this research being done in the Colleges of Medicine and Engineering enables robotic simulators to “Teach one,” improving training and allowing the learner to achieve better outcomes in a more efficient manner.

Dr. Han is a vascular surgeon and professor of surgery and radiology at Penn State College of Medicine. He has served as Program Director of the training programs in both vascular and general surgery at Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

Dr. Miller is an associate professor of engineering design and industrial engineering at Penn State College of Engineering. She is the director of the britelab where her work focuses on Bridging Research in Innovation, Technology and Engineering. Specifically, the lab focuses on developing innovative medical products using user-centered design techniques and supporting the innovation process with new technologies. Dr. Miller has been recognized for her research in several ways, including an NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award and the James F. Will Career Development Professorship.

Dr. Moore is an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Penn State College of Engineering. He is the director of the Precision Medical Instrument Design Laboratory. Dr. Moore’s research includes studying the interaction between medical instruments and bone and tissue in the body and utilizing mechatronics to improve medical training and physical therapy devices.


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The Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at Penn State is one of the nation’s largest and most successful engineering departments. We serve more than 1,000 undergraduate students and more than 330 graduate students

We offer B.S. degrees in mechanical engineering and nuclear engineering as well as resident (M.S., Ph.D.) and online (M.S., M.Eng.) graduate degrees in nuclear engineering and mechanical engineering. MNE's strength is in offering hands-on experience in highly relevant research areas, such as energy, homeland security, biomedical devices, and transportation systems.

Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering

137 Reber Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-865-2519