University of Waterloo
Engineering 5 (E5), 6th Floor
Phone: 519-888-4567 ext.32600
Autonomously moving microrobots that can be controlled remotely have enormous potential for innovative biomedical applications such as non-invasive surgery, drug delivery or cell manipulation. This talk will present different approaches to the development of such wireless microrobots, ranging from biohybrid to bioinspired systems. Biohybrid and biomimetic approaches are very attractive because they exploit the naturally optimized designs and propulsion sources of biological swimmers. The combination of biological and artificial components for the development of biohybrid microrobots brings many interesting features, such as on-board energy supply, movement under complex physiological conditions and the ability to perform relevant biomedical tasks. First, biohybrid robots based on the integration of sperm cells as a source of propulsion and as templates for flexible robots will be presented, which have potential especially in the field of reproductive medicine. Remotely controlled capture, guidance, and release of individual motile sperm cells as well as biochemical manipulation of cells will be demonstrated. I will also demonstrate the potential of such so-called spermbots for drug delivery and in vivo imaging. Inspired by these tiny swimmers, we fabricate sperm-like flexible magnetic robots for various medical purposes. Finally, the main potential impact of such microrobots in the fields of regenerative medicine and non-invasive surgery will be highlighted.
Dr. Veronika Magdanz studied Biotechnology at the TU Braunschweig and Chemical Engineering at University of Waterloo, before she started her PhD at the Institute for Integrative Nanosciences, IFW Dresden (Germany) on the development of biohybrid microrobots. After graduating with summa cum laude from the TU Dresden in 2016, she received funding by the German Research Foundation´s Excellence Initiative to pursue further her interests in research on sperm migration and developing novel diagnostic microrobotic tools. In 2020, she was awarded a Humboldt fellowship to join the Smart Nanobiodevices group at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) in Barcelona. Since 2021 she has been La Caixa Junior Leader at IBEC focusing her research on flexible, bioinspired magnetic robots for biomedical applications. Veronika is a truly interdisciplinary scientist with expertise in nanotechnology, engineering, robotics, material science, chemistry and biology. Her main goal is to advance the development of microrobots for biomedical applications.