From keyhole to pinhole

‘You cannot simply develop new technology and then check if it is suitable. You have to take the needs of the clinicians as your basis’

Jenny Dankelman, Professor of Minimally Invasive Surgery and Intervention Techniques

Professor Jenny Dankelman is Professor of Minimally Invasive Surgery and Intervention Techniques in the faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering (3mE). In May 2014, she was one of 11 Medical Delta professors appointed. These are dual appointments at TU Delft, Leiden University and/or Erasmus University Rotterdam that are intended to form a bridge between the medical world and the world of technology. ‘This combination offers real added value,’ says Professor Dankelman.

The Aula building played host to a unique ceremony on 12 June: eleven newly appointed Medical Delta professors held a marathon inaugural lecture before an audience of hundreds of academics, medics, entrepreneurs and other interested parties. Together, they presented a summary of the latest developments in medical technology, ranging from 3D prints of the human body for surgeons to practice on to proton therapy for more targeted radiation of tumours. Medical Delta is a Zuid-Holland-based consortium of universities, medical centres, businesses and government agencies that aims to bring innovation to healthcare.

Professor Jenny Dankelman has been affiliated with TU Delft for thirty years and is now also professor at the Leiden University Medical Centre. It could just as easily have been the Erasmus Medical Centre, she emphasises: ‘We work in alliance with the Erasmus a lot, as well as with the Reinier de Graaf Gasthuis and the AMC Amsterdam, but there is currently more contact between my group and Leiden.’ What matters most is the mutual cooperation, because it is indispensable for the development of biomedical technology. ‘You cannot simply develop new technology and then check if it is suitable. You have to take the needs of the clinicians as your basis.’

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