Skip to main content
KBS_Icon_questionmark link-ico

Surgical & Interventional Engineering


Innovation in surgical technology through engineering and clinical integration.

The Department of Surgical & Interventional Engineering is new to the School of Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Sciences. Our mission is to bring together engineering and clinical experts to develop new surgical and interventional technologies for a wide range of clinical applications with a focus on combining diagnostic information to support image-guidance during procedures. 

At the School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences, we are proud to have unique partnerships between education, healthcare and industry. This way we are better poised to identify key needs in our healthcare systems and swiftly address them, ensuring that our innovations go from bench-to-bedside in a reduced timeframe. Through our unique infrastructure and research facilities, embedded in one of the UK’s most research active NHS Foundation trusts, we are in a powerful position to deliver on our mission of engineering better health.

Professor Sebastien Ourselin FREng, Head of School, Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences


Core Facilities & Infrastructure  

SIE Validation Suite

The SIE Validation Suite is a unique combination of an Integration Room, a versatile laboratory space where researchers can setup complex novel medical systems into fully integrated platforms, and an Intervention Room, a state-of-the-art simulated operative theatre where the technology can be deployed and tested on post-mortem models in a realistic surgical environment. The OR is fully shielded to allow use of mobile CT arms and lasers and equipped with large-value and specialised equipment for a number of surgical applications. The Suite can also be used for surgical training and features a Control Room with an AV system allowing recording of camera feeds within the OR and live streaming to the adjacent seminar room.


Hardware Development Workshop

The largest workshop in the SIE facility is the hardware development workshop, which is a general-purpose workshop allowing researchers and students to build their experimental rigs. It has several general-use workbenches for the researchers to produce their parts. Most research hardware is assembled here for production of surgical robots, sensors, implantable devices, phantoms and components for ultrasound and optical imaging systems. There are also facilities for manufacturing some of the parts inside the workshop. The room is also equipped with a water purifying system, a soldering station, a resin SLA 3D printer, digital microscope, two recirculatory fume hoods and equipment to make resin, silicones and other parts that require the use of high-precision scales, mixers, vacuum pump and chamber.


Manufacture of Active Implants and Surgical Instruments

MAISI is a national facility for the Manufacture of Active Implants and Surgical Instruments, located at St Thomas’ MedTech Hub. We aim to streamline the clinical translation of healthcare engineering research and address the lack of specialised and regulated manufacturing facilities within healthcare settings.



Our Areas of Research

The Computational Modelling theme comprises research on simulation-guided design of novel medical devices and in-silico optimisation of therapeutic interventions, patient-specific image-based simulations for personalised therapy planning and risk stratification, and biophysically-detailed modelling for increased mechanistic pathological understanding.

  1. Computational modelling for elastography: Our supervisors and their teams collaborate with Siemens to simulate tissue pressure response for the design of novel elastography transducers
  2. Simulating hypothesised procedures: Our cohorts will be able to work on H2020 funded projects on in silico evaluation of novel interventions and the assessment of their therapeutic outcomes
  3. Surgical outcome characterisation: We develop computational anatomy models to compare and characterise surgical techniques in reconstructive interventions of cardiac anatomy
  4. Resynchronisation therapy planning: Funded by NIHR, we investigate image optimisation and surgical guidance for next generation wireless endocardial resynchronisation therapy

The Computer-Assisted Interventions theme comprises computational research to support the development of novel pre-operative planning, intra-operative guidance, peri-operative data fusion, augmented visualisation, post-operative assessment, as well as interventional skills and workflow analysis. Beyond algorithms, the theme aims at generating artificial surgical intelligence. Exemplar research topics:

  1. Decision support tools for neurosurgery: Funded by a Wellcome/EPSRC Innovation Programme Grant, our teams develop semi-supervised surgical planning tools to guide electrode placement for epilepsy treatment
  2. Interventional workflow analysis: Our students and supervisors work in surgical data sciences to develop tools and algorithms for improved ergonomics and streamlined procedures
  3. AI for the operating theatre of the future: Intra-operatively, computational techniques condense the information stemming from multiple sources such as classical interventional and pre-operative imaging but also novel imaging and sensing devices. Our research unveils new actionable knowledge by combining and better exploiting information sources
  4. Exploitation of pre-reconstruction data: Funded by EPSRC, our students and supervisors work on the development of ultrasound- or photonics-based tissue characterisation techniques exploiting low-level pre-reconstruction data for bespoke and off-the-shelf sensing instrumentation

The Theranostics and Materials theme supports novel interventional surgical approaches with functionalised instrumentation and new chemical entities that diagnose and treat diseases with extreme precision and without invasiveness ("surgery-without-the-knife").

  1. Theranostics for micro-wave hyperthermia: Our researchers are supported by the European Nanotechnology characterisation lab to work on contrast & therapy agents for tumour targeting
  2. Nanomaterials for tissue regeneration: The ERC sponsors work on strategies to target epicardial progenitor cells following myocardial infraction to promote the regeneration of contractile tissue
  3. Implantable tissue scaffolds: Supported by Wellcome, our students and supervisors engineer tissue scaffolds that are surgically implanted to repair or replace damaged tissue
  4. Piezo-resistive tactile elements: Our researchers investigate carbon- and silicon-based materials to create arrays of pressure-sensing elements that cover neurosurgical endoscopes (ERC)

Smart Sensors and Actuators comprises of research on novel instrumentation for in situ tissue characterisation in intervention and surgery, dexterity enhancement, and precision catheter-like robots that navigate the tortuous human anatomy to reach deep seated pathologies.

  1. Sub-centimetre surgical robots: Supported by ERC, we develop an exteroceptive flexible robot that navigates in the orbital cavity to conduct surgery in the optic nerve area
  2. Disposable teleoperated endoscope: In collaboration with Tianjin U (China), our students research soft telemanipulated robot endoscopes for cost-effective GI screening (EPSRC GCRF)
  3. In-vivo molecular diagnostic sensors: Our supervisors developed and commercialised real-time "Raman endoscopes" for non-invasive in-vivo optical biopsies (Endofotonics PFE Ltd). We are pushing this technology to fibre-based endoscopes for deep seated tumour identification
  4. Ultrasound probe development: Via Wellcome and EPSRC support, our teams develop ultra-thin ultrasound probes for needle tracking and en face visualization of tissue during needle insertion
  5. Ultra-thin endomicroscope for in vivo tissue characterisation: Via Wellcome and EPSCR support, we are developing ultra-thin, realtime photoacoustic and fluorescence endomicroscopy probes that can provide 3D microstructual, functional and molecular information of tissue for optical biopsy


Our Researchers


Our Research Groups


Surgical & Interventional Engineering Centre for Doctoral Training

Our CDT in Surgical & Interventional Engineering is an innovative three-and-a-half year program in the heart of London. We bring together a world-class multidisciplinary team to deliver translational research and transform patient pathways. Learn more about the SIECDT.

News and Events