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IDEA Award: Shane Farritor and Dmitry Oleynikov

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Published on Apr 30, 2014

Innovation, Development and Engagement Award (IDEA): recognizes faculty members who have extended their academic expertise beyond the boundaries of the university in ways that have enriched the broader community.

Shane Farritor, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UNL.
Farritor leads UNL's Robotics and Mechatronics Lab, a research and education program focused on the innovative application of robotics technology. Working with Dr. Dmitry Oleynikov, professor of surgery at UNMC, Farritor helped create miniature surgical robots that can be inserted through a tiny incision and perform minimally invasive surgery that significantly reduce the patient's pain and recovery time. Their collaboration resulted in a new spinoff company, Virtual Incision Corp. Farritor also leads a team of UNL engineers that devised a method of measuring railroad track integrity to identify weak spots that might compromise railway safety. To date, more than 250,000 miles of railroad track have been tested. Not only have these innovations attracted significant research funding and national attention, they also have far-reaching applications and tangible public benefits.

Dmitry Oleynikov, M.D., Joseph and Richard Still Endowed Professor of Surgery in the Department of Surgery, director of the Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery, and director of the Center for Advanced Surgical Technology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Oleynikov, who is widely published and has led multiple externally funded research projects, is one of UNMC's most internationally recognized scientists. In collaboration with UNL's Shane Farritor, Oleynikov has led a team that combines the experience of surgical practice with the exceptional problem-solving skills of the engineering profession. The results have been a radical departure from existing surgical technology: the surgical robotic device they have developed is miniature, mobile, remotely controlled and fits entirely inside the abdominal cavity. The partnership between Oleynikov and Farritor has resulted in multiple patents and technology commercialization and is widely recognized as a model for cross-campus collaboration. Oleynikov's lab is open to engineers and is actively used to promote the medical-engineering relationship to other faculty, donors and funding agencies.

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