Patrick Jensen, 33
Johns Hopkins University
The eye is one of Nature’s great engineering feats--a delicate combination of optics, mechanics and electronics. For biomedical engineer Patrick Jensen, healing sick or blinded eyes is an opportunity to display similar virtuosity.
As co-director of the MADLab, the Microsurgery Advanced Design Lab at Johns Hopkins University’s Wilmer Eye Institute, Jensen works to join electromechanics, optics and software in order to extend the limits of the surgeon’s perception and dexterity. One example: force-feedback robotic systems that speed up operations and make them safer by enabling surgeons to "feel" the fragile retina as they repair it. Jensen’s lab is a key player in a 10-year,National Science Foundation-sponsored collaboration with MIT and Carnegie Mellon on computer-enhanced surgery.
Unlike researchers who invent new technology and then go looking for applications, says Matthew Glucksberg, who heads the Northwestern University bioengineering lab where Jensen did graduate studies, "Patrick’s real strength as a technologist is that he sees the physiological problem." Jensen also knows what it takes to see new inventions into clinical use; the MADLab works closely with commercial partners and has licensed 30 products.