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Team Members:
  • Raphael Bechtold
  • Zachary Buono
  • Isabella Ferrara
  • Benjamin Garlow
  • Sean Glaister
  • Cristina Madalo
  • Jimmy Pitingolo
  • Niki Tselepidakis
  • Judy Huang, MD
  • Amir Manbachi, PhD
  • Henry Brem, MD
  • George Coles
  • Ian Suk, BSc, BMC
  • Jennifer Elisseeff, PhD
  • Anping Xie, PhD
  • Noah Gorelick, PhD
  • Camilo Molina, MD
  • Tom Benassi
  • Collin Shale


Neurosurgical operations are intensive medical procedures that often last several hours, during which the surgeon must be intensely focused to ensure a safe and successful outcome. Surgeons need to constantly have an unobscured view of the brain in order to be able to properly operate, and thus use a variety of tools to clear obstructions (like blood and fluid) from the operating area. Currently, cotton balls are the most versatile and effective option to accomplish this. They are able to absorb fluids, safely manipulate the brain, act as a barrier between other tools and the brain, and act as a spacer to keep areas of the brain open during the operation. While cotton balls allow neurosurgeons to effectively improve visibility of the operating area, they are also prone to being accidentally left in the brain upon completion of the surgery. This can cause a dangerous immune response in the patient, leading to discomfort, additional medical care or surgical operations, and potentially death. Our project seeks to develop a method to decrease the likelihood of these undesired post-operative risks by reducing the possibility of cotton balls being left in the brain, while still maintaining the ability to remove visually obstructive fluids from the operating area. We are currently pursuing the development of several methods to improve visualization of cotton in both the surface and interior environments of the brain, thereby decreasing the risk of unintended cotton retention after these operations.

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