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Leading Biomedical Engineer Joins Children’s National

January 14, 2011

Washington, DC– Children’s National Medical Center announced the appointment of Raj Shekhar, PhD, as principal investigator in the Bioengineering Initiative of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. A research professor, engineer, and entrepreneur, Dr. Shekhar will join the Institute’s interdisciplinary bioengineering team to focus on surgery innovations involving the fusion of various current surgical and medical imaging technologies.

“The next set of surgery innovations will change how surgeons see their operating field,” said Kurt Newman, MD, senior vice president for the Joseph E. Robert, Jr., Center for Surgical Care and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. “Dr. Shekhar’s work, which will build software and technology that allows a surgeon to see as much detail as possible while in the operating room, will make surgery more precise and less invasive.”

One of Dr. Shekhar’s first projects will overlay ultrasound images on top of real-time laparoscopic images during surgery. The result is a multi-dimensional view of the body that allows the surgeon to see not only the immediate surgical field, but the tissues, arteries, organs, and bones that lay beneath the visual surface.

“The traditional timeline for biomedical engineering is quite drawn out, with engineers developing a prototype then waiting for clinical feedback,” said Dr. Shekhar. “At the Sheikh Zayed Institute engineers like myself have the unprecedented opportunity to work side by side with physicians to gain continuous feedback from the beginning, which means more efficient and effective technology development for pediatrics.”

Prior to joining the Institute, Dr. Shekhar was an associate professor of Diagnostic Radiology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore and an affiliate professor of Bioengineering and Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is also the founder of IGI Technologies, a medical imaging technology startup. Dr. Shekhar received his doctorate in biomedical engineering from Ohio State University and a master’s degree in bioengineering from Arizona State University. He has authored or coauthored more than 75 scientific papers, including nearly 40 published in peer-reviewed journals. He holds five U.S. patents.

Made possible by a $150 million gift from the Government of Abu Dhabi, the Sheikh Zayed Institute combines unparalleled innovation and team science to revolutionize four key areas: pain medicine, immunology, bioengineering, and personalized medicine. While other institutions also pursue developments in these topics, the Institute is the first to join research and clinical practice across the four simultaneously with a focus on pediatric surgery.

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Contact: Jennifer Stinebiser or Emily Dammeyer: 202-476-4500.

About Children's National Health System

Children’s National Health System, based in Washington, D.C., has served the nation’s children since 1870. Children’s National is one of the nation’s Top 5 pediatric hospitals and, for a second straight year, is ranked No. 1 in newborn care, as well as ranked in all specialties evaluated by U.S. News & World Report. It has been designated two times as a Magnet® hospital, a designation given to hospitals that demonstrate the highest standards of nursing and patient care delivery. This pediatric academic health system offers expert care through a convenient, community-based primary care network and specialty outpatient centers in the D.C. Metropolitan area, including the Maryland suburbs and Northern Virginia. Home to the Children’s Research Institute and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, Children’s National is the seventh-highest NIH-funded pediatric institution in the nation. Children’s National is recognized for its expertise and innovation in pediatric care and as a strong voice for children through advocacy at the local, regional and national levels. 

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