Interview with Dr. Giuseppe Lo Presti
How did you become involved in the LUCA Project?
Right after I finished my PhD, I had an interview with Turgut Durduran for a postdoc position at ICFO, and during this interview I noticed his interest in my level of expertise with ultrasound systems and the ability to produce phantoms. It was then that I understood he was looking for someone to work on LUCA, someone with skills not only in data analysis and optics, but also with capabilities in communicating and collaborating with industrial partners and clinicians.
What kind of projects did you carry out before joining ICFO and the LUCA project?
Before coming to ICFO, I worked on developing navigators for minimally invasive surgery, such as an ultrasound-guided surgical navigator for holmium laser enucleation of the prostate. I also spent a lot of time writing codes and building hardware prototypes that were used, as collateral aid for diagnostics or innovation in surgery.
I was part of the following national projects: MILoRDS (Minimally Invasive Laser Robotic Assisted Diagnosis and Surgery), OPERA (Advanced Operating Room), STHARS (Surgical Training in identification and isolation of deformable tubular structures with hybrid Augmented Reality Simulation), LASER (Electromagnetic guided in-situ laser fenestration of endovascular endoprosthesis), all related to diagnostics and surgery. All the technical skills and know-how I learned during those projects will definitely be a plus for the LUCA project.
What previous experience do you bring to the project?
In the past, I have often used my knowledge to supply patientspecific 3D models and solid replicas to surgeons and radiologists for surgical planning. I enjoyed replicating anatomical structures by means of 3D printer processes and developing software to segment medical images as well as using applications to elaborate DICOM images loaded in the Picture archiving and communication system (PACS). From this perspective, I believe LUCA is the perfect environment for me: I have the chance of spending one day with industrial partners designing and testing components for the device, and the following day running measurements with radiologists and endocrinologists acquiring data from different subjects. It is exciting to collaborate on this multidisciplinary project.
What will be your main role in the project?
I work together with Lorenzo Cortese, my colleague at ICFO. Both of us will be developing the new diffuse correlation spectroscopy system that will be part of the LUCA system and helping with the project management. It is very nice to be aware of what partners are doing, to collaborate with them and have continuous exchange of know-how, ideas and experiences.
One of my main tasks will be to develop the software and the hardware components of our devices: now, running a device based on light transport theory and correlation diffusion equations is pretty difficult if it is the first time you have to deal with it. Even more, handling optical elements that you did not use previously is also challenging. I am lucky to work in collaboration with Lorenzo, who loves to engage in discussions about theory, which has been extremely helpful for me, especially at the beginning. I think we make a great team since he compensates for my theoretical shortcomings as I devote more of my expertise to code development and probe design.
What challenges have you found so far?
We should never underestimate the tremendous difference between a lab device and a device that is ready to be used in the clinical scenario; sometimes we are not aware about the details of a device when working in the lab, but these need to be taken into account when moving into the hospital environment: encumbrance, the length of cables, the time you need to run an experiment.
Dr. Giuseppe Lo Presti
Giuseppe received his Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering in 2011, which was centered on the development and validation of a vibrating system with sensory feedback for rehabilitation platforms. That same year he was granted a research fellowship for 3D reconstruction of vascular model of the lower limbs and segmentation of medical images (Computed Tomography -CT, Magnetic Resonance Imaging -MRI, angiographic CT, 3D Ultrasound -3D US).
For four years, he conducted his research at EndoCAS University of Pisa, Italy, within the Cisanello Hospital of Pisa, which allowed him to engage with clinicians of many different specialities and foster continuous collaborations with them. At the beginning of 2016, he obtained an international PhD degree in BioRobotics on “Intracorporeal soft tissue navigation for minimally invasive surgery” from the Scuola Superiore S’Anna of Pisa.