- Course: Robotics PhD
- PhD title: Control of magnetically actuated robots for medical applications
- Nationality: Italian
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/giovanni-pittiglio-971856120/
Giovanni Pittiglio moved to the University of Leeds – motivated by the research activity carried out within the STORM Lab – to study for a PhD that is partially funded by the European Research Council. He works in the Institute of Robotics, Autonomous Systems and Sensing.
Giovanni said: “In particular, I was interested in the application of control techniques – my field of study – to medical technologies for the improvement of diagnosis and treatment.
“I found Leeds the perfect place for this aim both academically and as a city, being a great cultural centre and international environment.”
Designing medical technologies to improve medical diagnosis and treatment
Giovanni talked about the inspiration behind his research: overcoming technological challenges with the goal of improving medical interventions, and, ultimately, saving lives. He said:
“I am inspired, amongst all, by the technological and scientific challenges we are required to face. These, combined with our main goal of improving and saving people’s lives, is the driving force of my daily research activity.
...improving and saving people’s lives is the driving force of my daily research activity.
“My hope is that magnetically actuated endoscopic procedures will become soon the standard in diagnosis and treatment of cancer and similar pathologies. This, in my opinion, will ultimately achieve less invasiveness, with consequent reduction of morbidity and recovery time.”
Collaborating with researchers and partners
The outcomes and achievements of Giovanni’s research are framed by a strong collaboration with his colleagues as well as external collaborators.
“These collaborations not only strengthen our results, but they also improve my personal development as a researcher and as a person,” Giovanni said.
“The main steps of my research activity are: the development of innovative solutions, the analysis – mainly theoretical – of the findings and, eventually, their experimental validation.
These collaborations not only strengthen our results, but they also improve my personal development as a researcher and as a person.
“The first step undergoes to the study of the current literature as well as the fundamental discussions my colleagues and international experts. In this regard, the possibility of traveling to international conferences, thus meeting fellow researchers worldwide, is definitively a crucial part of my PhD experience.”
He continued: “At the moment, my research includes collaboration with international academic institutions and with the company KUKA, which produces the robotic arms we employ for magnetic manipulation.
“In particular, the KUKA LBR Med robot is an enabler for applications in medicine, which underpins our main focus.”
Giovanni talked about what it’s like to belong to a community when working as part of a research team, as well as the wider community while enjoying life as a postgraduate researcher at Leeds. He said:
“Amongst all, I believe that the passion and vision are the key common aspects between my supervisor and me. This, together with the goal of improving current practice in medicine, is fundamental for my personal development and my research activity.
...I believe that the passion and vision are the key common aspects between my supervisor and me.
“Concerning the specific case of robotics, the community of roboticists at Leeds is particularly active in supporting research, also with parallel activities, such as seminars and other networking events.”
He added: “This is important for both researcher’s self-development and the overall growth of the research activities of robotics in Leeds.”
Funding a PhD
Giovanni’s PhD is partially supported by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
“Since very young, my idea has always been of working as a researcher, and now I am certain it is what I want to pursue,” he said.