Fall 2013

Creative Problem-Solving

Taking ideas to market with training methods for minimally invasive surgery

“Free your mind and the rest will follow” is one of Jerzy Rozenblit’s principles. “It is only when we become liberated in how we think about a problem that we seem to execute things with flare,” he says. 
The UA Raymond J. Oglethorpe Endowed Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering and professor of surgery is a pioneer in the field of computer-assisted surgical training. Rozenblit’s patent-pending system helps students develop hand-eye coordination skills for complex surgical procedures with computer guided training methods for minimally invasive surgery. 
“This system will enhance training and provide assistance in real-time during an operation,” Rozenblit says. “Our goal is to help improve surgical outcomes. If I can prevent even one medical mistake, it’s all worth it.”  
Rozenblit grew up in Poland at the height of the Cold War. The child of two medical doctors, he was always good with his hands. “At some point, I wanted to become a mechanical engineer and work on cars,” he says. 
After receiving a bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering from Wroclaw University of Technology, he moved to the United States on a visa with only $40 in his pocket. He first lived in a rough area of Detroit, and recalls how he and a roommate scraped together enough money to buy a used car, but had to chain the hood to the bumper to make sure their battery wasn’t stolen.
“It’s been a humbling experience to live through both ends of the spectrum,” he says. “This has given me an obligation to share with others the intellectual, cultural, and other wealth that I may have acquired along the way.” 
A recent speaker for TEDx, Rozenblit also is working on an Asymmetric Threat Respons and Analysis project important to business and government partners in homeland security and health care.