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Project Title: Ocular Therapeutic Delivery Through Real-time Endoscopic B-scan OCT-guided Tools and Robotic Assistance

NIH Award Number: 


This is a 5-year collaborative project with Karen Joos at VUMC. 


Active Personnel:

  • Elan Ahronovich (2018-present)
  • Neel Shihora 

Previous Personnel:

  • Giuseppe Del. Guidice, Ph.D. (2017-2021)




Emerging molecular, gene, and cell-based therapeutics targeting ocular diseases could prevent and potentially reverse cell degeneration and subsequent vision loss. However, reliable and safe delivery of these therapeutics into targeted ocular layers is an ongoing concern of the FDA, which may affect the advancement of these potentially life-changing new treatments. To increase delivery accuracy, reliability, safety, and ease of the new molecular therapeutic procedures, we propose to develop B-scan OCT-guided robotic-assisted subretinal therapeutic delivery techniques. 

Our group is collaborating with VUMC researchers Dr. Karen Joos and Dr. Jin-Hui Chen on developing OCT-guided robotic control algorithms for the targeted delivery of drugs into specific locations within the retina. As part of our research, we will be enabling robot-assisted hand-held tools and collaborative (hand-on-hand) robotic tools to assist and semi-automate the last step of targeted drug delivery. We will be comparing these modes of assistance via in-vivo studies, enucleated cadaveric eyes, and bench-top phantom models.    

Additional details about our planned research are available here




  1. Ahronovich, E. Z., Simaan, N., & Joos, K. M. (2021). A Review of Robotic and OCT-Aided Systems for Vitreoretinal Surgery. Advances in therapy38(5), 2114–2129. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12325-021-01692-z
  2. Del Giudice, G., Orekhov, A. L., Shen, J. H., Joos, K., & Simaan, N. (2021). Investigation of Micro-motion Kinematics of Continuum Robots for Volumetric OCT and OCT-guided Visual Servoing. IEEE/ASME transactions on mechatronics : a joint publication of the IEEE Industrial Electronics Society and the ASME Dynamic Systems and Control Division26(5), 2604–2615. https://doi.org/10.1109/tmech.2020.3043438