Skip to main content

The College of Engineering begins its fall slate of honored speakers, as the University of Pennsylvania’s Katherine Kuchenbecker joins the Distinguished Lecture Series for her talk on “Tactile Feedback for Telerobotic Surgery.”


Kuchenbecker, an Associate Professor in Penn’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics with a secondary appointment in the Department of Computer and Information Science, will address the critical need for improvement in the control interfaces for robotic surgery systems.

Kuchenbecker and her research group have developed a pair of approaches that allow surgeons to feel what the remotely controlled surgical instruments are touching. These techniques can give surgeons better control and may enable new robotic surgery procedures.

“I am honored to be visiting the University of Tennessee to share my research with both the local audience and everyone who may be watching online,” Kuchenbecker said.

Kuchenbecker has won numerous awards, including the National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2009 and the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Academic Early Career Award in 2012. She did a postdoctoral fellowship at the Johns Hopkins University and earned her PhD from Stanford University.

Her presentation, at 4:00 p.m. Monday in Min H. Kao Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building Room 622 and simulcast online, is just the latest in the college’s Distinguished Lecture Series.

Dean Wayne Davis expanded the series online as a way to have top academic and professional minds from around the world speak about some of the key topics and research of the day in a forum that all could access, even without having to be in Knoxville.

“This lecture series will help us introduce our students, faculty, and campus community to some of the leading people in engineering today,” said Davis. “We wanted it to be as interactive as possible, and we encourage people to ask questions and watch online if they can’t be here.”

In fact, even those viewing the live webcast are even able to pose questions to the presenters at the end of their discussions, and people who aren’t available at the time of the presentation can watch it later on the college’s YouTube page.

The current format of the series started in March with a presentation from UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory Governor’s Chair in Environmental Biotechnology Terry Hazen called “Methane: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.”

Upcoming speakers are from the University of Southern California, and NASA.

Also of note, those taking part in the programs can earn continuing education credits.

Monday’s presentation will be available online.


David Goddard (865-974-0683,