Dr. Jessica Burgner-Kahrs

: jessica.burgner @ utoronto.ca

About

Jessica Burgner-Kahrs is an Associate Professor with the Departments for Mathematical & Computational Sciences, Computer Science, and Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, the founding Director of the Continuum Robotics Laboratory, and an Associate Director of the Robotics Institute at the University of Toronto, Canada. She received her Diplom and doctoral degree in computer science from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany in 2006 and 2010 respectively. Afterwards, she was a postdoctoral fellow with Vanderbilt University, USA. Before joining the University of Toronto in 2019, Jessica was Associate Professor at Leibniz University Hannover, Germany, where she established the term "Kontinuumsroboter" and was funded by the pestigious Emmy Noether Research Programme of the German Research Foundation. 

Her research focuses on continuum robotics and in particular on design, modelling, planning and control, as well as human-robot interaction. Her fundamental robotics research is driven by applications in minimally invasive surgery and maintenance, repair, and operations. Her research was recognized with the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize, the Engineering Science Prize, the Lower Saxony Science Award in the category Young Researcher, and she was named Young Researcher of the Year 2015 in Germany. She was elected as one of the Top 40 Under 40 in the category Science and Society in 2015, 2016, and 2017 by the business magazine Capital, and elected one of 100 Young Global Leaders from the World Economic Forum in 2019. Jessica is a Senior member of the IEEE, a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Robotics & Automation Society, and serves as a senior editor for IEEE RA-L. 

Academic Positions

2022 - Present
Vice Chair, Computer Science
Department of Mathematical and Computational Sciences, University of Toronto Mississauga, Canada;
2020 - Present
Associate Director
University of Toronto Robotics Institute
2020 - 2022
Associate Chair, Computer Science
Department of Mathematical and Computational Sciences, University of Toronto Mississauga, Canada;
2019 - Present Director, Continuum Robotics Laboratory
University of Toronto Mississauga, Canada;

Associate Professor
Department of Mathematical and Computational Sciences, University of Toronto Mississauga, Canada;
Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto, Canada;
Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto, Canada;
2015 - 2019 Associate Professor
Director Laboratory for Continuum Robotics;
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Leibniz University Hannover, Germany

Honors & Awards

  • 2021 1 of 50 Women in Robotics You Need to Know About, Women in Robotics & RoboHub
  • 2019 Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum
  • 2019 Discovery Accelerator Supplements, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • 2018 Distinguished Lecturer Surgical Robotics, IEEE Robotics & Automation Society
  • 2018 IEEE Senior Member
  • 2017 Elected Landmark in the Land of Ideas: Continuum Robots for Surgery, German Federal Government
  • 2017 Young Elite - Top 40 under 40 Category: Science and Society, Capital (German business magazine)
  • 2017 Invited Participant German-American Frontiers of Engineering Symposium, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany, and National Academy of Sciences, USA
  • 2016 Engineering Science Prize, Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW), Germany
  • 2015 Young Researcher of the Year in Germany
  • 2016 Young Elite - Top 40 under 40 Category: Science and Society, Capital (German business magazine)
  • 2016 Elected Member of the Junge Akademie, Germany
  • 2015 Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize, German Research Foundation & German Federal Ministry of Education and Research
  • 2015 Lower Saxony Science Award, Category II: Young Researchers, Ministry of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony, Germany
  • 2015 Young Elite - Top 40 under 40 Category: Science and Society, Capital (German business magazine)
  • 2013 Emmy Noether Research Programme German Research Foundation
  • 2012 Research Fellowship, German Academic Exchange Service

Paper Awards

  • 2022 Best Robotics Paper Finalist, International Conference on Manipulation, Autonation and Robotics at Small Scales (MARSS)
    H.J. Zhang, S. Lilge, M.T. Chikhaoui, J. Burgner-Kahrs: Cooperative control of dual-arm concentric tube continuum robots
  • 2018 Best Oral Presentation Award, The Hamlyn Symposium on Medical Robotics
    V. Modes, S. Ihler, A. Nabavi, T. Ortmaier, L. A. Kahrs, J. Burgner-Kahrs: Towards concentric tube robots for microsurgery: First results in eye-to-hand visual servoing
  • 2018 Best Paper Award Runner Up, Annual Meeting of the German Society for Computer- and Robot-assisted Surgery
    S. Lilge, D. Black, A. Nabavi, J. Burgner-Kahrs: Comparison of Haptic and Auditory Feedback Methods for the Teleoperation of Concentric Tube Continuum Robots
  • 2018 Best Oral Presentation Award Runner Up, 12. Nordkongress Urologie
    F. Imkamp, E. Amanov, T.-D. Nguyen, V. Hielscher, J. Burgner-Kahrs: Die systematische Ermittlung des chirurgischen Arbeitsraumes im Rahmen laparoskopischer Niereneingriffe: Grundlage für die Konzeptionierung eines versteifbaren Endoportsystems für die Single-Port Laparoskopie (in German)
  • 2017 Best Paper Award Runner Up, 16th Annual Meeting of the German Society for Computer- and Robot-assisted Surgery
    J. Granna, A. Graf, A. Nabavi, J. Burgner-Kahrs: A Manual Actuation System for Laser Induced Thermal Therapy of Malignant Brain Tumors
  • 2017 Best Poster Presentation Award Runner Up, The Hamlyn Symposium on Medical Robotics
    E. Amanov, T.-D. Nguyen, F. Imkamp, J. Burgner-Kahrs: First Results on a Flexible Variable Stiffness Endoport for Single-Site Partial Nephrectomy
  • 2015 Best Poster Award, Workshop on Navigation and Actuation of Flexible Instruments in Medical Applications (NAFIMA), IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems
    J. Granna, T.S. Rau, T.-D. Nguyen, O. Majdani, J. Burgner-Kahrs: Toward Concentric Tube Manipulators for Cochlear Implant Positioning
  • 2014 Finalist Best Application Paper Award, IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems
    J. Burgner-Kahrs, H.B. Gilbert, J. Granna, P.J. Swaney, R.J. Webster III: Workspace Characterization for Concentric Tube Continuum Robots
  • 2013 Finalist Best Medical Robotics Paper Award, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
    J. Burgner, H.B. Gilbert, R.J. Webster III: On the Computational Design of Concentric Tube Robots: Incorporating Volume-Based Objectives
  • 2010 Best Technical Paper Presentation Award, 10th International Conference on Computer Assisted Orthopedic Surgery
    J. Burgner, H. Wörn: Accurate Robot Assisted Laser Bone Processing, Computer Assisted Orthopaedic Surgery
  • 2007 Best Poster Presentation Award Runner Up, 6th Annual Conference of the German Society for Computer- and Robot-assisted Surgery
    J. Burgner, Y. Zhang, G. Eggers, J. Raczkowsky, J. Mühling, H. Wörn: Semiautomatisches Ankopplungs-verfahren für einen Assistenzroboter zur Repositionierung osteotomierter Knochenstücke bei orthognath-chirurgischen Eingriffen (in German)