Prof. Bradley Nelson

International Awards

Grand Hamdan International Award - AI in Healthcare
Prof. Dr.Bradley Nelson is the Head of Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering at ETH Zurich and has been Professor of Robotics and Intelligent Systems there since 2002, where his research focuses on micro-robotics and nanorobotics, highlighting its applications in biology and medicine.
He received a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois and an M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota; he then worked at Honeywell and Motorola. In 1995, he obtained a Ph.D. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University. He was an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois - Chicago (1995-1998) and an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota (1998-2002). He has also served as Chairman of the ETH Electron Microscopy Center. 
He served as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Botswana, Africa, before obtaining his Ph.D. in Robotics.  Prof. Nelson received numerous awards, serves on several editorial boards, and has been a member of the Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation.
Research work
Prof. Nelson has published over 300 research articles. One of his mostly highly cited contributions is a seminal paper on microrobotics in minimally-invasive medicine published in 2010. He has led the development of several pioneering applications. He has built systems that model bacterial flagella and their helical propulsion mechanism, and has developed practical applications important in healthcare including autofocusing microscopes. He has developed a magnetically controlled wireless optical oxygen sensor for intraocular measurements, which has the potential to transform eye surgery.  Dr. Nelson’s nomination acknowledges his remarkable contribution to intelligent systems for medical nanorobotics, and specifically his leading role in the transition from rigid nanostructures to soft, flexible architectures, inspired by the dynamics of biological microorganisms. In particular, the nomination recognizes Dr. Nelson’s results on how to integrate organic structures such as polymers and supramolecular ensembles with microorganisms and contractile mammalian cells. This has enabled the assembly of a new generation of miniaturized soft components for medical nanorobots such as actuators, sensors, hinges, and joints. 
Awards & Honors
He has received numerous awards and many Best Paper Awards at major robotics conferences and journals:
  • 2020 Elected to Swiss National Academy of Engineering (SATW)
  • 2019 IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Pioneer Award
  • 2018 Gold Award at the EMediC Global Competition, Hong Kong
  • 2017 European Research Council Advanced Grant
  • 2015 T-ASE Best New Application Paper Award, IEEE CASE
  • 2014 First Place: Mobile Robot
  • 2014 Best Medical Robotics Paper Award, ICRA
  • 2013 Journal of Laboratory Automation Ten Award, JALA Ten
  • 2012 Guinness Book of World Records for "Most Advanced Mini Robot for Medical Use."
  • 2011 European Research Council Advanced Grant
In recognition of his outstanding contributions, Prof. Bradley Nelson is awarded the Grand Hamdan International Award for the 2019-2020 term for “fostering a new generation of miniaturized components integrating polymers and microorganisms, paving the way to soft nanorobots capable of interacting with human tissues
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