Dr. Amy Elizabeth Kerdok is a Renaissance woman who is devoted to understanding, teaching, and innovating at the intersection of medicine and technology. She has a particular passion for the intricate balance among man-machine interfaces by creating prosthetics, understanding an athlete’s interaction with their environment, modeling the impact of surgical manipulation on soft tissue, or ensuring the safety and efficacy of minimally invasive surgery through a robotic interface.
Currently, Dr. Kerdok is Senior Manager of Clinical Development Engineering at Intuitive Surgical, the makers of da Vinci® surgical robotic systems. She embodies the company’s mission to make surgery easier and more effective for all surgeons and patients by striving to make the “art of surgery” objective. Given the technical complexity and vast clinical application space of surgical robotics, she has helped define the unique role of a Clinical Development Engineer to serve as a bridge between the two areas: product development and clinical use.
Over the past 10 years, Dr. Kerdok has traveled worldwide to understand the unique challenges and needs of open, laparoscopic, and robotics surgeons. Through cross-functional collaboration and research, she translates these clinical problems into technical specifications to ensure safe and effective surgical innovation. She follows the products through first human use,conducts user training, and oversees clinical studies to verify both user and product expectations are met.
Dr. Kerdok is coinventor of nine issued patents and is coauthor of numerous peer-reviewed publications in the areas of education, technology, sports biomechanics, and medicine. Her students’ technical and clinical abstracts have won top awards. While at Intuitive Surgical, she has contributed to the design, development, training, and launch of robotic-assisted surgical instrumentation, vision, fluorescence imaging, surgical simulation, integrated table motion, and surgical system platforms.
Dr. Kerdok values the initiatives of both women in technology and STEAM, a movement championed by the Rhode Island School of Design. Dr. Kerdok has been recognized in several STEAM areas over the past 20 years. She was one of three women whose biographies were included in “Engineering: Cool Women Who Design” by Vicki May. She has received numerous awards in academics, teaching, and leadership. She has recently completed a Laparoscopic Urological Surgery Intensive Course from IRCAD France; has been awarded Trust, Agility, Focus, and Leadership awards while at Intuitive Surgical; often speaks as a company spokeswoman to students, surgeons, and engineers; and has been a keynote speaker at a Microsoft Tech Talk. Dr. Kerdok holds a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Rensselear Polytechnic Institute, a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a doctoral degree in engineering sciences from Harvard University as part of the Harvard/MIT Health Sciences and Technology Medical Engineering/Medical Physics program.