Catherine Mohr works on surgical robots and robotic surgical procedures, using robots to make surgery safer — and to go places where human wrists and eyes simply can't.

Why you should listen

Catherine Mohr began her career as an engineer, working for many years with Paul MacCready at AeroVironment to develop alternative-energy vehicles and high-altitude aircraft. Her midcareer break: medical school, where she invented a brilliantly simple device, the LapCap, that makes laproscopic surgeries safer.

Mohr now oversees the development of next-generation surgical robots and robotic procedures, as the director of medical research at Intuitive Surgical Inc., where she's the clinical design leader for the DaVinci Surgical Robotic system. She also works at Stanford's School of Medicine, where she studies simulation-based teaching methods to teach clinical skills to budding doctors. And she's a senior scientific advisor to the GlobalSolver Foundation, an innovative funding and study group that looks at ways to match up scientists and money to help the world's oceans.

What others say

“They take away some of the impreciseness of the human hand.” — Dr. Nikhil Shaw on

Catherine Mohr’s TED talks

Catherine Mohr on the TED Blog

Catherine Mohr: Surgery's past, present and robotic future

June 18, 2009

Surgeon and inventor Catherine Mohr tours the history of surgery (and its pre-painkiller, pre-antiseptic past), then demos some of the newest tools for surgery through tiny incisions, performed using nimble robot hands. Fascinating — but not for the squeamish. (Recorded at TED2009, February 2009, in Long Beach, California. Duration: 18:55) Watch Catherine Mohr’s talk from […]

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Quotes from Catherine Mohr

These maladies don’t care how many books you’ve written, how many companies you’ve started, that Nobel Prize you have yet to win, how much time you planned to spend with your children. These maladies come for us all.
Catherine Mohr
TED2009 • 537K views Jun 2009
Fascinating, Informative
You think to yourself, ‘I’m not quite sure what’s wrong with this guy. But maybe if I cut a hole in his head I can fix it.’
Catherine Mohr
TED2009 • 537K views Jun 2009
Fascinating, Informative