Thenkurussi (Kesh) Kesavadas
Thenkurussi “Kesh” Kesavadas is the founder Director of the Health Care Engineering Systems Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is a professor of Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering, and holds faculty appointments in the Department of Computer Science, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and with the Carle-Illinois College of Medicine at the university. Professor Kesavadas is a Co-Director of the Jump Simulation Center Urbana which he helped in setting up. His current research focuses on medical robotics and virtual reality for medicine.
Kesavadas holds the title of the Engineer-in-Chief of the Jump ARCHES endowment – a collaborative between UIUC and OSF Hospital of Peoria. He manages the $112.5 Million endowment and is responsible for the research, education, internal grant programs, translation, and external national and global partnerships. He has also played an important role in steering significant campus-wide initiatives. He is the co-lead of the Health and Technology for Aging collaboration with the College of Applied Health Sciences. He was a member of the steering committees that founded the Illinois Cancer Center and the Carle Illinois College of Medicine. He also coordinates the Health Data Analytics program for the College of Engineering.
Kesavadas has widely published in the areas of medical robotics, VR, medical simulation and manufacturing. He is also an inventor of products that were successfully commercialized. In 2008, Kesavadas developed the world’s first stand-alone virtual reality Robotic Surgical Simulator called RoSS™ that is used around the world to train residents and medical students. This invention led to forming Simulated Surgical Systems to commercialize RoSS™. Additionally, he co-founded Tactus Technologies Inc., which develops and markets educational simulation products such as the V-Frog for K-12 market and the Virtual Forklift Simulator used in companies such as Ford. His most recent company, AirV Labs, is exploring the practical applications in the intersection of AI and VR.
Kesh Kesavadas has also won numerous awards including SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Innovation, Inventor of the Year award in Western New York and the University of Buffalo’s Visionary of the Year award. He was also named as one of the five gurus of biomedical engineering by Business Week Magazine for his work on VR based medicine.
Kesavadas, a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and a member of its Technology Advisory Panel, participates in professional organizations to keep engineering and medicine at the forefront of innovation. He also serves as an executive member of the Simulation and Technology Committee of the American College of Surgeons, and as a senior advisor TechSage Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center led by Georgia Tech. His civic interests span many areas and he is a member of the Board of The Spurlock Museum at Illinois.
Before joining Illinois, Kesavadas was a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the State University of New York at Buffalo (NY) where, in 1996, he founded one of the first Virtual Reality labs in the US. Kesavadas received his Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University, an M.S. from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Calicut.