By Alissa Gulin 
Daily Record Business Writer

 The highly promoted strategic partnership between the University of Maryland, College Park, and the University of Maryland Baltimore has yielded its first major result: a $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for continued development of a tiny robot to be used in brain surgeries.

Researchers from both institutions have been developing the robot prototype — known as the “minimally invasive neurosurgical intracranial robot” — for a number of years with the assistance of a previous NIH grant.

With this new funding, they plan to advance testing of the device and take their prototype to the next level by developing a robot that is fully compatible with magnetic resonance imaging. Researchers hope a fully operational, MRI-compatible robot will enable neurosurgeons to reach deeply embedded brain tumors in patients who wouldn’t otherwise have as good chances for favorable surgery outcomes.

The team includes Rao Gullapalli, associate professor of diagnostic radiology and nuclear medicine, J. Marc Simard, professor of neurosurgery — both at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore — and Jaydev P. Desai, associate professor of mechanical engineering at UMCP.

The joint research project is an example of the collaborative partnership between the two institutions — called “University of Maryland: MPowering the State” — that was announced last year.