Researchers at McGill have been given a federal grant in order to eventually improve technologies used during surgery.

More than $1.6 million will be used to train students who are developing those technologies.

Some of the innovations are on display in a special operating room at the MUHC's Glen site – a high-tech dummy that can simulate a variety of medical situations and a 3D printer used to recreate anatomically correct body parts to better train surgeons. The printers help create models of human anatomy that feel like human tissue.

“One of the goals that we're trying to do here is to create materials, by mixing materials at different temperatures and different directions and fibres, to try to recreate the human situation so we have tissue fidelity,” said Dr. Kevin Lachapelle, vice chair of surgery at McGill.

McGill is the first Canadian university to develop a program that brings together students from a variety of disciplines – students in business, engineering and science and surgical trainees are involved in creating the new technology.

Those students form multi-disciplinary teams that work inside the hospital to address innovation needs.

“When they're developing a new technology they can already answer the questions, 'Who needs this? Why do they need it? How many people need it? When do they need it?' and so on,” said Dr. Jake Barralet, professor of surgery at McGill.

The hope is the new technologies will help make surgery cheaper, safer and better for patients.