Dr Katerina Spranger

The problem

Surgeons need accurate, objective information to support decision making during minimally invasive surgery. They regularly rely on sight for intricate processes such as placing stents - small metallic tubes - in blood vessels in brain aneurysm patients. Better information could improve patient outcomes and save millions of pounds from being spent on corrective surgeries.

Katerina Spranger

The Solution

After her PhD at Oxford in Biomedical Engineering, Katerina Spranger has founded Oxford Heartbeat – a start-up company that has developed a medical device that accurately simulates the behaviour of medical devices inside patient’s brain during surgery.

Engineered to achieve extremely high levels of accuracy, the device improves surgeons’ ability to choose the correct stent for every individual patient. This aims to reduce surgery times, improve patient outcomes, decrease the likelihood of repeat surgeries, and save costs for hospitals and wider society.

The technology has been designed for easy and intuitive use by surgeons. By combining accessibility with precision, this virtual platform has the potential to become an essential tool for minimally invasive brain surgery. The start-up’s plans include exploring the use of its technology to optimise other types of surgery in the future.


  • January 2019: Awarded with the Innovate UK Biomedical Catalyst Grant Award
  • July 2018: Awarded from SBRI Healthcare, an NHS England funded initiative, to further develop a novel technology
  • July 2018: Royal Academy of Engineering Blavatnik Alumni Award winner
  •  May 2018: Invited to join the Philips HealthWorks Start-up Program
  • March 2018: Won “Best Healthcare start-up of 2018” by WIRED Magazine
  • February 2018: Awarded the NIHR i4i Connect grant

Katerina was awarded the 2017 Enterprise Fellowship to continue developing this technology and her start-up, Oxford Heartbeat.


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