Xavier Magazine

Profile: Dr. Timothy J. Broderick

DR. TIMOTHY J. BRODERICK Bachelor of Science in chemistry and computer science, 1986 Associate Professor of Surgery and Biomedical Engineering Director, Advanced Center for Telemedicine and Surgical Innovation, University of Cincinnati


Family Medicine | Broderick is one of seven children. Six went to medical school and all graduated from Xavier. One of his earliest memories is riding along in the family station wagon while his dad, Dr. Joseph Broderick, made house calls.

First Impression | One day, after church, he watched his father perform CPR on a man. The incident made a lasting impression on the 8-year-old Broderick. “I remember thinking it would be great to be able to help save people,” he says.

First A Surgeon | After graduating from UC’s College of Medicine, Broderick chose general and trauma surgery with a subspecialty in advanced laparoscopic surgery and robotics, which was in its infancy. With its use of computers and video technology to make small incisions, he saw a greater future for technology to improve surgery and benefit patients.

Astronaut | Another boyhood memory was seeing Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. He wanted to be an astronaut. While he still has that dream, he wrote and won a proposal for NASA to develop surgical capabilities for space flights using a video game that simulated surgery in space.

First An Aquanaut | That led to additional research with NASA to test the technology under water. To make that happen, he became an aquanaut, joining the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations, or NEEMO, which sends teams to the Florida Keys to live in an undersea habitat 62 feet down and practice advanced surgery techniques for improving life for astronauts in space.

NEEMO Times Two | Broderick was a member of NEEMO 9’s 18-day mission in April 2006. In May, he joined NEEMO 12 for 11 days along with two astronauts and a flight surgeon.

Aquarius | Living in Aquarius, the undersea habitat the size of a Winnebago, is a challenge. The food is freeze dried, the sleeping quarters are stacked bunks and the restroom facilities are, well, au naturel. “Those family trips I took in the family station wagon were good preparation,” he says.

Distant Medicine | The research has expanded to include his specialty—telemedicine, which allows doctors in one place to treat and operate on patients in another. Whether it’s a soldier on a battlefield or an astronaut in space, computer technology, telecommunications and robots are the future tools that will keep them alive.

Telesurgery | Broderick set up robots in Aquarius to perform procedures when prompted by a surgeon in Cincinnati. In one procedure, the surgeon used a computer keyboard and a touch screen to direct the robot where to cut and where to suture an abscess on a dummy. The program has a built-in lag time to replicate the extra time it takes for signals to reach the Moon or Mars.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.