Read the latest news from the Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center. The links below take you to articles where you can learn more about NUPOC and our recent achievements.
- Stefania Fatone Presents at Military Health Systems Research Symposium08/17/2016
Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons) and Lilly Tran, MS, attended the 2016 Military Health Systems Research Symposium (MHSRS) held August 15-18 in Kissimmee, FL. The MHSRS is the Department of Defense's (DOD) premier scientific meeting, providing a collaborative environment for military medical care providers with deployment experience, DOD scientists, academia, and industry to exchange information on research advancements and health care developments. Dr. Fatone presented “Development of the Northwestern University Flexible Sub-Ischial Vacuum (NU-FlexSIV) Socket for Persons with Transfemoral Amputation” in the Orthotics and Prosthetics Breakout Session. To learn more about this DOD-funded project please visit the project web page.
- NUPOC Hosts 2-Day STEM Program for Biotechnology Group08/08/2016
As part of NUPOC’s commitment to educating and engaging youth in the STEM fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, the Center presented “High Tech, Low Tech, the Right Tech” to nearly 100 members of the 2016 National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC) Biotechnology Group. Following an orientation tour of NUPOC facilities conducted by Steven A. Gard, PhD, Pranitha Gottipati, PhD, and Lilly Tran, MS, NUPOC personnel introduced NSLC students to areas of research and clinical practice related to rehabilitation engineering, biomechanics, and Prosthetics and Orthotics (P&O).
Matthew Major, PhD, presented “Understanding the Biomechanics of Human Gait and Its Application to Prosthetic & Orthotic Devices”. Emphasizing the importance of using valid and reliable biometrics to measure human motion, Dr. Major introduced comparative biometrics, including the high tech system for human motion capture to measure dynamic forces and joint angles of motion and the simple, but reliable goniometer to measure joint range of motion. Dr. Major also compared the digital PEDAR and the analog Harris Beath Mat to measure plantar pressure. The students revisited and reinforced these concepts throughout the educational modules.
Chris Robinson, CPO, MS, MBA, ATC, FAAOP(D), presented “The Human Foot-Ankle: Anatomy, Range of Motion, and Plantar Pressure Measurement Systems”. He discussed and demonstrated ways that P&O clinicians apply and interpret biometrics. Mr. Robinson taught essential anatomical terms and led NSLC students in movement that exemplified anatomical planes. He demonstrated and instructed the NSCL students to measure their ankle range of motion using a goniometer and their plantar impression using the Harris Beath Mat.
NUPOC researchers, current MPO students, and P&O residents worked with NSLC students to record and interpret the data derived their static plantar pressure impressions. NSCL students interacted with young professionals who are specializing in biomedical engineering research and trainees in Prosthetics and Orthotics: Pranitha Gottipati, PhD, Lilly Tran, MS, Kate Binder, MPO, Katie White, MPO, and MPO 2017 graduate students Alicia Abbott, Zachary Block, Ann Levenson, Kaitlynn Pung, Miko Shepherd, Lauren Thomas, Heather Willets and Samantha Wright. This interactive module was made possible, in part, by goniometers and pens generously contributed by Scheck and Siress Prosthetics, Orthotics and Pedorthics (Chicago, IL).
Rebecca Stine, MS, manager of the Jesse Brown VA Motion Analysis Research Laboratory, reinforced conceptual information about the biometrics of human biomechanics and gait, showing its application using force plates, digital motion capture, and PEDAR, a digital system to measure plantar pressure. Jeff Linton, a Certified Prosthetist-Orthotist and a prosthesis user, demonstrated gait and Ms. Stine interpreted the images on a 52-inch screen. Mr. Linton answered NSLC students’ questions about the experience of walking and performing other activities of daily living with prosthetic limbs.
Yeongchi Wu, MD, presented an interactive demonstration of “Dilantancy Casting: an Innovative, Sustainable Technology to Provide Cost-Effective Prosthetic Sockets”. Dr. Wu discussed the time, material and economic benefits of using dilatancy casting for prosthetic socket fabrication in comparison to traditional plaster based and CAD-CAM systems. Inviting student participation, he demonstrated the principle of dilatancy casting by applying vacuum to granules contained in a flexible container. Under vacuum, the granules inside the flexible container maintain a rigid form under vacuum. Illustrating the theme, “High Tech, Low Tech, the Right Tech”, Dr. Wu showed how to make a simple upper limb prosthetic device from a soda bottle. Dr. Wu said, “Simple and inexpensive prosthetic devices that restore essential ADLs to persons with a disability can be more valuable than unattainable expensive, hi-tech devices.”
NSLC students represented every region of the USA and several foreign countries. The majority of NSLC participants plan to pursue college and career tracks in biotechnology and the STEM program at NUPOC opened new possibilities for their future. Many students expressed interest and enthusiasm about possibilities in P&O and rehabilitation engineering.
R. J. Garrick, PhD, developed and directed this STEM program and everyone at NUPOC contributed to its success. NUPOC appreciates Scheck and Siress for supporting the educational modules in “High Tech, Low Tech, the Right Tech”.
- J. Chad Duncan, PhD, CRC, CPO/L, Joins NUPOC Faculty08/02/2016
J. Chad Duncan, PhD, CRC, CPO/L, will join the faculty of the Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center (NUPOC), Feinberg School of Medicine, the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation on September 1, 2016. Dr. Duncan is a dedicated educator, clinician, and researcher who comes with exceptional career contributions to rehabilitation education and Prosthetics & Orthotics (P&O).
Dr. Duncan is returning to Northwestern University where he completed his pre-residency Certificate training in Prosthetics (1997) and Orthotics (1999). At Auburn University he earned his doctorate (2008) in Rehabilitation Services, Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling (2006), and Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Services (1995). Also at Auburn University, he earned a Certificate in Rehabilitation Leadership and Management (2009).
An advocate and prime mover in the growth of Prosthetics and Orthotics (P&O) as a clinical and academic discipline, Dr. Duncan was instrumental in developing the first master’s degree P&O program at an Historically Black College and University (HBCU). He successfully navigated that nascent P&O graduate program to full accreditation with the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health and Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the National Commission on Orthotic & Prosthetic Education (NCOPE).
His academic leadership positions include Chair/Program Director of an accredited department of P&O, Interim Program Coordinator of Rehabilitation Counseling in the Department of Rehabilitation Studies, and Director of the Master of Science Prosthetics and Orthotics program at a prominent institution that numbers among the 107 HBCU.
A collaborative and independent researcher, Dr. Duncan has published and presented his studies nationally and internationally, examining issues of self-efficacy, psychosocial aspects of disability, and prosthetics in the work place. Also, he has served in editorial positions for the American Board of Vocational Experts, Journal for Forensic Vocational Analysis, and the Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling. Dr. Duncan has received awards for “New Career in Rehabilitation Education” (2013) and the “Presidential Citation for Support and Outstanding Contribution to the American Board of Vocational Experts” (2015).
Dr. Duncan is an active contributor and leader in multiple national, regional, and state professional organizations, including his service as President of the National Council on Rehabilitation Education, the largest organization of rehabilitation educators in the USA.
Recognized as a researcher, educator and clinician in rehabilitation science and P&O, Dr. Duncan also contributes imaginatively and resourcefully to community service. At an independent living center fundraiser, he was a celebrity wheelchair basketball participant. At another fundraiser, he volunteered with good humor to be “pied” in the face.
Director of NUPOC, John W. Michael, MEd, CPO/L, said “We are delighted to have Dr. Duncan become part of our faculty. His professional training and accomplishments in P&O education are fully consonant with the NUPOC mission and vision. We believe that he will make significant contributions to our ongoing efforts to grow and advance our clinical training and education program at Northwestern University.”
- Thomas Curran, MS, Successfully Defends Thesis, Begins Engineering Career07/21/2016
Thomas Curran, MS (2016), successfully defended his thesis, The Effects of Foot-Ankle Components on the Mechanical Properties of Dynamic Response Prosthetic Feet, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering. Steven A. Gard, PhD, was his mentor and academic advisor.
Mr. Curran packed June 2016 with new accomplishments. In addition to successfully completing his Master of Science degree, he began employment as a Research Engineer II at Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center (RADC) where he is working with Aaron Buchman, MD, Professor in Neurological Sciences, and Postdoctoral Fellow Robert Dawe, PhD, to analyze and further develop computer algorithms to obtain measurements of gait and motor function from devices used in field testing. Mr. Curran said, “The device I am working on right now is the DynaPort, a tri-axial accelerometer produced by McRoberts. In the coming months I will be working with the Kinect, produced by Microsoft.”
- Jenn Murphy Wins 2016 Dale Yasukawa Award07/18/2016
Jennifer Murphy (MPO 2017) is the selected recipient of the 2016 Dale Yasukawa Award. Currently enrolled students in the Northwestern University Masters of Prosthetics and Orthotics program are eligible to compete for the annual $1,000 scholarship. The Yasukawa Scholarship encourages the awardee to participate in the Annual Meeting and Scientific Symposium of the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists (AAOP).
Ms. Murphy earned an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a certificate in Engineering Design. During internships she built skills toward becoming a successful P&O clinician, focusing on verbal and technical communication skills. She became proficient in MYOPro and Pattern Recognition Technology and explored 3D printing. She volunteers to support Hi-5 Sports and recently served as President of the Northwestern University chapter of Special Olympics.
Ms. Murphy plans to use the Yasukawa Award to attend the national meeting of the AAOP to extend her knowledge and share it with her colleagues. Ms. Murphy said, “It is a great honor to be selected for the Yasukawa Award. As President of Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Student Society, I would like to attend AAOP conferences to learn more and report that new information to my classmates. This scholarship makes those goals possible.”
- Stefania Fatone Presents Clinical Research Grand Rounds07/11/2016
Stefania Fatone, PhD, presented “The Final Frontier: Developments in Transfemoral Sockets” as part of the joint Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation/Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago’s Clinical Research Grand Rounds. Dr Fatone’s talk discussed the history of transfemoral sockets and emerging technologies, including the work she has led developing the Northwestern University Flexible Sub-Ischial Vacuum (NU-FlexSIV) Socket. Clinical Research Grand Rounds are relatively informal presentations, directed mostly toward clinicians, about ongoing or planned research at NU or RIC applicable to clinicians.
- Chris Robinson Represents FSM Medical Faculty Council, Welcomes Participants to Biomedical Data Science Day06/10/2016
Chris Robinson, CPO/L, MS, MBA, ATC, FAAOP(D), Vice President of the Feinberg Medical Faculty Council, Assistant Professor in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, delivered welcome remarks and acknowledgements at the opening of the Biomedical Data Science Day (BDSC) presented by the Feinberg Center for Data Science (CDSI). Feinberg Medical Faculty Council support of the BDSD is in keeping with its stated mission of fostering academic excellence.
The BDSD vision statement identifies the symposium goals as: “research collaboration and networking by bringing together faculty, staff, and students from Northwestern University, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and affiliated institutions with an interest in the application of data science and big data methods to clinical and biomedical domains.” The conference featured research talks, networking lunch, and focused breakout sessions on data science areas, including natural language processing and text mining, genomics, proteomics, and social data and health.
- NU-FlexSIV Socket Course Draws Prosthetists and Patients06/08/2016
Prosthetists from coast-to-coast and Canada attended the NU-FlexSIV Socket Course to learn how to fabricate and fit the Northwestern University Flexible Subischial Vacuum Socket that was developed by Ryan Caldwell, CP/L, FAAOP, and Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons).
The 2-day, hands-on NU-FlexSIV courses are presented with funding from the Department of Defense and support from Össur. Two 2016 workshops represent the final dissemination phase of the DOD-funded research project, Development of Subischial Prosthetic Sockets with Vacuum-Assisted Suspension for Highly Active Persons with Transfemoral Amputations. The course sparked nationwide interest among prosthetists and their patients. Both sessions are fully subscribed and wait-listed.
Prosthetists and their Patient Models with transfemoral amputation attended the 2-day course. Prosthetists engaged in didactic and hands-on activities that enabled them to fabricate, fit, and align a NU-FlexSIV Socket. Patient Models responded positively to the comfort, range of motion, and stability of the NU-FlexSIV socket. Attendees viewed comparison videos of Patient Models walking in their original sockets and in the NU-FlexSIV sockets.
Prosthetists and their Patient Models viewed side-by-side films that compared the Patient Models as they walked in their sockets and in their NU-FlexSIV Sockets. The closing module of the Course addressed definitive socket fabrication options. After completing the course, attending Prosthetists can participate in a technical forum where they can discuss their fabrication experiences with the developers and other Prosthetists who attended the NU-FlexSIV Socket Course. The online, interactive forum is designed to facilitate the implementation of the NU-FlexSIV Socket in their P&O clinics. Prosthetists who attended the NU-FlexSIV Socket course gained 15.5 ABC/BOC continuing education credits, hands-on knowledge about the NU-FlexSIV Socket, the NU-FlexSIV Socket Manual, the prosthetic liner for his/her Patient Model, and the check socket that they fabricated and fit.
NUPOC educators John Brinkmann, CPO, Michael Cavanaugh, CPO, and MPO 2017 students Jacob Kilpatrick, Andrew Sparks, Samantha Wright, Joey Zisk, and Josh Zumbrun provided fabrication assistance. Linda India, Elizabeth Rowe, and Ken Harris provided administrative support. Piper Kruse filmed comparative videos of Patient Models ambulating in their socket and the NU-FlexSIV Socket. R. J. Garrick, PhD, was registrar and manager of the NU-FlexSIV Socket Course. The NU-FlexSIV Socket developers appreciate funding from the Department of Defense and Össur; and additional support from the Department of PM&R, Scheck and Siress, and the entire NUPOC faculty and staff who contributed to the success of these courses.
View slides from 2016 NU-FlexSIV Socket Course. The 2016 Courses were fully subscribed and attend by Prosthetists and their patients from throughout the USA and Canada.
- Matthew Major, PhD, Presents at VA Research Week05/20/2016
Matthew J. Major, PhD, a VA Career Development Award recipient, delivered a presentation, "Locomotor Stability of Upper and Lower Limb Prosthesis Users", at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center as part of VA Research Week. His presentation discussed two ongoing VA research projects: 1) the anticipatory and response mechanisms of persons with below-knee limb loss when subjected to a lateral perturbation during walking; and 2) the effects of prosthesis inertial properties on locomotor stability of persons with upper limb amputation. Dr. Major’s presentation was followed by two other Career Development Award recipients whose work investigates therapeutic treatments for alcoholism and obesity.
- Suzanne McConn, MS, Successfully Defends Thesis05/10/2016
Suzanne McConn, MS, successfully defended her thesis for a Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering. Matthew J. Major, PhD, was her academic advisor. Ms. McConn’s research investigated “Prosthetic Influence on Gait Stability in Individuals with Upper Limb Loss”.
The study compared subjects’ gait stability in two conditions: 1) when wearing an upper limb prosthesis that matched the mass and inertial characteristics of the sound limb; and 2) when walking without a prosthesis or wearing a prosthesis that did not match the sound limb’s characteristics. Stability during walking was measured using margin of stability, trunk kinematics, average step width, step length and others. Results suggested that wearing a prosthesis with mass and inertial properties that “closely match those of the sound limb may benefit gait stability by reducing transverse trunk rotation” and opened the way to future research in gait stability among individuals with upper limb amputation.
The Childress Fund
Established with a generous gift from the Childress family, the Childress Fund accepts donations that help to continue Dudley Childress' work by stimulating interest in rehabilitation engineering for Prosthetics-Orthotics.
The Childress Fund benefits all who are interested in P&O and especially individuals who live with physical impairments. We invite you to be part of this ongoing effort by giving generously to the Dudley S. Childress, PhD, Research and Education Fund.