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.

  • Major et al. Publish Study on Upper Body Movements of Transradial Prosthesis Users

    A volunteer subject conducts a goal-oriented task for the research project, Assessing the Performance Claims for Multi-Degree-of-Freedom Articulated Hands..As part of the NIDRR-funded project Assessing the Performance Claims for Multi-Degree-of-Freedom Articulated Hands, Matthew Major, PhD, with co-authors R. Stine, C. Heckathorne, S. Fatone, and S. Gard, have published a paper “Comparison of Range-of-Motion and Variability in Upper Body Movements between Transradial Prosthesis Users and Able-bodied Controls when Executing Goal-oriented Tasks” in the Journal of NeuroEngineering and RehabilitationThe Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation is an open access journal and the full article is freely available.

  • NUPOC Welcomes Lilly Tran, MS

    Lilly Tran, MS, NUPOC Research EngineerLilly Tran, MS, has joined NUPOC as a Research Engineer. She completed her master’s degree at Columbia University in Mechanical Engineering with a focus in biomechanics; and conducted her undergraduate work in Mechanical Engineering at Syracuse University. She will contribute to the development of a stretchable and flexible sensor technology for prosthetic sockets; the evaluation of a shoe designed to interface with a dynamic response prosthetic foot; and the investigation of the fall risk in individuals with an upper limb loss.

    During her graduate work, Ms. Tran studied joint biomechanics at the Hospital for Special Surgery (New York) where she examined the development, progression and treatment methods for osteoarthritis. She will recap this work on September 16 when she presents the NUPOC Research Seminar, “Assessing Joint Biomechanics to Understand and Develop Treatment for Patients with Osteoarthritis”. Ms. Tran will discuss the effect of valgus knee braces on medial and lateral compartment loading; and the effect of restricted motion on performance during wrist-specific functional tasks.

  • Remembering Dudley S. Childress, PhD

    Dudley S. ChildressPhD (Ward Rounds, 2005)With profound sadness, NUPOC announces the death of Dudley S. Childress, PhD. After a long illness, Dr. Childress passed away on Wednesday, August 6, 2014. For four decades, Dr. Dudley Childress was a key figure in rehabilitation engineering and an internationally recognized leader in the field of prosthetics and orthotics research.

    He was one of the founders of myoelectric control in the United States, having fitted the first self-contained and self-suspended trans-radial myoelectric prosthesis in 1968. In the 1970’s, he and his team were the first to design and commercially introduce the “sip and puff” wheelchair controller for persons with high-level quadriplegia. In more recent years, Dr. Childress worked to develop theories of walking that have been applied to improve the gaits of persons with limb loss. Dr. Childress and his team originated the idea of foot roll-over shape to describe a fundamental objective of the able-bodied foot-ankle system during gait. Roll-over shape principles can be used to evaluate different types of prosthetic feet and better understand their function during walking, and have enabled the development of an innovative prosthetic foot—the Shape&Roll Foot—that is simple, yet highly functional, for use in low-income countries.

    Dr. Childress’ achievements in the field of rehabilitation research have been acknowledged through numerous awards and honors. His contributions to prosthetic technologies were recognized by his election to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 1995. In 2002, Dr. Childress was the recipient of the Paul B. Magnuson Award from the Department of Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research and Development Service, the highest honor given by the Service. And in 2004, he received the Mentor Award from the Rehabilitation Engineering Society of North America in recognition of his years of outstanding mentorship to numerous students who were training to become researchers.

    Dr. Childress mentored approximately 50 graduate students at the M.S. and Ph.D. levels during his career. Many of his former students are now working as prosthetists and orthotists, rehabilitation research engineers, managers of gait analysis laboratories, physicians, orthopaedic surgeons, and professors at major universities with their own research programs. Through the careful, patient nurturing and attention invested in his students, Dr. Childress created a far-reaching and perpetual influence on the field of rehabilitation engineering research, particularly in the area of prosthetics and orthotics. 

    A memorial service is planned for Saturday, September 20, at 2:00 p.m. at the Lake Street Church in Evanston, IL.
  • Micah Alford Awarded the Dan McKeever Scholarship

    Micah ALford, awarded Dan McKeever Scholarship 2014Congratulations to NUPOC MPO-2015 student Micah Alford, who was awarded the Dan McKeever Scholarship from the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists (AAOP).

    Three annual awards in the amount of $1,000 each are granted to rising seniors in an accredited P&O degree program. Applicants must display leadership, demonstrate financial need, fund their own education, and maintain a 3.0 GPA.

    Selected for his high qualifications and essay, Mr. Alford named motives that guided him toward a career in P&O: 1) to restore people to a healthy state; and 2) to use cutting-edge technology to move P&O toward evidence-based clinical practice.

    He said, “When I can enable people who are incapacitated by a stroke or an amputation to return to their daily activities, it is equivalent to giving them new life. In Haiti, I saw first-hand that a lost limb financially devastates an entire family. In my clinical practice, I want to match physical restoration with emotional support for my patients.”

    “Also, I love technology. I am motivated by adaptation and learning how to serve my future patients with new devices. Finally, I want to help move our field toward evidence-based practice and clinical research. I am extremely excited to be part of the field of P&O.”  

    See more information about this award at:

  • Gard and Boutwell Attend NIDRR Inaugural Fellow Summit

    Steven A. Gard, PhD, and Erin Boutwell, PhD, attended the 2014 NIDRR Inaugural Fellow Summit on July 28-29, 2014 in Arlington, VA. Attendees were early academic career fellows and their mentors from many disciplines and interests, including health research and outcomes, neuro-rehabilitation, biomedical engineering, and assistive technology.

    Fellows and mentors met their counterparts from across the nation. They attended intensive sessions about how to submit successful grant applications to federal agencies such as the National Institute on Disability Rehabilitation and Research (NIDRR) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as programs related to specific research fields where fellows discussed the benefits of and potential improvements to NIDRR fellowship programs. Tamar Heller, PhD, and Alan Jette, PhD, reported on career opportunities within the field, and Allen Heinemann, PhD, delivered an address on how to improve research capacity building among the rehabilitation sciences.

  • NUPOC Researchers Deliver Instructional Course at Canadian Association for Prosthetics and Orthotics Annual Conference

    Stefania Fatone, PhD (right), points to NUPOC lapel pin sported by Dan Blocka, BSc(Hons), CO(c), FCBC.Stefania Fatone, PhD, and Ryan Caldwell, CP, were invited to present their instructional course on “Subischial Socket with Vacuum Assisted Suspension for Persons with Transfemoral Amputation” at the Canadian Association for Prosthetics and Orthotics (CAPO) Annual Conference held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, from August 6-9, 2014. The presentation attracted many attendees and generated considerable enthusiasm for the technique. Course participants responded positively to the combination of clinical information and research that support the technique. The CAPO conference program can be viewed at

    NUPOC appreciates CAPO and Dan Blocka, BSc(Hons), CO(c), FCBC, for supporting our researchers' attendance at this conference.

  • AFO3D Offers Downloadable Model
    Stefania Fatone, William Brett Johnson, and Kerice Tucker are authors of "A Three-Dimensional Model to Assess the Effect of Ankle Joint Axis Misalignments in Ankle-Foot Orthoses", now available as an E publication prior to print.  A downloadable AFO 3D Model is availlable to understand the effect of ankle joint misalignments in AFOs. Visit the project page, Simulaton of Ankle Foot Orthotic Joint Misalignment to download the program, access the AFO 3D Installation Guide, and learn more about how to use this new model.
  • NUPOC Hosts Rush University OT Graduating Class

         Steven A. Gard, PhD, discusses NUPOC research     Chris Robinson, CPO, MS, MBA, ATC, FAAOP, discusses upper limb orthotic systems.    

    Craig Heckathorne, MS, discusses upper limb prosthetic systems     Rush University 2014 graduating OT class

    NUPOC hosted an educational program and site visit for 36 Occupational Therapy (OT) graduate students and their instructor, Rebecca Ozelie, DHS, OTR/L, BCPR, from the Rush University College of Health Sciences OT program. Matteo Sabbatino, a biomedical engineering student from Marquette University also attended. The students toured NUPOC facilities where they learned about our research and education programs and attended educational presentations. Steven A. Gard, PhD, presented “An Overview of NUPOC Research”; Chris Robinson, CPO, MS, MBA, ATC, FAAOP, presented “Upper limb Orthotic Systems”; and Craig Heckathorne, MS, presented “Upper Limb Prosthetic Systems”. R. J. Garrick, PhD, developed and facilitated this education program.

  • MPO Student Nina Bondre on P&O Volunteerism

    NUPOC MPO student, Nina Bondre, reflected on the professional value of P&O volunteer and outreach service activities. Ms. Bondre examined volunteerism beyond the contribution to humanitarian efforts and connects it to the accrual of professional knowledge and skills.

    Some of her observations are:
    -Volunteering was beneficial to my understanding of the variety of components that exist in Prosthetics and Orthotics.
    -Volunteering helped me realize that to solve the problems in our industry we must push ourselves into new environments.
    -Volunteer experiences remind us why we chose this career: to help others achieve their goals and lead better lives.

    Read the article by Ms. Bondre, Perspective: Deepening Professional Understanding through Volunteerism (The O&P Edge, July 2014:88).

  • NUPOC MPO Students Volunteer to Test P&O Components

    NUPOC MPO students volunteered to sorted P&O componentsRecently, five NUPOC MPO students, Nina Bondre, Stephanie Fritschen, Elliot de Wit, Rae Figueroa, and Dan Hallisy, participated in a voluntary service activity for the Range of Motion Project (ROMP, Chicago). They sorted, catalogued and packed nearly 1,000 donated P&O components and devices that are earmarked to improve the mobility of Guatemalans. At the Advanced O&P Solutions (Hickory Hills, IL) the NUPOC group inventoried and tested hundreds of items that have been shipped from Chicago to the ROMP clinic in Zacapa, Guatemala, where they will make a positive difference in the lives of people who otherwise would not have access to prostheses or orthoses.

    While testing the donated devices, liners, feet and knees, the students encountered components that they had not yet seen in their classroom. Testing and cataloguing a variety of components improved their knowledge and delivered an important humanitarian service.

    Learn more about NUPOC International Service (NUPOC-IS):

NUPOC Offers Free Webinar

On Tuesday, August 26, 2014 (12:00 PM ET), Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), and Ryan Caldwell, CP/L, will present a free online webinar, "Subischial Socket with Vacuum-Assisted Suspension for Persons with Transfemoral Amputation", hosted by the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists.