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.
- Introducing Julia Quinlan, PhD12/06/2016
Julia Zelenakova Quinlan, PhD, has joined NUPOC as a Postdoctoral Fellow sponsored by a NIDILRR Advanced Rehabilitation Research Training Grant (Principal Investigators, Steven A. Gard, PhD, and Zev Rymer, PhD). During the one year grant period, Dr. Quinlan will work on a Department of Defense funded research project, No Longer Smooth: Introducing Striations into Prosthetic Socket Construction to Improve Suspension, Rotation, Fit and Comfort, led by Principal Investigator Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons). The project goals are to investigate the effect of different types of texturing on suspension, rotation, fit, and comfort, specifically to test if horizontal striations improve suspension; and if vertical striations help control transverse plane rotation for transtibial sockets.
Dr. Quinlan will develop testing setups, fabricate required testing fixtures, and conduct experiments that will measure the coefficient of friction using sled and table friction; evaluate the tensile and static strength of sockets with different texturing patterns using a dumbbell specimen; and develop testing protocols for an INSTRON® material testing machine.
Dr. Quinlan earned a doctorate in Bioengineering with a concentration in Biomechanics at the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC); and a Master’s of Science in Biomedical Engineering with a concentration in Biomedical Engineering at The Technical University of Košice (TUKE), Slovakia. At TUKE, she was recognized with a Dean’s Award for Outstanding Graduate Student. Her doctoral dissertation addressed “Effect of Binge Alcohol Exposure on Intervertebral Disc Structure and Mechanical Properties in Adult Rats” and her Master’s thesis examined “Ambient Intelligence Tools Applied in Everyday Activities in the Home Environment”. Her work has contributed to 20 conference abstracts and presentations and she is a named author on 6 publications.
In addition to her academic training, she also brings research experience in the Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Research Laboratory, Edward Hines Jr. Veterans Affairs Hospital, Hines, IL, where she conducted spine biomechanics and general orthopedics research. She has worked as a technology commercialization analyst and consultant at the UIC Office of Technology Management. During her doctoral training at UIC, she taught 6 years of classes in Senior Design I and II and Biomechanics.
Her early interest in mathematics and science led her to apply and be immediately accepted into the highly competitive BME department at TUKE. Although education is state subsidized, acceptance to each stage of educational promotion is rigidly controlled by increasingly difficult entrance examinations. Dr. Quinlan reflected, “Typically, about 1,500 students will be accepted to begin a course of study, but ultimately only about 60 people will graduate. If a student fails a class, s/he has 2 years to pass it. Students who fail or drop out must re-apply through the examination system.”
Born during communist rule in Czechoslovakia, after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993, Julia, her parents and younger brother lived in the independent and democratic Slovak Republic. To experience American culture firsthand and to hone her fluency in English, she spent 4 months in 2005 working for an exchange program in Yellowstone National Park where she developed strength and self-confidence by managing a series of life-changing personal and financial challenges. In 2006, prior to moving to the USA to pursue her doctorate, she spent a semester as a Socrates-Erasmus exchange student studying BME in Ghent, Belgium.
Dr. Quinlan noted that although she had hoped to remain in Europe to better support her mother, “I must have been born with wandering boots. I’ve lived in Chicago for nearly 10 years and my husband is American, so my future is here in the USA.” Recently, she seldom has leisure time, but has played competitive intramural soccer, and is an accomplished gardener and seamstress. Dr. Quinlan said, “I enjoy attending theatrical and musical performances with my friends. I have attended the last eight seasons of the Chicago Lyric Opera”.
Dr. Quinlan is passionately committed to research. She intends to pursue a career within a university setting where she can conduct research related to the biomechanics of the human musculoskeletal system, publish the results of her research, and share her knowledge by teaching students. We are delighted to welcome Dr. Quinlan and her multiple skills to NUPOC.
- Fatone and Caldwell Teach NU-FlexSIV Socket Course at Ossur Americas11/19/2016
Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), and Ryan Caldwell, CP, taught the NU-FlexSIV Socket Course for prosthetists at Ossur Americas on November 18-19 in Orlando, FL. The course was successful and well attended. All the participating prosthetists fit the NU-FlexSIV Socket on their first attempt. Participants enthusiastically discussed the NU-FlexSIV Socket technique and its potential for application in the field.
- Matthew Major Delivers Poster Presentation11/16/2016
Matthew Major, PhD, delivered a poster presentation, “The Effect of Trunk Flexion on Lower Limb Kinetics of Able-Bodied Gait” (co-authored with David Kluger, Stefania Fatone and Steven A. Gard), at the Japan-US Science Forum on November 12, in Cambridge, MA. The forum, “Changing the World through Japan’s Scientific Endeavors: Japan’s Rapidly Aging Society”, was coordinated by The Japan Society for the Promotion of Sciences (JSPS) and hosted US-based Japanese scientists and former JSPS fellows who conduct health-related research relevant to Japan’s increasingly large population of older aged individuals. Dr. Major was a 2003 JSPS research Fellow. His current research about stability in gait as presented in the poster is highly relevant to fall prevention, a major issue in the health and safety of an aging population.
- Stefania Fatone Presents Project Update at PM&R Faculty Meeting11/15/2016
Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), presented a research project update to faculty members who attended the quarterly faculty meeting of the Northwestern University Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. The presentation, “Introducing the Northwestern University Flexible Sub-Ischial Vacuum (NU-FlexSIV) Socket: A More Comfortable Socket for Transfemoral Amputees”, described the accomplishments related to this DOD-funded project that was conducted from 2010 to 2016. For more information about this research, please visit the project page, "Development of Subishical Prosthetic Sockets with Vacuum-Assisted Suspension for Highly Active Persons with Transfemoral Amputations".
- Stefania Fatone Invited to South Korea to Present Talks about the NU-FlexSIV Socket11/06/2016
Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), presented the keynote lecture, Flexible Subischial Vacuum Socket for Transfemoral Amputees, at the 2016 Asian Prosthetic and Orthotic Scientific Meeting (APOSM) on November 5. Dr. Fatone addressed approximately 700 participants who attended the conference from Asian countries that included Japan, Taipei, Thailand, Singapore, and The Philippines. The talk was well received.
JinBok Yi, PhD (Associate Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Technology, Hanseo University), a member of the APOSM organizing committee, invited Dr. Fatone to present the plenary lecture. On November 8, Dr. Yi hosted Dr. Fatone on a tour of Hanseo University where she spoke with prosthetics and orthotics students about prosthetics and orthotics education and research.
Dr. Chang-Yong Ko, PhD (Principal Researcher, the Korean Orthopedics and Rehabilitation Engineering Center (KOREC) hosted Dr. Fatone to present Flexible Subischial Vacuum Socket for Transfemoral Amputees to a workshop held at KOREC on November 7.
- Robinson and Cavanaugh Teach Approved Clinical Mentor Course11/05/2016
Christopher Robinson, MS, MBA, CPO, ATC, FAAOP(D), Michael Cavanaugh, CPO, and NUPOC alumni, Ashley Mullen, MSAT, CPO (Baylor College of Medicine), co-taught the Approved Clinical Mentor (ACM) Course on November 5 at the Midwest Chapter Meeting of the AAOP in Rosemont, IL. The course was sponsored by the National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education (NCOPE) and is designed to prepare P&O professionals to teach and mentor students within the context of residency training or educational programs. Nationwide, nearly 70 prosthetists and orthotists have been certified as Approved Clinical Mentors since NCOPE developed and initiated the ACM Course in October 2015.
- NUPOC Researchers Present at MWCAAOP11/04/2016
The Midwest Chapter of the AAOP met November 3-5 in Rosemont, IL. NUPOC researchers and educators were prominently involved in the organization and presentations. John Brinkmann, CPO, FAAOP(D), Chapter President, presented Academy Update. NUPOC researchers and their presentations were:
>Lilly Tran, MS, Ability of Epidermal Sensors to Measure Lower Limb Temperature during Activity with a Prosthesis Simulator co-authored with Han, Caldwell, Rogers, Coleman and Fatone
>Ryan Caldwell, CP, FAAOP, Where Does the Weight Go? Effect of Interface Components on Residual Limb Weight-Bearing Tolerance in Transfemoral Prosthesis Users, co-authored with Stefania Fatone; and Improved Clinical Outcomes with a New Hydrostatic Impression Technique co-presented with Andreas Radspieler and Matt Doering
>Matthew Major, PhD, Survey of U.S. Practitioners on the Validity of the Medicare Functional Classification Level System and Utility of Clinical Outcome Measures for Aiding K-Level Assignment, co-authored with Dylan Borrenpohl and Brian Kaluf
- Introducing Xinru Chen, BS10/19/2016
Xinru Chen, BS, has joined NUPOC to conduct research in partial fulfillment of her Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering (BME). Steven A. Gard, PhD, will guide Ms. Chen in her research on optimization of prosthetic foot and ankle stiffness to approximate able-bodied gait. Using mechanical testing, Ms. Chen’s project proposes systematic changes to foot-ankle stiffness to determine an optimum stiffness for biomimetic gait. She expects to complete her thesis work by May 2017. (Learn more about this Department of Veterans Affairs-funded research project: Optimization of Prosthetic Foot and Ankle Stiffness for Standing and Walking.)
Ms. Chen graduated with a BS in Molecular Biomedical Sciences with first class honors and a minor in Information Technology (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 2012). She matriculated to Northwestern University for her graduate work, initially in Interdepartmental Neuroscience. She transferred to BME where she foresees that work in prosthetics can be more immediately applied to produce positive, tangible outcomes. She said, “I planned a graduate career in molecular neuroscience looking at individual cells. But I wanted to move up to a broader system level. I recognized that I wanted my work to be more clinically relevant to real people, not mice. That’s why I shifted my emphasis to BME and prosthetics research.”
In microbiology and neuroscience, Ms. Chen has participated in a range of mentored and team research projects that include: analysis of synaptic organization; programing custom MATLAB® scripts to control and analyze electrophysiology experiments; optimizing a biochemical assay for quantification of total Amyloid β-derived synaptogenesis and PTEN-regulated axonal growth of retinal ganglion cells; and examination of the expression pattern and function of a gene expected to have a developmental role in C. Elegans. She contributed to the Silver Medal team in the International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition (iGEM, 2009), and has presented podium talks and research posters. She enjoys teaching and has volunteered as an instructor for hands-on science sessions and conversational Mandarin.
Her passion for science and engineering may have been natural outgrowths of exposure to her parents’ careers in computer science, civil engineering, physics and biology. Interested in theories and reasons, Ms. Chen frequently visited her mother’s office where she observed her mother’s civil engineering projects and appreciated their impact on people and the society.
Ms. Chen enjoyed being an exchange student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and said, “The winter weather was interesting.” In her free time, she enjoys kayaking, paddle boarding, and biking with her friends. Currently, she is considering various options and has not yet decided on her course after completing her Master’s degree.
- Stefania Fatone Presents Symposium in Denmark10/13/2016
Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), presented a continuing education symposium on “Evidence Based Orthotic Management after Stroke” at ORTOS (Brøndby, Denmark). ORTOS has locations in seven cities throughout Denmark and the half-day symposium was attended by 30 physical and occupational therapists from the Copenhagen area. Dr. Fatone discussed the sequelae of brain hemorrhage and blood clot and detailed the appropriate orthotic treatment of stroke. Dr. Fatone also examined the immediate post-stroke biomechanical effects of using a prescribed AFO; the optimum design of an AFO for the restoration of gait; and strategies to maximize walking speed, stride length, and stability.
- Fatone and Caldwell Teach NU-FlexSIV Socket Course in Denmark10/11/2016
By invitation, Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), and Ryan Caldwell, CP, FAAOP, taught the NU-FlexSIV Socket Course for ten experienced prosthetists at ORTOS, in Brøndby, Denmark. The prosthetists were accompanied by their patient models with transfemoral amputation and participated in the hands-on 2-day course that consisted of conceptual lectures, demonstrations, casting, fabrication, rectification, fitting, alignments, and comparative videos of the patient models walking in their original socket and then in the NU-FlexSIV socket.
Didactic modules provided an Introduction to Subischial Socket and Vacuum Technology, The Development of the NU-FlexSIV Socket, Discussion of Definitive Socket Fabrication Options, Final Troubleshooting, and Q&A. The participating prosthetists and their patient models responded positively to the Course and the NU-FlexSIV Socket.
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.