Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center


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.

  • Matthew Major, PhD, Receives JSPS Seminar Program Award

    Matthew Major, PhD, received JSPS awardThe Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), Washington, D.C. office, recognized Matthew Major, PhD, with the JSPS US Alumni Association Seminar Program award. Dr. Major directed the award to help underwrite The Neuromechanics of Rehabilitation for Lower Limb Loss Symposium 2018 that was presented on June 11, 2018.

    Mr. Koki Kawano, JSPS representative. JSPS representatives, Mr. Koki Kawano and Mr. Yusuke Nakashima, travelled from the Washington, D.C. office to attend the symposium, where Mr. Kawano presented Research Collaborations with Japan.

     Founded in 1932, the JSPS is a foundation that works to develop and implement diverse domestic and international scientific programs. Annual subsidies from the Japanese government enable the JSPS to foster young researchers, promote international scientific cooperation, award grands-in-aid for scientific research, support and distribute scientific information about cooperation between industry and academia. 

  • Posters Add Value at Neuromechanics Symposium

    Neuromechanics symposium poster.Scientific posters added important content to The Neuromechanics of Rehabilitation for Lower Limb Loss Symposium 2018. Symposium attendees could access the posters as physical posters that were displayed in the exhibit hall and also as digital versions that were loaded onto the conference USB drive. Poster presenters conducted productive discussions with attendees and extended their network with researchers from several universities.  

    The symposium featured the following scientific posters. Presenters’ names are underlined.

    Greene M, Adamczyk P. Joint Effects of a Quasi-Passive Two Degree of Freedom Prosthetic Ankle.

    Hisano G, Hashizume S, Murai A, Kobayashi Y, Nakashima M, Hobara H. Factors Affecting Knee Buckling Risk during Walking in Unilateral Transfemoral Amputees. 

    Kaluf B, Duncan A, Shoemaker E, Martin T, DiGioia C, et al. Comparative Effectiveness of Microprocessor Controlled and Carbon Fiber Energy Storing and Returning Prosthetic Feet in Persons with Unilateral Transtibial Amputation: Full Study.

    Krausz N, Hargrove L. Powered Prosthesis Control and Intent Recognition Based on Novel Computer Vision Algorithms.

    Li W, Pickle N, Fey N. Time Evolution of Frontal-Plane Dynamic Balance during Locomotor Transitions of Altered Anticipation and Complexity.

    Major M, Shirvaikar T, Stine R, Gard S. Effects of Wearing an Upper Limb Prosthesis on Standing Balance.

    Olesnavage K, Arelekatti M, Prost V, Petalina N, Johnson B, Winter A. Design of a Low Cost, Mass-Manufacturable Prosthetic Leg for Persons with Amputations in India. 

    Pickle N, Silverman A, Wilken J, Fey N. Segmental Contributions to Sagittal-Plane Whole-Body Angular Momentum When Using Powered Compared to Passive Ankle-Foot Prostheses on Ramps.

    Shepherd M, Rouse E. Energy Storage and Return in Prosthetic Feet Is Not Maximal at the Preferred Stiffness.

    Shorter A, Rouse E. Type of Gait Alters Ankle Joint Mechanical Impedance.

    Takahashi K, Hashizume S, Namiki Y, Hobara H. Mechanical Power and Work Profiles during Sprinting in Transfemoral Amputees.

  • Neuromechanical Rehabilitation for Lower Limb Loss Symposium 2018

    (From left) Drs Fey, Rosenblatt, Major, Hobara, Sawers and Rouse.  20180611_symposium_audience.jpg

    NUPOC hosted The Neuromechanical Rehabilitation for Lower Limb Loss Symposium 2018, a day-long scientific symposium that featured podium and poster presentations, a panel discussion, and informal opportunities to discuss research interests. Lower limb amputation is an impairment that constrains mobility and negatively affects quality of life, but new research in neuromechanics is producing novel physical therapies and bionic prostheses. 

    Dr. Rosenblatt.  Dr. Fey.  Dr. Sawers.

    (From left) Drs. Major and Rosenblatt.The symposium was designed to enhance the exchange of ideas and potential collaborative research. The conference introduced USA neuromechanics researchers to groundbreaking Japanese research on lower limb bionic prostheses, launched an ongoing dialogue on how neuromechanics research can enhance the rehabilitation of persons with lower limb loss, and identified areas for future research. Integrated into the scientific program were post-symposium opportunities to continue the dialogue, including an on-line follow-up forum and publicly accessible Proceedings.  

    Featured speaker, Hiroaki Hobara, PhD.Distinguished featured speaker, Hiroaki Hobara, PhD, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Tokyo and Tsukuba, Japan, presented Active Amputees: Biomechanics of Running-Specific Prostheses.

    Elliott Rouse, PhD (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor), Andrew Sawers, CPO, PhD (University of Illinois, Chicago), Matthew Major, PhD (Northwestern University, Chicago), Noah Rosenblatt, PhD (Rosalind Franklin University, North Chicago), and Nicholas Fey, PhD (University of Texas, Dallas), delivered research presentations.

    Dr. RouseDr. Rouse presented The Role of Mechanical Impedance in Human Neuromotor Control and Wearable Robotic Systems; Dr. Sawers presented Falls among Lower Limb Prosthesis Users: Refocusing through an Epidemiological Lens; Dr. Major presented How a priori Knowledge of a Perturbation Impacts Proactive and Reactive Locomotor Strategies of Below-Knee Prosthesis Users; Dr. Rosenblatt presented The Effects of Fear of Falling on Balance and Gait: Lessons from Intact Adults and Implications for Prosthetic Design and Rehabilitation; and Dr. Fey presented Assessing the Neuromechanical Response of Individuals with Major Lower-Limb Loss during Steady and Non-Steady-State Locomotion. Research speakers also participated in the panel discussion. Mr. Koki Kawano, represented the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), Washington, D.C., and presented Research Collaborations with Japan.

    Other researchers presented posters of their recent studies in neuromechanics in the exhibit hall. Symposium posters were available in both print and digital format on portable drives that were distributed to registered participants.

    Matthew Major, PhD, and R. J. Garrick, PhD, organized the symposium. Dr. Garrick said, “This was an exciting conference that generated valuable discussions. Dr. Major and I hope that the seminal ideas presented during the scientific program in The Neuromechanics of Rehabilitation for Lower Limb Loss will result in new research and products that will maximize the quality of life for individuals with lower limb loss.” The organizers deeply appreciate financial support from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), the Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center (NUPOC), and the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Feinberg School of Medicine.

  • Fatone and Caldwell Teach NU-FlexSIV Socket Course at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital

    Fatone & Caldwell teach NU-FlexSIV Socket Course at Mary Freebed Hospital (Grand Rapids, MI).

    Fatone & Caldwell teach NU-FlexSIV Socket Course at Mary Freebed Hospital (Grand Rapids, MI).Stefania Fatone, PhD, and Ryan Caldwell, CP, taught the 2-day, hands-on NU-FlexSIV Socket Course to prosthetists at the Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital (Grand Rapids, MI). Participants learned to fit, fabricate and modify the NU-FlexSIV Socket. Participating prosthetists demonstrated good results fitting the NU-FlexSIV Socket to 5 persons with transfemoral amputation. Prosthetists who participated in both course days earned 15.5 continuing education credits from the American Board for Certification in Prosthetics, Orthotics and Pedorthics. 

  • Matthew Major Presents to U.S. Congressional Committee

       Dr. Major was an invited witness for "Empowering U.S. Veterans through Technology".   Dr. Major was an invited witness for "Empowering U.S. Veterans through Technology".

    Dr. Major was an invited witness for "Empowering U.S. Veterans through Technology".Matthew Major, PhD, VA Research Health Scientist and Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Northwestern University, was an invited witness for the Emerging Technologies in the Field of Military and Veterans Care showcase and appeared before the U.S. Congressional Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Subcommittee on Research and Technology; and the Subcommittee on Energy. Dr. Major and four other witnesses presented on Empowering U.S. Veterans through Technology

    Dr. Major summarized the significance of his research investigating balance and developing strategies and technologies to prevent fall injury among veterans with upper- and lower-limb amputations. He noted that rehabilitation interventions do not end in the clinic and emphasized that the clinical application of evidence-based therapies can contribute to veterans’ health and quality of life. Citing the need to promote interdisciplinary research that can restore maximum independence and mobility to veterans, Dr. Major addressed opportunities to integrate services and personalize wearable technologies.

    See Empowering U.S. Veterans through Technology for the full testimony.

  • MPO 2019 Volunteers at Adaptive Climbing Expo

    NUPOSS 2019 student volunteers (from left) Leah Senator, Abbey Senczyszyn, Jorian Ordway, Audrey Lawson, Emily Ring, Jonah Rhymer, and Chris Mullin.Seven members of the NUPOC MPO Class of 2019 volunteered at the May 12, 2018 Adaptive Climbing Expo at Maggie Daley Park (Chicago). Audrey Lawson, Chris Mullin, Jorian Ordway, Jonah Rhymer, Emily Ring, Leah Senator and Abbey Senczyszyn assisted registration, distributed event T-shirts, managed climbing equipment, organized participants, and belayed the climbers. MPO students were instrumental in ensuring the climbers’ safety. 

    Using the Arc to rock climb.The Expo showcased various adaptive climbing methods that enable individuals with a physical impairment to enjoy rock climbing. Side-by-side climbers assisted ambulatory participants who required additional stability or support when gripping the rocks with their hands or feet. Wheelchair participants used seat harness and pulley devices, either the Arc or the Easy Seat. These participants ascended the rope by performing pull-ups, requiring significant upper body and core strength. 

    NUPOC MPO 2019 students plan to volunteer on a bi-weekly basis to help adaptive climbing events continue throughout the year.

  • Gard and Stine To Present at Gait Meeting

    Steven Gard, PhD, and Rebecca Stine, MS, will present An Overview of Lower-Limb Prosthetic Components and Their Effect on Gait at the Gait & Clinical Movement Analysis Society (GCMAS) to be held May 22-25 in Indianapolis, IN.

    This 90-minute tutorial describes the features and functions of different commercially-available lower-limb prosthetic components with particular emphasis on how they affect gait biomechanics. The tutorial is directed toward therapists, engineers, physicians and other individuals who have fundamental knowledge of able-bodied gait kinematics and kinetics and who wish to learn about lower-limb prosthetic components. 

    Dr. Gard also presented a podium talk, A Model to Explain the Effect of Schock Absorbing Pylons on Gait, co-authored with Nepomuceno A, Stine R and Brinkmann J.

    GCMAS is a multidisciplinary association that meets annually to inform scientists, clinicians and researchers about clinical practice and technological advancements that can improve the function and quality of life for individuals who live with movement disorders.

  • NUPOC Researchers Present at Scheck Fest

    NUPOC researchers Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), Matthew Major, PhD, and Julia Quinlan, PhD presented their research to prosthetist-orthotists who attended Scheck Fest, the annual in-house educational training program at Scheck & Siress Prosthetics, Inc.

    Dr. Fatone, Ryan Caldwell, CP, and John Angelico, CP presented Evaluation of the NU-FlexSIV Socket for Persons with Transfemoral Amputation: Interim Results & Clinical Commentary
    Dr. Fatone presented Informing Decisions about Dysvascular Partial Foot Amputation Using a Shared Decision-Making Approach.
    Dr. Quinlan presented The Effect of Prosthetic Socket Texturing on Suspension. 
    Dr. Major presented How Do Transtibial Prosthesis Users Prepare for a Balance Disturbance during Walking
  • NUPOC Presents P&O Programs for Youth

    NU kids visit NUPOC   NU kids visit NUPOC  NU kids to NUPOC

    NU kids learned about prostheses and orthosesNUPOC hosted three interactive, educational sessions about Prosthetics and Orthotics for the Northwestern University Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. NUPOC presented 3 back-to-back, interactive, educational modules about prosthetics and orthotics (P&O). Fifty-two children aged 8 through 13 and their adult chaperones attended the programs. This outreach program inform children and NU employees about NUPOC and our work. Learning modules focused on The Fabulous Foot: Biological and Prosthetic, with sections dedicated to prostheses, foot-ankle anatomy, plantar pressure data, and orthoses. MPO 2019 volunteer presenters were: Audrey Lawson, Cassidy Rice, Abbey Sencyszyn, John Wamhoff, and Hannah Williams.  

    Visitors learned about lower limb prostheses. Abbey Sencyszyn identified parts of a lower limb prosthesis and talked about materials used to make prostheses. Hannah Williams explained how the level of amputation affects prostheses and a person’s ability to walk. 

    Hannah Williams teaching NU kids  Audrey Lawson teaches NU kids about P&O  Cassidy Rice taught NU kids about P&O  Abbey Sencyszyn taught NU kids about P&O

    Audrey Lawson introduced foot-ankle anatomy and discussed plantar pressure. NUPOC volunteers helped the children and their chaperones to measure and interpret their static plantar pressure. Attendees took home their footprints and handouts to share with their family. 

    NUPOC volunteers helped NU kids take plantar impressionsVisitors learned about many orthoses, including Ankle-Foot Orthoses (AFO), Wrist-Hand Orthoses (WHO), cranial, cervical, thoracolumbosacral orthoses (TLSO) and others. Cassidy Rice explained how orthoses can help people with neuromuscular impairments. John Wamhoff talked about materials used to make orthoses. NUPOC volunteers helped visitors don and doff demonstration orthoses for the upper and lower limbs.   

    NUPOC appreciates members of the MPO class of 2019 Audrey Lawson, Cassidy Rice, Abbey Sencyszyn, John Wamhoff, and Hannah Williams for volunteering their expertise; and Martin Buckner, CPO, for facilitating the loan of demonstration AFOs. R. J. Garrick, PhD, developed and moderated this educational program.


  • NUPOC Welcomes Vasanth Subramanian, MS

    Vasanth Subramanian, MSVasanth Subramanian, MS, has joined NUPOC as a Research Engineer. With a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering (Biomechanics) from the University of Illinois-Chicago; a second Master of Science degree in Kinesiology (Sports Medicine) and work toward a doctorate at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG), Mr. Subramanian is exceptionally well-prepared to contribute to multiple research projects at NUPOC.

    Together with grant writing, Mr. Subramanian brings a broad and proven technical skill set that includes experience with motion capture (Phasespace, Vicon, Motion Analysis); electromyography collection and processing (Delsys); Instron compression testing; Novel pressure systems (Emed, Pedar); MatLab, SPSS and other software. As a research associate, Mr. Subramanian has contributed to projects at the Center for Lower Extremity and Ambulatory Research (Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science); Applied Neuromechanics Research Group (UNCG); and Spine Biomechanics Lab (Rush University, Chicago). Mr. Subramanian has several peer-reviewed publications; and he is a seasoned speaker with more than 20 professional presentations. He has experience teaching and has provided scientific service to professional and student organizations.

    Mr. Subramanian hails from Chennai and he completed his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering at SASTRA University (Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India). In his senior year, he accepted a highly competitive, prestigious position; but after graduation, he reconsidered and decided to attend graduate school in the USA. After a brief month of test preparation, he took the GRE and TOEFL exams and applied to US graduate schools. Ultimately, he rejected the job offer and moved to Chicago. At UIC he received a graduate assistantship and enjoyed the stimulating coursework. His engaging and outgoing personality, as well as his brother and friends at UIC, ensured Mr. Subramanian’s successful adaptation.

    Mr. Subramanian is guided by a desire to help others through service and volunteerism. In his limited free time, he reads avidly. He and his wife live in Chicago and are expecting their first child. We are delighted to welcome Vasanth Subramanian to NUPOC!

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.