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.

  • Brian Frasure, CP, Presents Otto Bock Foot-Ankle Devices

    Ms. Lori Timms demonstratesthe Otto Bock Meridium foot.   Brian Frasure, CP, speaks at NUPOC

    Mr. Frasure discusses the Otto Bock Empower footNUPOC alumnus, Brian Frasure, CP, presented a lecture-demonstration about two microprocessor controlled prosthetic feet: the Meridium and the Empower.

    The Meridium is equipped with an onboard microprocessor, real-time control and a 4-axis design that adjusts to the terrain and walking speed.

    NUPOC Educational Model Ms. Lori Timms who demonstrated the Meridium, reported that when sitting she does not feel painful pressure from the transtibial socket because this prosthetic foot rests flat on the floor.

    Mr. Frasure demonstrated the Empower foot that he wears daily. The Empower is tuned by Bluetooth on a tablet. Empower features an active ankle joint that adjusts ankle power, resistance and flexion in real time. Also, it is the only foot-ankle device with powered propulsion. Mr. Frasure demonstrated these features and explained how they enable the wearer to walk more normally and comfortably.   

    Mr. Frasure holds a BS in Engineering and received prosthetics training at Northwestern University (1999). During his 15 years as an elite Paralympic sprinter, Mr. Frasure set 5 world records, won 55 medals and competed in many Paralympic competitions, including the 1996 Paralympics. 

    NUPOC appreciates Mr. Frasure's presentation. 

  • Gregory Gion, MMS, CCA, BOCP, Speaks at NUPOC

    Nasal prosthesis by Medical Art Prosthetics

    Greg Gion, MMS, CCA, BOCPAnaplastologist and Prosthetist Greg Gion, MMS, CCA, BOCP, spoke about craniofacial prostheses to the NU Prosthetics-Orthotics Student Society (NUPOSS) at NUPOC. Craniofacial prostheses play an essential role in improving the lives of persons who need facial restoration due to congenital difference, disease, burns or other traumatic injury.

    Gion gave a brief overview of his profession, noting that historically ocularists and denturists may be family-based enterprises that transfer their specialized skills on a one-to-one, apprenticeship basis. From the 1980s, the specialization coalesced and morphed from the Association of Biomedical Sculptors to the American Anaplastology Association to its current professional entity, the International American Anaplastology Association. He noted that the profession would benefit from legislative support and standardization of training through an advanced P&O degree followed by a practice-based residency. 

    Gion discussed the fit and fabrication of biomimetic ocular, nasal, auricular and facial prostheses. He illustrated his talk with anaplastology prostheses and slides. He demonstrated anchoring techniques for ocular, nasal and auricular silicone prostheses, including adhesive-retained, glasses-retained, hollow bulb, two-piece magnetically anchored and osseo-integration prostheses.  

    Gion is the founder of Medical Art Prosthetics (MAP), a rehabilitative center that creates unique, patient-specific prostheses with exquisite attention to anatomical detail. MAP has a nationwide network that includes partnerships with surgeons, physicians, employers, payers and case managers who help achieve optimal, cost-effective patient outcomes. He holds a BA in Fine Art, a BS in Biocommunication Arts, and a Master of Medical Science. His clinical training was in facial prosthetics at the Maxillofacial Prosthetics Clinic, University of Illinois-Chicago, where he segued as a qualified facial prosthetist. A pioneer in his field, Gion established a facial prosthetics service for the Northwestern Memorial Hospital Dental Center. He also is a founding member of the International Anaplastology Association. 

  • Dr. Major Invited Lecturer at University of Illinois-Chicago

    Matthew Major, PhDMatthew Major, PhD, was an invited lecturer in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC). Dr. Major presented Personalized Rehabilitation: Mapping the Links between Prosthetic Device Parameters, Motor Capacity, and Clinical Outcomes for Optimizing Interventions to students in the course “Special Topics – Assistive Robotics” instructed by Myunghee Kim, PhD.

    Dr. Major identified constraints to the maximization of performance outcomes for individuals with lower limb amputation. Constraints include a patient’s functional capacity and motivation. He introduced the students to the improvement of performance outcomes through the use of parametric studies: the systematic and objective evaluation of prostheses’ mechanical function. Parametric studies generate maps that define relationships between specific parameters (e.g., stiffness, damping, roll-over geometry) and targeted outcomes. Parametric maps can also address covariates, such as patient motor capacity (e.g., muscle strength, sensory feedback). Finally, Dr. Major presented several novel experimental techniques that can populate these correlate maps, and examined the ways that an iterative optimization approach can personalize and integrate physical therapies for patients during lower-limb loss rehabilitation.

  • Nicolette Chamberlain-Simon, Casey Gruber and Jennifer Pudlo Win 2019 Tamarack Awards

     2019 Tamarack award winners Nicki Chamberlain-Simon, Casey Gruber and Jenny Pudlo

    Nicki Chamberlain-Simon, Casey Gruber and Jenny Pudlo, members of the NUPOC MPO class of 2020, are recipients of the 2019 Tamarack Awards. The Tamarack Awards were established at NUPOC in 2014 by the generosity of J. Martin Carlson, CPO, FAAOP, owner and chief engineer of Tamarack Habilitation Technologies (Blaine, MN). Each annual award represents a monetary prize of $2,000.

    In December of the second year of their MPO training at NUPOC, students who demonstrate excellence in orthotics compete by submitting an original essay that details his/her commitment to orthotics. The NUPOC teaching faculty anonymously evaluate their work and the Tamarack Awards are conferred on the three highest scoring students.

    Ms. Chamberlain-Simon discussed her commitment to orthotics. “Beyond my own patients, I hope to impact the field of orthotic management by disseminating knowledge that helps and informs others. I hope to participate in a research-track orthotics residency and I am also helping curate articles for an Academy-sponsored O&P evidence-based database designed to spread useful research knowledge. I love the puzzle, the challenge, and the teamwork that goes into an orthotic recommendation and I am eager to share effective orthotic solutions with others.”

    Mr. Gruber discussed his commitment to orthotics. “Utilizing a conceptual ‘three-point pressure system’ model that aligns the practitioner’s biomechanical goals with the patient’s subjective goals can maximize subjective and objective outcomes. By actively listening, discovering motivating factors, and measuring success, we can encourage a technical, human-centric, compassionate approach to care for every patient. The continuum of care requires rigorous follow-up and administration of outcome measures that indicate both the patient’s satisfaction with the intervention and the orthotist’s objective evaluation of effective orthotic interventions.”

    Ms. Pudlo discussed her commitment to orthotics. “The principles of orthotic management can be demonstrated through successfully fabricating and fitting an orthosis to a patient. Each patient presents differently and there is not one ‘right’ way for treatment. I hope to advance the effectiveness of orthotic intervention for severely handicapped children by considering biomechanical goals while improving their quality of life and social participation.”

    NUPOC appreciates the generosity of Mr. Carlson for bestowing the annual Tamarack Awards at NUPOC. Congratulations to the 2019 Tamarack awardees!

  • Caldwell Presents Introduction to Subischial Sockets and Vacuum Technology

    Ryan Caldwell, CP  NU-FlexSIV Socket Fabrication

    Ryan Caldwell, CPRyan Caldwell, CP, presented Introduction to Subischial Sockets and Vacuum Technology as part of the MPO student-driven and value-added Lunch and Learn series.

    An internationally recognized research prosthetist at NUPOC, Mr. Caldwell is renowned as the developer of the NU-FlexSIV Socket. Initial research with his co-developer, Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), indicated its particular appropriateness for highly active military with transfemoral amputations. With a relatively low brim, compressive silicone liner and vacuum suspension, NU-FlexSIV Socket wearers report that the socket offers better comfort, stability, hip range of motion and function than their prior socket.

    Established prosthetists and trainees alike are eager to learn the NU-FlexSIV Socket fitting technique so they can better serve patients in the general population who have transfemoral amputation. Worldwide, more than 285 prosthetists have been trained by Caldwell and Fatone to fit the NU-FlexSIV Socket.

    Learn more about the science underlying the NU-FlexSIV Socket at Development of Subischial Prosthetic Sockets with Vacuum-Assisted Suspension for Highly Active Persons with Transfemoral Amputations; and Functional Performance Evaluation of the Northwestern University Flexible Sub-Ischial Vacuum (NU-FlexSIV) Socket for Persons with Transfemoral Amputation.

  • Fatone and Caldwell Teach Sub-Ischial Socket Course in Orlando, FL

    Ryan Caldwell, CP, fits NU-FlexSIV sockets to a patient model with bilateral, transfemoral amputations. with Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), and Ryan Caldwell, CP, taught the 2-day, hands-on, sub-ischial socket workshop to prosthetists in Orlando, Florida on November 15 and 16, 2019. Hosted by the Össur Academy, eleven prosthetists and 6 patient models from around the USA and the Netherlands attended the course. Prosthetists successfully fit their patient models with unilateral transfemoral amputation with NU-FlexSIV sockets; and one patient model with bilateral, transfemoral amputations was also successfully fit with NU-FlexSIV sockets.  

    To date, Fatone and Caldwell have presented 26 NU-FlexSIV Socket courses, bringing the number of prosthetists who have learned the sub-ischial socket technique to 285. 

    In 2020, the Fatone and Caldwell plan to teach additional courses that will be hosted by Össur Academy. Prosthetists who would like to participate in a NU-FlexSIV Socket workshop are invited to please contact Barbara Woodford:

  • Fatone Featured in Article about La Trobe Prosthetists

    Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons)Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), is featured in La Trobe University Alumni News (November 2019). The article, Alumni Insights: Behind the Scenes in a Prosthetics Career, features three prosthetists, all women, who graduated from La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. A pioneer in the allied health discipline of prosthetics and orthotics (P&O), Fatone is the first student in Australia who enrolled in a P&O doctoral degree program and also is one of the first P&O graduates to become a full professor. 

    Fatone’s career contributions are many, but perhaps most revolutionary is the NU-FlexSIV Socket that was developed and disseminated with her colleague and collaborator, Ryan Caldwell, CP. Fatone said, “Our goal was to develop a prosthetic socket with a lower profile that would eliminate all contact with the pelvis, support body weight fully through the remaining thigh, and be more comfortable….This new socket technique has had a global impact.”

    Throughout her research projects, training sessions and clinical interactions, Fatone is acutely aware and emphasizes that each P&O device must be customized to meet the requirements of the user. “P&O solutions need to be tailored to each individual.”

  • Pía Cruzalegui Exhibit Opens at NUPOC Gallery

    Pía Cruzalegui, interdisciplinary artistNUPOC is delighted to announce the installation of Kaleidoscope, an exhibit of seven abstract photographic works by interdisciplinary artist Pía Cruzalegui. “This solo show represents some interlinking aspects of my life in Chicago. When I first moved to Chicago, I observed and sought to capture its dynamism through the lens of my camera and the sounds I collected. The results are these kaleidoscopic images of its vitality. ‘Kaleidoscope’ represents how I experience Chicago and my approach to working with collected images.

    Cruzalegui experiments with new media, combining art and technology to create immersive sensory experiences. “Electronically, I collect seemingly mundane events and interactions around me. I use those elements to create new sensory experiences through video art, experimental sounds and installations.”

    The elements of time, place, gender and role are important factors in Cruzalegui’s art practice. Cruzalegui reflects that she lives between North and Latin American cultures and identities. “My work reflects my life as an expatriate Latin American and a foreigner who lives here in my North American home. Life in the USA appeals to my curiosity, but I am powerfully engaged by global social issues related to the human condition, femininity, spirituality, immigrant lives, and climate change.

    Since 2014, Cruzalegui organizes and produces curatorial projects, including film, performance, digital media and installation of works for large group exhibitions. As an independent curator with a mobile practice throughout the USA, Latin America and Europe, Cruzalegui is the founder and director of Twisted Oyster Film & New Media Festival and Kinetic Art Projects.

    Born in Lima, Peru, Cruzalegui lives permanently in Chicago. Cruzalegui holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications - Film and Multimedia (Florida Atlantic University), and a Master of Fine Arts - Studio Art Practice (the School of the Art Institute of Chicago). She is a member of the Comunidad de Arte Contemporáneo Latinoamérica, Association of American Curators, and Chicago Sculpture International.

    We appreciate Pía Cruzalegui for making this exhibit possible at NUPOC, where science, technology and art intersect. 

  • Special Olympics Illinois Speakers at NUPOC Lunch & Learn

    Stacey Brown (MPO 2020) and Megan Reaska, Special Olympics Illinois Manager of Sports.  Special Olympics Illinois representatives Dani Chitwood, William Chang and Megan Reaska.

    The MPO student-administered optional educational Lunch & Learn session featured presentations by three representatives from Special Olympics Illinois. Stacey Brown (MPO 2020) introduced speakers Megan Reaska, Manager of Sport, Dani Chitwood, and Special Olympics athlete William Tang. 

    Now a global organization, Special Olympics originated in Chicago, Illinois in 1968. Special Olympics offers people with intellectual disabilities transformative opportunities to participate in sports that can enhance their “physical fitness, motor skills, self-confidence, social skills and encourage family and community support.”

    Special Olympics rely heavily on volunteers. Students in the NUPOC MPO program generously volunteer their time to assist Special Olympics events.

  • MPO Students Conduct P&O Outreach

    (From left) Stacey Brown, Nicky Chamberlain-Simon, Bria Collins, Marion Gibney, and Lauren Price

    NUPOC was represented by class of 2020 MPO students, Stacey Brown, Nicky Chamberlain-Simon, Bria Collins, Marion Gibney, and Lauren Price, who presented an outreach event at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry for the 2019 Science Works Celebration on October 19. NUPOC was one of 36 STEM companies and organizations that participated in the event.

    Using demonstration prostheses and orthoses, MPO students offered hands-on activities that introduced children to prosthetics and orthotics (P&O) as a STEM career. They discussed with youth and their families how to prepare for a future career in P&O. In August, students presented a similar program at the Chicago Children’s Museum. Kudos to Stacey Brown for initiating these outreach presentations. 

    In addition to the rigorous demands of their clinical practicum at NUPOC, MPO students generously volunteer at many community activities, including those that support persons who live with disabilities.

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 and 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