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.

  • Miguel Vaca Moran Successfully Defends BME Master’s Thesis

    Miguel Angel Vaca Moran, MSMiguel Angel Vaca Moran successfully defended his Master’s thesis in Biomedical Engineering, The Effect of Systematically Varying the Prosthetic Foot Keel and Ankle Joint Stiffness on Standing and Walking in Persons with Unilateral Transtibial Amputations (See Abstract). Steven A. Gard, PhD, advises and mentors Mr. Vaca Moran.

    To evaluate optimal prosthetic foot keel stiffness and ankle joint stiffness, the study examined unilateral transtibial amputees in five different combinations of foot-ankle stiffness during quiet standing and three speeds of walking. Results of gait analysis suggested that the highest stiffness offered optimal forward progression for walking and optimal stability during prosthetic stance phase and quiet standing.

    NUPOC congratulates Miguel Vaca Moran, MS!

  • POI Editors Invite Qualitative Research Manuscripts

    The Editors-in-Chief of Prosthetics and Orthotics International, Drs. Dillon, Fatone, Ramstrand and Hafner, have added a new submission category for qualitative research manuscripts. The Editors note the “value of qualitative research to explore and understand the experience of living with a disabling health condition” and conclude that qualitative methods can develop a richer understanding of participants’ life experiences related to long-term outcomes, such as return-to-work.

    Read this editorial at Prosthetics and Orthotic International 2019, 43(4)366-368. Interested authors are invited to access POI guidelines for submission.

  • NUPOC Presents STEM Program to NSLC Biotech Group

    2019 National Student Leadership Conference-Biotechnology Group at  NUPOC

    On July 17, NUPOC presented the STEM program, High Tech, Low Tech, the Right Tech!, to 50 students of the 2019 National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC) Biotechnology Group. The students toured NUPOC facilities, were introduced to academic programs in rehabilitation engineering and Prosthetics and Orthotics, and learned about analog and digital biometrics. 

    Dr. Gard presents Biomechanics of Human Gait and Its Application to P&O Devicess

    Steven A. Gard, PhD, introduced NSLC students to foundational concepts for the day’s learning objectives with his presentation, Understanding the Biomechanics of Human Gait and Its Application to Prosthetic & Orthotic Devices

    Mr. Robinson presents The Human Foot-Ankle module. Mr. Robinson presents The Human Foot-Ankle Mr. Robinson presents The Human Foot-Ankls

    Chris Robinson, CPO, MBA, MS, ATC, FAAOP(D) presented The Human Foot-Ankle: Anatomy, Range of Motion (ROM), and Plantar Pressure Measurement Systems. He demonstrated and trained the NSLC students to use a goniometer to measure their ankle and knee ROM. To prepare NSLC students for the second hands-on activity, Mr. Robinson demonstrated static and dynamic plantar pressure measurement using a Harris-Beath imprint mat. NSLC students used two valid and reliable biometric devices: the goniometer to measure ROM; and the Harris-Beath mat to measure plantar pressure. 

    NSLC students compared plantar pressure imprints NSLC students compared plantar pressure imprints NSLC students compared plantar pressure imprints

    Dr. Fatone interprets a plantar pressure imprintUsing Harris-Beath mats, biomedical engineering graduates Rakshitha Kamath BSE, Jenny Kent, PhD, Claire Martin, BS, Anna Pace, MSc, Miguel Vaca Moran, BS, and Jessica Yohay, BS, helped NSLC students produce, understand and compare their plantar pressure imprints. Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), provided a biomechanical interpretation of selected NSLC students’ plantar pressure imprints.

    Ms. Stine and Mr. Linton introduce NSLC to motion analysisRebecca Stine, MS, presented Human Motion Analysis and PEDAR, introducing NSLC students to digital systems that measure human gait and plantar pressure. Jeff Linton, CPO, wore reflective markers and demonstrated gait on force plates that measure ground reactions forces while corresponding images displayed on a computer screen. Mr. Linton answered NSLC students’ questions about the experience of wearing prostheses and living with transtibial amputations.

    Dr. Yeongchi Wu illustrates "better, cheaper, faster, greener" innovationsYeongchi Wu, MD, presented an informative demonstration, Dilatancy Casting, an Innovative and Sustainable Biotechnology. Dr. Wu illustrated “better, cheaper faster, greener” innovations that improve Quality of Life for persons with amputation. 

    R. J. Garrick, PhD, developed and managed this collaborative STEM program. NUPOC appreciates Scheck and Siress  for supporting this educational program.

  • PTJ Interviews Matthew Major, PhD

    Matthew Major, PhD, was interviewed by Alan Jette, PhD, MPH, PT, FAPTA, for the Physical Therapy Journal Podcast. The PTJ podcast is freely available online and examines Dr. Major’s recent publication, Falls Are ‘Critical Health Hazard’ for Individuals with Upper Limb Loss. Fall Prevalence and Contributors to the Likelihood of Falling in Persons with Upper Limb Loss (Physical Therapy, 2019:99(4)377-387.  

    In the interview, Dr. Major discusses the prevalence of falls among individuals with upper limb loss (ULL) and suggests that attention to health characteristics, activity level, fall history, prosthesis use, and balance confidence may help clinicians screen for at-risk persons. Additional research will provide better understanding of the factors that underlie fall risk in persons with ULL and the value of screening with subsequent therapeutic interventions proposed to mitigate fall risk.

  • NU-FlexSIV Publication by Shin Sasaki Receives JAPO Best Paper Award

    Mr. Sasaki accepts JAPO Best Paper Award.   Shin Sasaki (left) with JAPO President Kazuhiro Sakai.

    Prosthetist Shin Sasaki received JAPO Best Paper Award.The Japan Association of Prosthetics-Orthotics (JAPO) recognized prosthetist Shin Sasaki, Director of the 4-year training program in prosthetics and orthotics at Kobe College of Medical Welfare (Sanda Campus), with the 2019 award for Best Manuscript on July 14, 2019. Mr. Sasaki authored Case Report: Initial Clinical Experiences Report for the NU Flex-SIV Socket (JAPO, 2019, 25(3)). JAPO President Kazuhiro Sakai presented the award. Prosthetists from throughout Japan attended the manuscript honors ceremony in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture.

    Mr. Sasaki’s award-winning article introduced the NU-FlexSIV Socket to the Japanese P&O profession. He reported that he and two patients with transfemoral amputation felt initial anxiety and skepticism about whether the low brim would be sufficiently safe and stable.

    The results of data from two patients wearing the NU-FlexSIV Socket showed no difference in gait when compared to the patients’ original sockets. Subjects reported that their original sockets caused painful pressure, but the NU-FlexSIV Socket caused no painful pressure, even at the distal end of the residuum. Both patients reported greater hip range of motion, increased comfort while sitting, and good suspension during walking and on stairs. However, both patients suggested that a higher lateral wall would increase their sense of stability. Based on these results, both the author’s and patients’ initial anxiety vanished and concluded that the NU-FlexSIV Socket will be beneficial to many patients with transfemoral amputation.

    For several years, Mr. Sasaki has collaborated with NU-FlexSIV Socket developers Ryan Caldwell, CP, and Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), to disseminate this technology among Japanese  prosthetists. Mr. Sasaki and Kobe College of Medical Welfare have hosted four 3-day, hands-on workshops that Caldwell and Fatone have presented to Japanese and other Asian prosthetists.

    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.

  • NUPOC Researchers to Present at 2019 MWCAAOP Meeting

    NUPOC researchers will present their work at the Midwest Chapter American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists (MWCAAOP) 2019 Annual Meeting and Scientific Session on September 12 -14, 2019.

    Scheduled presenters and their presentations are:

    • Jenny KentThe Effect of Upper Limb Loss on the Momentum Balance during Walking: An Exploration of Why People with Upper Limb Absence May Fall More.
    • Paul Hammond, II, MS, Evaluating the Effect of Walking Speed on Leg Muscle Activations in Older Transtibial Prosthesis Users.
    • Julia Quinlan, PhD, What We’ve Learnt from Mechanical Testing of Textured 3D Printed Prosthetic Sockets
    • John Brinkmann, CPO, Motivational Interviewing.
  • Fatone and Caldwell Teach NU-FlexSIV Socket Course at Össur Academy

    Patient model walks in NU-FlexSIV socket  Patient models demonstrate range of motion wearing NU-FlexSIV sockets

    Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons) and Ryan Caldwell, CP, taught the NU-FlexSIV Socket Course at Össur Academy, the host site, in Orlando, FL. This hands-on workshop was conducted on July 19 and 20 for prosthetists and their patient models who attended from across the USA. To date, a total of 274 prosthetists have attended hands-on workshops to learn the NU-Flex SIV socket technique.

  • Steven A. Gard, PhD, Invited by World Health Organization to Attend Global Rehabilitation Meeting

    WHO Second Global Rehabilitation 2030

    Steven A. Gard, PhDSteven A. Gard, PhD, Executive Director of the Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center (NUPOC); Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University; and a Research Health Scientist with the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, was invited by the World Health Organization (WHO) to participate in the Second Global Rehabilitation 2030 in Geneva, Switzerland, on July 8 through 11, 2019.

    The WHO initiative aims to “ensure that rehabilitation is implemented in countries as part of universal health coverage”. Dr. Gard joins representatives of Member States, international and professional organizations, NGOs, rehabilitation experts and stakeholders to evaluate progress toward the stated goals. Learn more about the WHO Rehabilitation 2030 call for action.

    Dr. Gard, Editor-in-Chief of the distinguished Journal of Prosthetics and Orthotics, also was invited to participate in the follow-up sessions that establish the WHO global research agenda. 

    Click to live stream the WHO Second Global Rehabilitation 2030 meeting in English.

  • Australian AOPA Recognizes Fatone and POI Co-Editors-in-Chief

    POI, Co-Editors-in-Chief

    AOPA Review (June 2019), the semi-annual publication of the Australian Orthotic Prosthetic Association recognized the Co-Editors-in-Chief of Prosthetics and Orthotics International (POI). The joint editors are Stefania Fatone, PhD, Nerrolyn Ramstrand, PhD, Michael Dillon, PhD, all three graduates of LaTrobe University (Australia), and Brian Hafner, PhD.

    POI is a distinguished journal that informs the P&O profession by publishing peer-reviewed research articles.

  • Ann Speltz Exhibit Opens at NUPOC Gallery

    Speltz Exhibit at NUPOC Gallery 

    At NUPOC, science, technology, and art intersect. In recognition of the artistry that is vital to prosthetics and orthotics, NUPOC is delighted to announce the installation and exhibition of 5 original paintings by Ann Speltz. Speltz is an independent artist whose current work focuses on still life and landscape.

    Ann Speltz at NUPOC GallerySpeltz's visits to the Sungei Buloh Wetland Preserve in Singapore and to the Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park, WA, inspired these 5 canvases. The works suggest processes of growth, dissolution and regeneration, offering an opportunity to pause and reflect on Nature’s ceaseless cycle of life, death and rebirth.

    Among her paintings, Speltz depicts a colonnade of trees that germinated and took root in nurse logs, created when a forest tree falls, decays and provides a strata where seeds can germinate. After a nurse log has disintegrated, it will have nurtured the mature trees that grow along the path where it fell. The roots in Speltz's paintings represent a point of entry into a chthonic world that is both literal and mythic.

    Prior to focusing on the visual language of painting, Speltz has a lifetime immersion in the language of books and verbal communication. She studies painting at the Palette and Chisel Academy of Fine Arts and lives in Chicago, IL. 

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