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.

  • Fatone and Caldwell Teach NU-FlexSIV Socket Course at University of Delaware

    NU-FlexSIV Socket Course at Delaware

    Ryan Caldwell, CP, teaching at NU-FlexSIV Socket Course, DelawareIndependence Prosthetics & Orthotics (IP&O), the largest provider of P&O care in Delaware, hosted the NU-FlexSIV Socket Course on June 13 and 14, 2019. Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), and Ryan Caldwell, CP, conducted the course at the IP&O practice located on the STAR campus at the University of Delaware. Nine prosthetists from Delaware and Maryland participated in this successful 2-day, hands-on workshop.

    After the course, Fatone and Caldwell toured the STAR campus. They visited the laboratories of Dr. Elisa Arch and Dr. Megan Sions, both of whom are active in P&O research; and also met with Dr. Steven Stanhope, the Associate Vice President for Research.  

  • MK Czerwiec Speaks at NUPOC

    MK Cerwiec exhibit at NUPOC Gallery, May-June 2019 

    MK Czerwiec spoke at NUPOC on May 21, 2019MK Czerwiec (a.k.a. “ComicNurse”), a recognized leader in Graphic Medicine, spoke to researchers and educators at NUPOC on May 21, 2019. Ms. Czerwiec is Senior Fellow of the George Washington School of Nursing and Artist in Residence at Northwestern University. Ms. Czerwiec’s work has been featured in many publications, including Academic Medicine, Annnals of Internal Medicine, and Journal of Medical Humanities. Ms. Czerwiec is frequently invited to speak at medical schools and on podcasts from Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, University of California-SF and many others. She is recipient of JAMA Best of Graphic Medicine (2017) and a nominee of the Eisner Award for her co-authored book Graphic Medicine Manifesto (2015). During May and June, some of Ms. Czerwiec’s art works are on exhibit in the NUPOC Gallery.

    An advocate for good communications, Ms. Czerwiec examined the intersection of comics and health. She discussed ways that the medium of comics can supplement and empower complex conversations between practitioners and patients. She suggested ways to integrate comics that can improve communications about health, illness and disability. During discussion, audience members considered ways that narrative drawings and comics could enhance communications in clinical P&O.

    Good communications between patient and clinician are central to healthcare and P&O, but conveying complex concepts to patients may be challenging. The U.S. government passed the Plain Writing Act of 2010 requiring all federal agencies to write communications in a clear, concise, well-organized manner that the public can understand and use. This directive has been implemented nationwide throughout federal policy, law and healthcare. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other federal agencies use the Federal Plain Language Guidelines. Their websites provide training and resources in “Plain Language” which is defined as “grammatically correct language that includes complete sentence structure and accurate word usage”. Comics offer an engaging supplement to plain language.   

    Comics and narrative drawings are a medium for communication that can transcend text to effectively convey complex concepts and emotions. Please visit the following websites for more information about Ms. Czerwiec, her publications, and graphic medicine; and to consider how medically-themed comics can supplement clinical communications: and

    NUPOC appreciates MK Czerwiec for her presentation!

  • Miguel Vaca Presents Poster at BME Research Day

    Miguel VacaMiguel Vaca presented his research poster, The Effect of Prosthetic Foot and Ankle Stiffness Changes on Gait and Standing in People with Unilateral Transtibial Amputations, at the BME Research Day on May 16, 2019. Poster coauthors are Steven A. Gard, PhD, and Rebecca Stine, MS.

    This research examines how systematically varying the prosthetic foot keel stiffness and prosthetic ankle joint stiffness affects standing and walking in persons with unilateral, transtibial amputations. With the goal of optimizing prosthesis tuning for the wearer, this study identifies and evaluates the consequences of combining stiffer prosthetic footplates with more compliant dorsiflexion bumpers. The College Park Venture Foot was used due to the relative ease of substituting different stiffness footplates and ankle bumpers. 

    Results of this study demonstrated that prosthetic foot-ankle stiffness has outcomes for both gait and standing performance; systematic variation of the ankle-foot stiffness contributes to prosthetic tuning and user performance; and each subject employed their own gait strategies to ambulate with the different stiffness combinations.

    Learn more about this research project at Optimization of Prosthetic Foot and Ankle Stiffness for Standing and Walking.

  • Fatone and Caldwell Teach Fourth NU-FlexSIV Socket Course in Japan

    Ryan Caldwell, CP, and Stefania Fatone, PhDStefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), and Ryan Caldwell, CP, taught the NU-FlexSIV Socket Course for the fourth time in Japan on May 23-25, 2019.

    Hosted by the prosthetics and orthotics school at the Kobe College of Medical Welfare (KCMW) on the Sanda Campus, this 3-day, hands-on workshop was simultaneously interpreted by KCMW faculty, Shin Sasaki, Kenta Tonai and Kyoko Kamada. Prosthetists from Japan attended this successful training course with the intent of incorporating NU-FlexSIV Sockets in their clinical practice. 

  • Matthew Major to Present Grand Rounds at Rusk Institute

    Matthew Major, PhDMatthew Major, PhD, is invited to present Grand Rounds at the Rusk Institute for Rehabilitation Medicine in New York on June 6, 2019. Dr. Major will present Personalized Rehabilitation: Mapping the Links between Prosthetic Device Parameters, Motor Capacity, and Clinical Outcomes for Optimizing Interventions.

  • NUPOC Welcomes Rakshitha Kamath

    Rakshitha KamathRakshitha Kamath, BE, has joined NUPOC as a Master’s student in biomedical engineering. She holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Biotechnology from Ramaiah Institute of Technology (Bangalore, India), where she graduated First Class with Distinction. Her baccalaureate thesis examined the Biochemical Analysis of Indian Varieties of Honey and Bioinformatics Analysis of Antimicrobial Peptides of Honeybees

    As a project intern at ITC, Ltd., Life Sciences & Technology Center, Ms. Kamath examined the amount of degradation in the active ingredients of sunscreens in market samples vs. ITC manufactured samples; and evaluated potential prolonged stability by changing the concentration of these active ingredients.

    Preferring to work with humans and to make a positive difference in the lives of people who live with physical disabilities, Ms. Kamath is developing new skills related to the development and evaluation of prosthetic devices. Steven A. Gard, PhD, will mentor Ms. Kamath and her thesis research.

    NUPOC welcomes Ms. Kamath!

  • Fatone and Major Invited Speakers at RehabWeek 2019

    Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons)   Matthew Major, PhD

    Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons) and Matthew Major, PhD, are invited speakers at the ISPO Canada Rehab Week 2019 to be held in Toronto on June 24-28, 2019. Dr. Fatone will present Development and Dissemination of the Northwestern University Flexible Sub-Ischial Socket Technique to ISPO-Canada. Dr. Major will present Personalized Rehabilitation: Mapping the Links between Prosthetic Device Parameters, Motor Capacity, and Clinical Outcomes for Optimizing Interventions to ISPO-Canada; and Getting the Most Out of the Exhibit Hall: How to Ask for the Evidence to RESNA. 

    This 4th Rehab Week conference combines 6 rehabilitation societies that innovate and promote rehabilitation technologies. Participating societies are International Functional Electrical Stimulation Society (IFESS); International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR); International Industry Society in Advanced Rehabilitation Technology (IISART); American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM); Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA); and International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO Canada). The conference draws international engineers, researchers and clinicians who exchange new information and ideas about rehabilitation technology.  

  • Fatone Invited Speaker at OP Innovative Technologies Conference

    Conference speaker Fatone (left) and postdoctoral candidate Anna Pace (right)Kristin Carnahan, MSStefania Fatone, PhD, spoke at the 4th Orthotic and Prosthetic Innovative Technologies Conference held at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on May 16-18. Dr. Fatone presented The Northwestern University Flexible Sub-Ischial Socket Technique: Development, Research, and Dissemination. The conference was developed to "foster emerging technologies that can advance patient care and have a transformative impact on the field of P&O".

    Dr. Fatone and other prominent speakers discussed their P&O innovations. The program included numerous presenters who have had collaborative associations with NUPOC, including Andrew Hansen, PhD, Elliott Rouse, PhD, Andrew Sawers, PhD, MSPO, Robert Gregg, PhD, Peter Adamczyk, PhD, Steve Collins, PhD, and PhD candidate Max Shepherd. The conference offered 14.75 ABC credits/ 17.42 BOC credits.

    From NUPOC, instructor Kristin Carnahan, MS, and visiting doctoral candidate Anna Pace, MSc, also attended the conference. 

  • NUPOC and SQI Partner for Take Kids to Work Day 2019


    NUPOC presented a STEM program to children of SQI employees.

    NUPOC and the Simpson Querrey Institute (SQI) collaborated to develop an interactive, educational program for Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day on April 25. Nationwide, the day informs children about careers in their parents’ work place.

    NUPOC presented a STEM program to children of SQI employees.  NUPOC presented a STEM program to children of SQI employees.  NUPOC presented a STEM program to children of SQI employees. 

    NUPOC presented a STEM program to children of SQI employees.At NUPOC, 13 children and 3 adult chaperones from SQI learned information about rehabilitation engineering and prosthetics and orthotics (P&O).

    Three MPO graduate students, Gabriella Meffert, Lauren Price and Alex Schmitz (class of 2020), conducted tours of the NUPOC education and research labs. They introduced new information about human anatomy, how amputation or a neuromuscular injury affects human function. Children learned about P&O materials and manipulated a variety of lower limb prostheses.

    Interactive activities were conducted with the assistance of the MPO graduate students who helped the children don and doff demonstration Ankle-Foot Orthoses (AFOs), Wrist-Hand Orthoses (WHO), spine orthoses, and others. MPO students assisted the visitors in use of Harris-Beath mats to make plantar pressure imprints and interpret them. 

    NUPOC presented a STEM program to children of SQI employees.  NUPOC presented a STEM program to children of SQI employees.  

    NUPOC presented a STEM program to children of SQI employees.At SQI, the group toured SQI labs and cores, learned about research and science jobs, visited the MRI Center for Translational Imaging, viewed an alginate slide show of nanomaterials, and participated in enjoyable hands-on activities.

    NUPOC appreciates Gabriella Meffert, Lauren Price and Alex Schmitz for volunteering their expertise; and SQI for their collegial collaboration. R. J. Garrick, PhD, developed and moderated this interactive STEM program.

  • PT News Spotlights Research by Matthew Major, PhD

    Falls are 'critical health hazard' for persons with upper limb lossResearch by Matthew Major, PhD, about falls among individuals with upper limb loss is featured in PT News (April 12, 2019). Dr. Major’s data show that falls among individuals with upper limb loss (ULL) are prevalent. Attention to health characteristics, activity level, fall history, prosthesis use, and balance confidence may offer valuable metrics that 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. Read the entire article at PTJ: Falls Are ‘Critical Health Hazard’ for Individuals with Upper Limb Loss’

    Forthcoming for the Physical Therapy Journal Podcast is an interview with Dr. Major by Alan Jette, PhD, MPH, PT, FAPTA. The podcast examines Dr. Major’s recent publication, Fall Prevalence and Contributors to the Likelihood of Falling in Persons with Upper Limb Loss (Physical Therapy, 2019:99(4)377-387. Access to the podcast will be disseminated when it is available.

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