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.

  • Kristin Carnahan, CPO, FAAOP, Joins NUPOC Faculty

    Kristin Carnahan, CPO, FAAOPKristin Carnahan, CPO, FAAOP, has joined NUPOC as an Instructor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Ms. Carnahan will use her clinical and instructional skills to teach MPO students and guide their clinical practicum as they learn to evaluate, fit and fabricate P&O devices. 

    Ms. Carnahan has nearly a decade of experience as a P&O clinician in private practice. She completed a Master of Prosthetics and Orthotics (2008) at Georgia Institute of Technology. She completed an orthotics residency at University of Michigan Orthotic and Prosthetic Center (2009) and a prosthetics residency (2010) at ProCare Prosthetics and Orthotics (Buford, GA). Ms. Carnahan continued as a staff CPO at ProCare until 2017, serving in positions that include Technical Team Manager and startup leader for one of the firm’s satellite offices. She has teaching experience in Georgia programs for PT, PTA, and MSPO.

    Prior to training in P&O, Ms. Carnahan majored in Chemical Engineering at Auburn University, AL, where she was member and president of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, a University Honors College Graduate, and a Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll student when she played varsity tennis. From 2000 to 2006, Ms. Carnahan worked at Southern Nuclear Operating Company Plant Vogtle (Augusta, GA), holding positions that include System Engineer, Chemistry Program Engineer, and Chemistry Foreman.

    From 2007, Ms. Carnahan volunteered her skills to the Adventure Amputee Camp as Counselor and from 2012-2016 served on the Board of Directors as Treasurer. Adventure Amputee Camp encourages children with amputations or limb differences to explore and experience outdoor and sporting activities. A native of Louisiana, Ms. Carnahan enjoys tennis, reading, and cycling. Director of NUPOC, John W. Michael, MEd, CPO/L, said, “We believe that Kristin Carnahan will contribute significantly to the clinical training and education program at Northwestern University.”

  • Stefania Fatone, PhD, Promoted to Professor of PM&R

    Professor Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons)Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), has been promoted to Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University effective September 1, 2017. Dr. Fatone is Principal Investigator for multiple research and development projects at the Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center where she also contributes to the Master of Prosthetics and Orthotics Program.

    Dr. Fatone’s contributions have been seminal within prosthetics and orthotics (P&O), effectively changing the discipline with the development of the Northwestern University Flexible Sub-Ischial Vacuum Socket for transfemoral amputation; leading research in the orthotic management of neuromuscular conditions, particularly stroke and cerebral palsy; and evaluating the outcomes of partial foot amputation to facilitate shared decision-making. Internationally collaborative, she works productively with physicians, prosthetist-orthotists, biomedical engineers, and other specialists.

    Dr. Fatone is one of a small cadre of qualified prosthetists and orthotists with a doctorate. She has clinical and teaching experience in prosthetics and orthotics, as well as experience in clinical gait analysis. She has published more than 65 peer-reviewed articles, editorials, and book chapters and mentored more than 60 graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, residents and junior faculty. Dr. Fatone said, “My research examines the effects of prostheses and orthoses on human movement in order to increase understanding, establish efficacy, and improve effectiveness of prosthetic and orthotic interventions for people with disability.”

    Dr. Fatone was educated at La Trobe University (Melbourne, Australia) where she graduated with a Bachelor of Prosthetics and Orthotics with Honors (1995) and completed her PhD (2000). In 2000, Dr. Fatone was a post-doctoral fellow at the Northwestern University Prosthetics Research Laboratory and Rehabilitation Engineering Research Program, where she was instrumental in generating funding for a 3-year grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs to investigate Ankle-Foot Alignment and Support in Ankle Foot Orthoses for Persons Post-Stroke. In 2003, Dr. Fatone transitioned to Research Assistant Professor and was co-PI of a 5-year NIDRR-funded Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Prosthetics and Orthotics from 2008-2013. In 2011 she was promoted to Research Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation where she has continued to conduct numerous, collaborative research projects that contribute new knowledge to the discipline of prosthetics and orthotics.

    The American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists recognized her contributions with Honorary Membership (2007) and Research Award (2010). Dr. Fatone is recognized internationally as a leading researcher in the field of prosthetics and orthotics and frequently is invited to present keynote talks about her work. Dr. Fatone is a long-standing member of the Clinical Content Committee for the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists. She is a Board Member and Chair of the Research Committee for the Orthotics and Prosthetics Education and Research Foundation; serves on the Editorial Board for Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, as well as Prosthetics and Orthotics International. She is a standing member of the Department of Veterans Affairs Scientific Merit Review Board, Rehabilitation Engineering and Prosthetics/Orthotics Subcommittee, contributes as a faculty mentor for the Training in Grantsmanship for Rehabilitation Research workshops, and recently joined the Scientific Committee for the 2019 International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics World Congress to be held in Kobe, Japan.

  • Kierra Falbo Wins 2017 Becker Award

    Kierra Falbo (MPO 2018), recipient of 2017 Becker Award.Kierra Falbo, a graduate student at NUPOC in the MPO class of 2018, received the 2017 Otto and Lucille Becker Award for the best orthotics abstract submitted as a poster for presentation at the AOPA National Assembly. She is the first NUPOC student to win this award. Established in 2012, the Otto and Lucille Becker Award encourages students and residents to present posters of exceptional content. Ms. Falbo accepted the Becker Award in person at the 2017 AOPA national meeting in Las Vegas, NV.

    Ms. Falbo presented the poster, Characteristics of Delphi Processes in Orthotics and Prosthetics Research, at the AOPA meeting. The content is based on her NUPOC capstone research project under the mentorship of John Brinkmann, MA, CPO, FAAOP(D). Ms. Falbo said, “In addition to clinical work, I am very interested in research. I’ve been working as a research assistant on a research project with Mr. Brinkmann. I like to do things really well and in depth. As soon as I identified my capstone topic, I began to work systematically to develop it, so I was ready to submit this poster.

  • Andrew Conklin Exhibit Opens at NUPOC

    The Andrew Conklin Exhibit is at the NUPOC Gallery in September and October 2017

    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 oil paintings by Andrew Conklin. Mr. Conklin holds a BFA from the American Academy of Art (Chicago) and an MFA from the Academy of Art University (San Francisco), with postgraduate instruction at the National Academy of Design (New York) and from portraitist Aaron Shikler, painter of the official John F. Kennedy White House portrait.

    As a contemporary artist, Mr. Conklin continues the traditions of representational depiction and narrative content in painting. “My favorite subject is the human figure. The human body continues to play a vital role in my work, presenting technical demands and opportunities to explore its spiritual, moral and political condition in contemporary culture.” Mr. Conklin’s paintings challenge the viewer to consider complex life experiences and to examine the human condition as both progressive and unchanging. Mr. Conklin’s recent series of Motion Capture Studio paintings are particularly relevant to NUPOC research that uses motion capture to analyze human gait and motion.

    Artists and Certified Prosthetist-Orthotists (CPO) cultivate similar skills. A maxim holds that a good prosthetist-orthotist needs the triad of “head, heart, and hands”. Superior cognitive ability, compassion, and hand skills enable CPOs to serve their patients well. As scientists and clinicians, CPOs are rigorously trained in human anatomy, biomechanics, behavioral sciences, professional issues, practice management, and independent research. They also employ creative artistry that bridges science and technology to fit and fabricate functional, comfortable, wearable prostheses and orthoses.

    NUPOC appreciates Andrew Conklin and the Palette and Chisel Academy of Fine Arts (Chicago) for making this exhibit possible. 

  • Fatone and Caldwell Present at the AOPA World Congress

    Ryan Caldwell, CP, FAAOP, at AOPA 2017.   Stefania Fatone, PhD, at AOPA 2017 (Las Vegas, NV).

    Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), and Ryan Caldwell, CP, FAAOP, attended the AOPA Centennial Celebration and Second World Congress from September 6 to 9, 2017 in Las Vegas, NV.  On September 5, Dr. Fatone and Mr. Caldwell presented a pre-congress education workshop, Flexible Sub-Ischial Vacuum Socket Course. This was the first time AOPA included a pre-conference education program. The course attracted approximately 60 participants who attended lectures, watched a live casting demonstration and engaged in an interactive discussion. Dr. Fatone and Mr. Caldwell appreciate Össur for their assistance in identifying a patient model to participate in the course.

    Dr. Fatone was also invited to participate in two symposiums, co-presenting Orthotic Management of Post-Stroke Gait Dysfunction with Dr. Jill Seale, PhD, DPT, and The Experience of Sequential Partial Foot Amputation and Transtibial Amputation: Implications for Shared Decision Making about Amputation Surgery with Michael Dillon, PhD, BPO(Hons). 

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

    Ryan Caldwel, NU-FlexSIV Training, Kobe College of Medical Welfare (Sanda, Japan)Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), and Ryan Caldwell, CP, FAAOP, were invited by Shin Sasaki, head of the 4-year P&O program at Kobe College of Medical Welfare (Sanda Campus, Japan), to teach the NU-FlexSIV Socket Course. Twelve Japanese prosthetists participated in hands-on instruction, fitting and fabricating NU-FlexSIV Sockets for eight patient models. Auditors included third and fourth year students and instructors from the P&O program, who provided technical support.

    Ryan Caldwell, CP, FAAOP, JCMW (Sanda Campus, Japan)This NU-FlexSIV Socket Course marks the first training session presented in a language other than English. The course developers appreciate Mr. Sasaki for translating the written NU-FlexSIV course material into Japanese and for interpreting English instruction to Japanese during the course.

    Established in 2008, the Kobe College of Medical Welfare P&O program is one of ten P&O training programs in Japan. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology accredits the program; and its graduates can practice worldwide as ISPO Category 1 Prosthetist-Orthotists.

  • NUPOC Welcomes Summer Research Volunteers

    NUPOC is delighted to welcome the following Research Volunteers. 

    Grace Jing, NUPOC Research Volunteer, 2017Grace Jing returns to NUPOC for a second summer. Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), mentors Ms. Jing in data analysis and drafting an article about the Effect of Spine Surgery on Energy Expenditure of Walking. Ms. Jing is a rising senior and will graduate with a BS in Biomedical Engineering (BME) and a Segal Design Certificate (2018). Initially in pre-med with a biology major and French minor, she found engineering to be a better fit and transferred to BME for its intersection with health care. She has experience with C++ and MATLAB. She was a research assistant at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine (NYC), where she conducted timed trials, tested ReWalk and Ekso exoskeletal suits.

    Active in service and social justice organizations, she has held leadership positions in GlobeMed, Alpha Phi Omega, and the Asian Pacific American Coalition. Ms. Jing speaks Mandarin and French and works as a Reference Assistant at NU Deering Library. Beyond graduation, Ms. Jing is considering further developing her skill set as an engineer in a medical device industry setting or perhaps taking a graduate program in Mechanical Engineering or Business Administration.

    Nick Nelson, NUPOC Research Volunteer, 2017Nick Nelson will be a junior at Northwestern University, majoring in Biomedical Engineering and taking pre-med course work (2019). Matthew Major, PhD, mentors Mr. Nelson in his work writing MATLAB code for data collected from EMG and inertial measurement units. Prior to selecting BME, Mr. Nelson excelled in math, science, and anatomy. He enjoyed learning about physiology, kinesiology and strength training, so majoring in BME with an eye toward medicine offered an attractive combination with multiple future options. Optimistic, energetic and engaging, he enjoys working with people, so he is considering a path toward pediatrics or a graduate program in mechanical engineering.

    Mr. Nelson is a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. He holds leadership positions and volunteers his service for organizations that include St. Baldrick’s Foundation, Symphony of Evanston, and Boy Scouts of America. He achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, attended Philmont Camp as a leader, and now is a Cub Scout Cubmaster (Evanston, IL). Originally from Minnesota, he also plays club hockey. 

    John Heredia, NUPOC Research Volunteer, 2017John Heredia, is a Wheaton Academy graduate and a rising freshman at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he plans to major in bioengineering. Steven A. Gard, PhD, mentors Mr. Heredia and directs his structured reading for rehabilitation engineering in Prosthetics and Orthotics.  

    As a high school senior, Mr. Heredia took Advanced Placement tests in Physics (Mechanics, Electricity and Magnetism), English (Literature and Language), and Statistics. He is eager to build on his experiences in research literature review, directed research, and programming skills in Python and Arduino. For his senior project, Mr. Heredia developed an individual project, instead of a team-based project, that integrated myoelectric input with mechanical output for a flexion-extension orthotic device. Already primed for success with a perfect score in the SAT highest level of Math and senior year awards as Illinois State Scholar and National Merit Scholarship Finalist, he also earned the UIUC President Award scholarship.

    In addition to his academic work, he has shadowed personnel in in- and outpatient neuroscience settings, served on tech crew at his church, and volunteered as a tutor for newly immigrated elementary school children. Mr. Heredia prefers a broad approach within the field of bioengineering and is particularly interested in the technology related to MRI and CAT scanning and imaging. 

  • NUPOC Presents Symposium on Externally Powered UL Prostheses

    Presenting functional outcomes in externally powered UL prostheses   Presenting functional outcomes in externally powered UL prostheses

    John Michael, CPO, led the 2-day MyoBock SymposiumExternally Powered Upper Limb (UL) Prostheses is a 2-day, intensive, hands-on symposium that instructs NUPOC MPO students to fit and program external power systems for persons with transradial (TRA) and transhumeral (THA)  amputations, a skill some practitioners may not experience until their residency. John W. Michael, CPO, led the symposium with support from NUPOC Certified Prosthetists J. Chad Duncan, PhD, CPO, and John Brinkmann, CPO, MA; and OttoBock Certified Prosthetists Andrea Hess, CP, and Tim Shride, CPO.

    On day one, MPO students attended instructional sessions about OttoBock (OB) UL external power concepts, tested peers with MyoBoy (software that trains patients and muscles to control terminal devices), and prepared trial prostheses. On day two, MPO students re-fit trial prostheses, myo-tested Educational Models, converted test sockets to trial prostheses, verified function of extended proprioceptive components, demonstrated the clinical results, and learned about BeBionic and Michelangelo prosthetic hands. Knowledge testing during and after the modules helped reinforce conceptual learning.

    EMG site-mapping for externally powered UL prostheses   EMG site-mapping for externally powered UL prostheses

    MPO students optimized socket fit and developed control strategies for TRA and THA sockets. Working with Educational Models who have upper limb amputations, students conducted EMG site mapping, programmed Dynamic Arm inputs, and adjusted wiring and switch matrices.

    NUPOC appreciates OttoBock representatives Andrea Hess, CP, Tim Shride, CPO, and Nick Di Tomasso.

  • NUPOC Fellow Awarded 2017 AOPA-COPL Pilot Grant

    Sarah Chang, PhD, a NUPOC postdoctoral fellow, received funding for A Pilot Study to Evaluate the Effects of the Hydraulic Ankle-Foot Prostheses on Standing and Walking in K2-Level Ambulators. AOPA and the Center for O&P Learning & Evidence-Based Practice (COPL) funded 7 among 38 submitted proposals. Past NUPOC awardees include Co-Investigator Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), with PI Michael Dillon, PhD, Evaluating Outcomes of Dysvascular Partial Foot and Transtibial Amputation: a Systematic Review and Development of Shared Decision Making Resources. See a comprehensive list of AOPA COPL-funded research projects.

  • Stefania Fatone to Present at Texas Chapter of the AAOP

    Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons)Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), is an invited presenter at the Texas Chapter Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists on August 4 and 5, 2017 in Dallas, TX. As part of the Scientific Session, Dr. Fatone will present The NU-FlexSIV Socket for Persons with Transfemoral Amputation: Description of Technique and Preliminary Evaluation. Presenters in the Scientific Session are selected on the strength of their content and its importance to clinical practice and scientific research. Dr. Fatone presents information that developed from the Department of Defense-funded research project, Development of Subischial Prosthetic Sockets with Vacuum-Assisted Suspension for Highly Active Persons with Transfemoral Amputations.

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.