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.

  • 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.

  • Matthew Major Is Researcher of the Month

    Matthew Major, PhDMatthew Major, PhD, is Researcher of the Month at the Jesse Brown VAMC (Research Services Newsletter, July 2017). The article features his research, Sensory-Motor Mechanisms Underlying Fall Risk in Transtibial Amputees. Dr. Major explains, “The musculoskeletal and somatosensory mechanisms that are vital to controlling upright balance are impaired in Veterans with below-knee, or transtibial, limb loss”, thus contributing to elevated fall incidence. Currently, Dr. Major is conducting experiments to: 1) characterize anticipatory and response mechanisms when below-knee prosthesis users experience a perturbation during walking; and 2) identify biomechanical and clinical factors related to functional balance that may predict future falls.

    With improved understanding of the effects of lower limb loss and reduced sensory-motor function on upright balance among below-knee prosthesis users, Dr. Major aims to "design effective assessment tools and intervention strategies that can be integrated into the VA System of Care”, thereby minimizing fall risk among Veterans with below-knee amputation.

  • Roger Rose Wins 2017 Yasukawa Scholarship

    Roger Rose (NUPOC MPO 2018) wins 2017 Yasukawa ScholarshipRoger Rose (MPO 2018) is the 2017 Yasukawa Scholarship recipient. Mr. Rose will use the $1,000 award to defray the cost of attending national and regional P&O scientific meetings. He said, “I attended the 2017 AAOP meeting (Chicago) and really enjoyed learning about new technology, improvements in clinical care and patient resources. That meeting showed me that new knowledge in P&O can directly translate into the quality of care that I can provide to my patients”. Mr. Rose said, “I am committed to becoming an educated clinician capable of providing excellent care for patients”.

    Mr. Rose shows discipline in planning, setting and fulfilling academic, professional and personal goals. At NUPOC, his capstone project focuses on the effects of spirituality and religiosity on rehabilitation outcomes for individuals who have experienced a limb amputation. As an undergraduate, Mr. Rose studied biomedical engineering and was team leader for a yearlong capstone project that developed and built a custom-made, upper-limb electronic feedback system for an individual. He received the competitive New American University Scholar-President’s Award Scholarship (2009-2015) that promotes solutions to social problems, was frequently on the Dean’s List, and graduated with honors, earning a BSE summa cum laude (Arizona State University, Tempe, 2016).

    Service is a defining factor that Mr. Rose integrates into all facets of his life. For two years, he served as a missionary among the indigenous Kuna residing on the San Blas Islands (Panama), where he led and trained a team of 20 missionaries and developed Spanish-language fluency. He served as leader of a weekly men’s group at his church in Arizona. In addition to a rigorous schedule at NUPOC, he assisted an underinsured family man to obtain a lower limb prosthesis. Currently, he and his wife enjoy volunteering together as genealogy research consults; and they also volunteer at a local retirement community. Mr. Rose expresses a sincere desire to help individuals, “The Yasukawa Scholarship will help me to help others”.

  • Matthew Major Presents at 2017 Annual Student-Faculty Retreat

    Matthew Major, PhD, spoke at the 2017 annual retreat for Medical Scientist Training ProgramMatthew Major, PhD, was a faculty participant at the annual Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) held June 30-July 2 in Chicago, IL and Delavan, WI. Dr. Major spoke to MD/PhD students about research opportunities in biomedical engineering, prosthetics and orthotics at NUPOC and PM&R. The retreat balanced content that included keynote speakers, student research posters, presentations, reports and updates with social programing.

    In 1964, the National Institutes of Health awarded funds to Northwestern University to establish the MSTP program. To date, more than 250 students have graduated from Northwestern University as MD/PhD dual degree professionals who combine research, teaching, clinical and administrative roles.

  • Bruce Boyer Exhibit Opens at NUPOC

    Bruce Boyer Exhibit Opens at NUPOC

    At NUPOC, science, technology and art intersect. In recognition of the artistry that is intrinsic to the allied health discipline of Prosthetics and Orthotics, NUPOC features an exhibition of oil paintings by Bruce Boyer, PhD.

    Bruce Boyer paints abstract works and explores juxtapositions of shape and color. This exhibition highlights five of his recent oils on canvas. Engaged in both graphic and literary expression, Dr. Boyer has written for publications that include Chicago Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor and the Chicago Tribune. He is author of a novel, The Solstice Cipher and The Natural History of the Field Museum; and co-author of Miniature Rooms, The Thorne Rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago.

    Artists and Certified Prosthetists-Orthotists (CPOs) cultivate similar skills. Using three-dimensional artistry that bridges science and technology, CPOs fit and fabricate functional prostheses and orthoses for their patients. 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 trained rigorously in human anatomy, biomechanics, behavioral sciences, professional issues, practice management, and independent research. NUPOC appreciates Dr. Boyer for making this exhibit available.

  • NUPOC Welcomes Zaki Naqvi

    Zaki Naqvi, NUPOC research volunteer (summer 2017).Zaki Naqvi joined NUPOC as a summer research volunteer working under the supervision of Matthew Major, PhD, on Fall Risk and Prosthetic Influence on Gait Biomechanics in Upper Limb Amputees. Mr. Naqvi will analyze changes in center of mass data obtained from subjects with an upper limb prosthesis during standing balance. Matthew Major, PhD, and Steven A. Gard, PhD, are Principal Investigators of this research project.

    Mr. Naqvi is a rising sophomore at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) where he studies Kinesiology and Economics. He intends to pursue medicine and specialize in musculoskeletal issues. On campus, Mr. Naqvi participates actively in the Indian Student Association and is co-founder of Students Teaching Sales, a club that supports student-initiated entrepreneurism and start-ups.

    As a high school athlete, Mr. Naqvi was captain of his track team, where he experienced repeated injuries. However, his experience as a recipient of physical therapy piqued his interest and set his career goals toward human physiology, anatomy, and musculoskeletal functions. Musical and kinetic, he auditioned and achieved the leadership position Drum Major. In addition, the Deerfield High School District Board of Education awarded him the 2016 John F. Kennedy Medal of Honor for courage in the pursuit of excellence. NUPOC is delighted to welcome Mr. Naqvi.

  • NUPOSS Volunteers at Go-Baby-Go! Workshop

    NUPOSS MPO 2018 volunteers at Go Baby Go! 

    Twenty-five NUPOSS members of the MPO class of 2018 participated in the Go-Baby-Go! workshop held on June 10, 2017 at the Shriners Hospital for Children (Chicago). The event retrofitted and provided battery-operated cars for 12 toddlers. Parents applied to the program to receive a free car for their children with mobility impairments. The program places a special focus on spina bifida, a congenital condition that may cause paralysis in the lower limbs. 

    Working in teams, NUPOC volunteers modified the cars by transferring the accelerator control from the foot to the hand to fit the physical ability of each child. This program serves children aged 2 to 5 years old with limited mobility, cognitive age of 12 months or greater and no severe visual disorder. Parents agreed to supervise their children whenever they used the adapted cars. 

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.