Marquette receives $5 million grant to help children with orthopedic disabilities

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Marquette University’s College of Engineering recently received a $4.75 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education for being named a national Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center.
The grant, which will be awarded over the next five years, will be used to implement four research and four development projects aimed at addressing the needs of children with orthopedic disabilities.
“Everything we are undertaking is designed to have a direct impact on children, to improve their care, rehabilitation and quality of life,” said Gerald Harris, professor of biomedical engineering and principal investigator on the project.
Components of the research will also involve other departments at Marquette, the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Shriners Hospital for Children in Chicago, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the Milwaukee School of Engineering, Harris said.
The intent of the grant is to transfer and commercialize the research to “offer new tools, better technologies and improved treatment strategies” for  children with cerebral palsy, clubfoot, spina bifida, spinal cord injury, brittle bone disease and other conditions that cause mobility and manipulation problems.
Harris has been working with these populations of children for more than 30 years.
“Some of the processes we use have never been definitively studied or applied to patients,” Harris said. “We want to design better devices and improved protocols that will help alert doctors, therapists, caregivers and family members of joint overload concerns.  The intent is to have an impact in modifying activities and treatments in order to improve functional activities and quality of life.”

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