National Leaders in Neuroprosthetics Research to Headline Symposium at WPI

'Neuroprosthetics 2009: Today's Progress, Tomorrow's Promise' will help advance the development of next-generation artificial limbs
September 08, 2009

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WORCESTER, Mass.–On September16, leaders in research and development of implantable limb neuroprosthetics will gather at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) to discuss the state of the field and to advance collaborations that will push next-generation artificial limbs and prosthetic devices closer to clinical application.

Organized by the Center for Neuroprosthetics in WPI's Bioengineering Institute (BEI), with grant support from the John Adams Innovation Institute, "Neuroprosthetics 2009: Today's Progress, Tomorrow's Promise" is the only national conference this year focused on the scientific and engineering problems that must be solved to enable a new generation of artificial limbs that more closely replicate the function of natural limbs.

"There is a great human need for better, more functional prosthetic devices, especially for our soldiers who have been severely injured in Iraq and Afghanistan," says W. Grant McGimpsey, professor of chemistry and biochemistry and director of the BEI, who organized the event. "We are very pleased to sponsor and host this symposium, so that many of the best minds in this field can come together, interact and discuss how to attack the very complicated problems that need to be solved if we are to realize the progress that so many people hope for and would benefit from."

More than 150 scientists, engineers, clinicians and other professionals from around the country who work in various facets of the prosthetics and neuroprosthetics fields are expected to attend.

Plenary speakers include:

  • Lt. Colonel Paul Pasquina, M.D., chief of the Integrated Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation and medical director of the Amputee Program, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C.
  • Buddy Ratner, PhD, director of University of Washington Engineered Biomaterials and professor of bioengineering and chemical engineering at the university
  • Todd Kuiken, MD, PhD, director of the Neural Engineering Center for Artificial Limbs, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Northwestern University
  • John E. Olerud, MD, George Odland Professor and head of the Division of Dermatology, University of Washington
  • Kent N. Bachus, PhD, research associate professor and director of the Harold K. Dunn Orthopaedic Research Laboratory, University of Utah
  • James Peter Beck, MD, adjunct professor, Department of Orthopaedics, Bone and Joint Research Lab, University of Utah
  • Christopher Allan, MD, associate professor, Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington School of Medicine
  • George Pins, PhD, associate professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

The day-long symposium will be held in WPI's Campus Center in Worcester, Mass. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. The event is free, and the morning and afternoon plenary sessions are open to the public. Afternoon break-out sessions are by invitation only.

For more information or to register to attend, please visit

About the WPI Center for Neuroprosthetics

This center in the Bioengineering Institute at Worcester Polytechnic Institute is engaged in research aimed at developing technology that will place prosthetic limbs and organs under the control of the nervous system, enabling users to control these devices in the same way they do their natural appendages and organs. For military personnel who have lost limbs, neuroprosthetics will offer more rapid recovery and rehabilitation. The center draws upon WPI faculty expertise in the life sciences and biomedical, electrical, and mechanical engineering, including such areas as electronic control systems, communications, imaging, sensors, bio-compatibility, and biomaterials.

About the WPI Bioengineering Institute

The WPI Bioengineering Institute (BEI) is a multidisciplinary R&D organization utilizing academic, industry, and government partnerships to develop innovative healthcare technologies. BEI focuses on several major technologies, including sensing, bioprocessing, imaging, nanotechnology, remote diagnostics and treatment, and water quality. Seven multidisciplinary centers enable scientists, engineers, and clinicians to address tough research challenges with flexibility and imagination.