MU receives $4.75 million research grant

The College of Engineering will receive $4.75 million over the next five years to fund research on orthopedic disabilities through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Marquette was also named a national Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center by the department.

Marquette’s RERC project is led by Gerald Harris, a professor of biomedical engineering, who has studied orthopedic disabilities in children for more than 30 years. Harris hopes to use the grant money for further research on diseases like cerebral palsy, clubfoot and spina bifida, and to develop tools to improve the lives of patients, according to the university‚Äôs news release.

Those tools would include an elliptical machine to improve neuromuscular control and stability in children, a robotic gait trainer for children, a 3-D imaging system allowing researchers to see the internal motion of foot bones, and a sensor-based brace customized to treat pediatric flatfoot.

Research projects include gait analysis of children with various disabilities, use of MRI imaging to determine the effects of surgery and robot-guided therapy on brain activity, evaluation of the effectiveness of home-based robot-guided therapy on children with cerebral palsy, and modeling of the arms and legs to determine the effects of assistive devices and implants, the release said.

The RERC project will also involve the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the Milwaukee School of Engineering, as well as the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Shriners Hospital for Children in Chicago and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.