A Passion for Children with Orthopaedic Disabilities

Dr. Gerald Harris

Dr. Gerald Harris is director of research of the Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Engineering Center (OREC), a joint effort between the Medical College of Wisconsin and Marquette University. An accomplished and innovative researcher, his passion for more than 30 years has been the special needs of children with orthopaedic disabilities.

His focus over the past several years has been on offering new tools, better technologies and improved treatment strategies for children with cerebral palsy, clubfoot, spina bifida, spinal cord injury, brittle bone disease (osteogenesis imperfecta) and other conditions that cause mobility and manipulation problems.

Recent research projects have included:

  • Gait analysis of children with OI and severe clubfoot deformity to determine strain on the femur and humerus in those using crutches in order to modify activities or design better devices to absorb forces and prevent fractures, and to better direct surgeons so they are aware of high load areas.
  • Using MRI and fMRI imaging for children with cerebral palsy to assess if there are changes in brain activity as a result of surgery or robotic-assisted rehabilitation of the arms and legs.
  • Evaluation of home-based robot-guided therapy, combined with interactive game elements to keep children interested, and tele-assessment to determine effectiveness in maintaining mobility in children with cerebral palsy.
  • Mobility modeling of the arms and legs to determine the relationship between internal joint forces, assistive devices, ankle implants and longer-term tissue level effects, as they relate to pain and function.

Read other stories like this one from the Marquette University and Medical College of Wisconsin Biomedical Engineering Department.

Dr. Gerald Harris in his lab

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