State-of-the art technology highlights advanced prosthetics and orthotics research

Nestled in the basement of the Eckstein Medical Research Building is a high-tech lab, full of the latest in virtual reality simulators and gait analysis.

An open house held last recently saw the introduction of the Human Performance and Clinical Outcomes lab within the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science. The laboratory includes a state-of-the-art virtual reality simulator and a separate gait analysis laboratory area for evaluating walking biomechanics on both level ground and rocky terrain.

The lab, established by Jason M. Wilken, PT, PhD, associate professor, currently supports multiple ongoing grants—including two clinical trials funded by the Department of Defense. His primary areas of research are advanced prosthetics and orthotics, walking stability and falls, and clinical outcomes assessment.

The new lab compliments and expands on the research and clinical trials conducted throughout UI Health Care. Wilken—who spent 12 years working with injured service members at Brooke Army Medical Center as the director of the Military Performance Laboratory—is bringing advancements developed there to Iowans and veterans, while also providing student learning and research opportunities.

Jennifer Mount, undergraduate research assistant, demonstrates the lab’s capabilities.

Jason M. Wilkens, PT, PhD, associate professor, and director of collaborative research and development in the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science