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posted: 1/15/2013 2:16 PM

Hear about bionic possibilities at Fermilab talk

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  • Dr. Todd Kuiken

    Dr. Todd Kuiken
    Mark Black/2006

Submitted by Fermilab Lecture Series

The Fermilab Lecture Series presents "Building Bionics" by Dr. Todd Kuiken of Northwestern University at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18 in the Ramsey Auditorium at Fermilab, off Pine Street in Batavia. Tickets are $7.

Amazing developments are being made each day in the possibilities for those with limb loss. Kuiken is renowned for his research in developing a surgical technique called Targeted Muscle Reinnervation.

With TMR, it is possible to take the residual nerves in an amputated limb and transfer them to spare muscle and skin in or near the limb. The nerves grow into this muscle, and then the surface EMG over this muscle can be used as an additional control signal. To date, this surgery has been successful in 50 patients, including 14 servicemen and women.

Kuiken is currently the director of the Center for Bionic Medicine at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. The Center for Bionic Medicine has four labs and over 40 people developing ways to improve the function for people with limb loss.

Kuiken's research is interdisciplinary and collaborative. His team includes engineers, prosthetists, neuroscientists, therapists and physicians at all level of training.

Kuiken is an internationally respected leader in the care of people with limb loss: both as an active treating physician and a research scientist.

The Fermilab Lecture Series takes place in Ramsey Auditorium, located in Wilson Hall, the high-rise building on the campus of Fermilab. The main entrance is via Pine Street at Kirk Road in Batavia.

Tickets are on sale now for all events. Reserve tickets now by phone (630) 840-ARTS. Tickets are nonrefundable. On the evening of the lecture, the box office opens at 7 p.m. and willcall tickets can be picked up, or available tickets can be purchased at that time. For information on the Fermilab Arts & Lecture Series offerings, visit Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) is operated by Fermi Research Alliance, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy.

• The next lecture in the Fermilab Lecture Series will be "Engineering Biology: Giving New Life to Materials for Energy, Electronics, the Environment and Medicine" by Angela Belcher of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22.

Organisms have been making exquisite inorganic materials for over 500 million years. Although these materials have many desired physical properties such as strength, regularity, and environmental benign processing, the types of materials that organisms have evolved to work with are limited.

However, there are many properties of living systems that could be potentially harnessed by researchers to make advanced technologies that are smarter, more adaptable, and that are synthesized to be compatible with the environment. These materials could be designed to address many scientific and technological problems in electronics, military, medicine, and energy applications.

Examples include a virus enabled lithium ion rechargeable battery built at MIT that has many improved properties over conventional batteries, as well as materials for solar and catalysis. This talk will address conditions under which organisms first evolved to make materials and scientific approaches to move beyond naturally evolved materials to genetically imprint advanced technologies for energy.

• The Fermilab Lecture Series will conclude Friday, April 12, with "The World According to Higgs" by Chris Quigg of Fermilab. International scientific teams have observed a new particle that closely resembles the long-sought Higgs boson. Why did thousands of physicists devote decades to the hunt, and how does the discovery advance our understanding of nature?

Fermilab theorist Chris Quigg introduced the Auditorium Lecture audience to the quest for the Higgs boson in 1987, and is delighted to be able report on the dramatic conclusion. Quigg joined the Fermilab staff in 1974 and led the Theoretical Physics Department for a decade during its formative years. He shared the American Physical Society's J. J. Sakurai Prize for outstanding achievements in particle theory and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society.

When not contemplating nature's secrets, he can be found hiking Europe's long-distance trails.