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LETU Alumna Dolores Henson Presents Biomechanical Research


LeTourneau University alumna Dolores Henson, who graduated in May 2017 with a degree in biomedical engineering, recently presented research she did in her senior design project at LETU at the 41st Annual Meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics in Boulder Colorado Aug. 8-11.

Henson's research, under the direction of LETU engineering professor Dr. Ko Sasaki, focused on the biomechanics of transfemoral amputee gait, investigating whether non-amputees wearing a "transfemoral amputee gait simulator" fabricated by the team have similar gait patterns to those in actual transfemoral amputee patients.

Sasaki says this research is important when designing new assistive devices (e.g., prostheses) in the future for two reasons:
1) Recruiting actual transfemoral amputees for data collection is not easy but non-amputees are easy to recruit; and
2) the degree of potential gait improvement using newly designed devices would be more clearly quantified, because the baseline for non-amputee gait without using the gait simulator (i.e., normal gait) can be obtained for a comparison purpose.

Research results showed that non-amputee gait patterns using the gait simulator were comparable to those observed in actual transfemoral amputees.

Of the research and presentation experience, Henson said, "This conference was a tremendous opportunity to share what we do as a Biomedical Engineering program at LeTourneau. The program of presentations was stimulating by covering so many topics of biomechanics from effects of running shoes to prosthetics and exoskeletons.

"I had my eyes opened to areas of biomechanics that I had not considered before and can now pursue on my own," she said. "I was given the chance to speak with many other students from schools around the country, as well as academic and industry professionals. This experience has opened doors of communication with other institutions and companies that I would not have, had my senior design team not pursued this opportunity."

Henson said the coursework she did in her junior and senior biomedical classes directly translated into the research presented. "From working with the equipment in the lab and completing class work, I was able to understand and apply my knowledge in every event of the conference. I was well prepared for this conference through our senior design team work."

LeTourneau University is the premier Christian polytechnic university in the nation where educators engage students to nurture Christian virtue, develop competency and ingenuity in their professional fields, integrate faith and work, and serve the local and global community. LETU offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs across a range of disciplines and delivery models at LETU's residential campus in Longview, Texas, and in hybrid and fully online options at centers in the Dallas and Houston areas. For additional information, visit www.letu.edu.

Categories: Alumni, Engineering