Researcher given ‘leg up’ with new grant

A UNSW prosthetics researcher has been awarded a grant to improve the lives of prosthetic limb users.

Dr Lauren Kark, UNSW Prosthetics ResearcherOne of our youngest lecturers at the Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering has received a $25,000 grant for her work in prostheses.

The two-year-grant was awarded to Dr Lauren Kark by The Promobilia Foundation in Sweden. Her research titled “Novel textiles for the management of residual limb volume fluctuations in individuals with lower limb amputation” investigates ways of improving the interface between where an amputee’s residual limb connects to the prosthesis.

“Since I was in high school I have wanted to improve the day-to-day lives of prosthetic users,” said Dr Kark. “My first degree was in mechanical engineering and I started working with lower-limb prosthetics as a doctoral student at UNSW.”

Dr Kark now supervises a number of PhD students who focus on prosthetic limb research, including Stacey Rigney who is working with the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra to help Paralympian equal world record holder, Scott Reardon, run even faster.

Over the next couple of years Dr Kark’s research will investigate prosthesis comfort and fit, and in doing so, reduce common side effects, such as skin breakdown and residual limb pain. In short, Dr Kark’s work will improve prosthetic limb users’ lives immeasurably.

To conduct the research, Dr Kark required specialised measurement equipment. With the generous funds from The Promobilia Foundation, UNSW’s Biomedical Engineering will procure a Tekscan F-Socket System which enable improved design, fit and function of prosthetics.

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