Assistant Professor Dr. Fan Gao demonstrates data collection of ankle resistance for students

As a student in the UT Southwestern Master of Prosthetics-Orthotics Program, you’ll conduct research under the direction of a faculty mentor. You can help with ongoing research, select an area of investigation from topics offered by faculty, or develop a research question of your own. We encourage you to be creative and seek innovative solutions to clinical problems. Here’s a sampling of research projects by our faculty, students and residents. You can also download a list of recent publications and presentations.

Research Projects by Faculty Members

Funded Projects

  • Investigation of effects of motorized facilitated ankle stretching. (PI: Gao), 7/01/2009-6/30/2013 American Heart Association National Scientist Development Grant
  • Development of a mechanical body-powered upper extremity prosthetic simulator. (PIs: Gao and Kapp), 2/19/2010-2/18/2011 The University of Texas Academy of Health Science Education and the University of Texas System sponsored Health Science Education Small Grants
  • Anatomical models for transtibial prosthetic evaluation, measuring, and casting (PI: Gray) 9/2009-9/2010 Research Advisory Committee Faculty Grant

Other Projects

  • Precise 3D photogrammetry measurement of human body surface (PI: Gao)
  • Neuromuscular feature guided transtibial prosthetic socket alignment and design (PI: Gao)
  • Investigation of prosthetic socket interface pressure: effects of suspension types and socket alignment (PI: Gao; co-I: Kapp)
    • A case series using the timed up and go and the Houghton scale to detect changes over time
    • Functional ambulation: standard treatment vs. electrical stimulation therapy (FASTEST) trial in chronic post-stroke subjects with foot drop

Research Projects by Students and Residents


  • Osseointegration: a promising alternative for prosthetics suspension?
  • A closer look at the scientific causation and prevention of skin breakdown in the rehabilitation setting
  • Long term effects of amputations and prostheses on the musculoskeletal system
  • How successful is hand transplantation?
  • Upper limb prostheses: myoelectric vs. body powered designs
  • Best methods for training, rehabilitation, and prosthetic acceptance of the upper extremity amputee
  • Partial foot amputee treatment
  • Locomotor adaptation: the effect of AFO designs on gait post stroke
  • Rocker soles and their effect on gait
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome: conservative vs. surgical treatment outcomes
  • Neuroplasticity following CNS injury
  • Effective treatments of multiple sclerosis
  • Clubfoot treatment methods
  • A case series using the timed up and go and the Houghton scale to detect changes over time (Resident)
  • A review of the literature on evaluation of the foot and ankle (Resident)


  • Conservative and surgical hallux valgus treatment approaches: which have the best outcomes?
  • What is the incidence and long-term outcome of neurological damage during hip surgery?
  • Which treatment algorithms for Charcot arthropathy have the best outcomes?
  • Neural axis abnormalities in scoliosis patients
  • Which pathologies are managed most effectively with foot orthoses?
  • Is total ankle replacement an option for painful arthritic ankles?
  • Is there a standardized measure to assess outcomes for conservative management of positional plagiocephaly?
  • What methods have been proven successful in the rehabilitation of lower limb amputees with posttraumatic stress syndrome?
  • Multidisciplinary healthcare teams: positive outcomes?
  • How effective is articular cartilage replacement therapy?
  • Can advances in prosthetic technology reduce amputee energy expenditure?
  • A review of common gait training strategies used to improve the walking ability of stroke patients. Does the literature find one intervention to be more effective?
  • A review of the literature of treatments for vestibular and proprioceptive disorders
  • What is the most effective AFO design for bracing children with CP (Resident)
  • How significant is subtalar neutral in lower extremity orthotics? (Resident)


  • Chronic pain: conservative treatment options
  • Wound care: identifying the most effective wound management options
  • Methods and outcomes of good communication with the geriatric patient
  • Functional outcome measures: which tests have proven psychometric properties and how can the tests be integrated into clinical practice
  • Prognosis of the dysvascular amputee with respect to the contralateral limb and life expectancy
  • Overuse syndrome: the recognition and prevention of symptoms in upper limb amputees
  • Defining the functional envelope: a review of prosthetic and orthotic treatment modalities available towards increasing the functional envelope
  • Infection control methods: what works best in an acute care setting?
  • Functional electrical stimulation and patient efficacy: a literature review
  • Reconnecting neuropathways: the most effective methods in literature
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome: orthotic intervention vs. surgery
  • Management of structural leg length discrepancy
  • Treatment of posterior tibial tendon dysfunction: a literature review
  • Management of spinal disk herniation: a literature review
  • A survey of the literature of the effectiveness of Botox and Baclofen in the treatment of spasticity in children with cerebral palsy
  • A survey of common skin disorders and suggested etiology in lower limb prosthetics users: prevention and management (Resident)
  • Developmental history of cervical collars and their functions (Resident)


  • Fitting consideration for pediatric patients with upper limb amputations
  • Accuracy of instrumented gait analysis systems
  • Review of surgical techniques in trans-tibial amputations
  • Diabetes and socioeconomic status: does a correlation exist for outcomes?
  • Etiology and treatment of wounds related to prosthetic and orthotic management
  • The energy efficiency of various lower limb amputation levels and lengths
  • Physical therapy post stork rehabilitation modalities
  • Etiology, manifestations and treatment of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
  • Etiology, classification and treatment options for spondylolisthesis
  • An overview of the treatment options for managing spasticity
  • Osteoarthritis: etiology, diagnosis, and treatments
  • The significance of in-shoe AFO dimensions and relevance for show resizing recommendations (Resident)