Film Merges Student’s Dancing Talent, Knee Research

Photo courtesy of Lizz Knowlton

By Christopher Knowlton

I am a PhD student in bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I work as a research assistant under Dr. Markus Wimmer in the Tribology Laboratory of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Rush University Medical Center, where I am doing my thesis research on the wear of total knee replacements. Like many graduate students, I have a second job, but I bet your list of best guesses didn’t include professional dancer.

On any given week, I spend around 10 to 20 hours per week in rehearsals and shows for various independent choreographers in Chicago. Until recently, my work as a graduate student and my career as a dancer were largely separate. But on Tuesday, I was named a finalist for the international Dance Your Ph.D. contest on Science magazine’s website.

A little over a year ago, Rachel Thorne Germond of RTG Dance, the first choreographer I worked with in Chicago, posted a link to the contest on Facebook. Not long after, there was an explosion of posts among my dancer friends sharing a TED talk given by John Bohannon & Black Label Movement called Dance vs. powerpoint, a modest proposal. John Bohannon is a correspondent for Science magazine who created the Dance Your Ph.D. contest to encourage scientists to better engage a broad audience with complex ideas. Since I was hearing about this contest from other dancers instead of PhD students, it became obvious that nonscientists really connected to this type of presentation. It was such a great fit for me that I knew I had to participate.

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Joint Replacement Surgery Changed Her Life

Arthritis pain made every step Mary Rose took excruciating, but specialists told her she had to wait until she was 50 to have joint replacement surgery. She made an appointment with Craig Della Valle, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago who specializes in treating arthritic hips and knees.

After having hip replacement surgery and knee replacement surgery at Rush, she was able to walk down the aisle at her wedding without pain.