2017 – An Unforgettable Year for Science

February 12, 2018

2017 was a memorable year for the science community.  Most notably, a global March for Science was organized in response to the United States’ proposed budget cuts to NIH-funded scientific research.  The implications of these cuts would be profound, as funding from the NIH benefits not only American scientists, but humanity as a whole.

Even as the fight for science continues, research and innovation are forging ahead, and the future remains promising.

The De Luca Foundation (DLF) is proud to reflect on many impactful scientific events in 2017. 

March for Science

March For Science

Image Credit: WikiPedia Commons

On Earth Day, April 22, 2017, thousands of scientists and science supporters took to the streets around the world as part of the national March for Science movement.

Boston, home of the DLF as well as dozens of universities and cutting-edge biotechnology companies, hosted the second-largest rally in the world.

The Boston rally was led by world-renowned biomechanist Prof. Dava Newman, MIT Apollo Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and former NASA Deputy Administrator.  “We will march, we will vote, and we will change behavior,” Dr. Newman proclaimed to the massive crowd, calling for people to stand up and take action to defend scientific research.

March for Science


Thank You to Dr. DeVita

Dr. Paul DeVitaThe DLF thanks Dr. Paul DeVita, founder of National Biomechanics Day for his significant and unique contributions to the field of biomechanics. 

NBD is a unifying event that provides fellow biomechanists a platform to showcase the amazing work they do to new generations of young minds.

Ever-passionate about building interest in human movement, Dr. DeVita himself has said that he envisions “a time when high school students can choose among math, history, biomechanics, chemistry, physics, and more” as part of their education. Dr. DeVita started NBD in 2016, and his tireless work to promote the event underlines his creed and commitment to the biomechanics community.

In 2017, over 150 labs and 7,000 high school students participated in National Biomechanics Day, an outstanding turnout that bodes well for the years to come.  How many will it be for 2018?

National Biomechanics Day

Research Articles from 2017 Worth Reading

Check out some of the advancements and discoveries made in the motor control realm over the past year:


Recent advancements in pharmacogenetics of Parkinson’s disease can lead to personalized therapies. Learn More.


Tracing movement disorders back to a potential cause – mitochondrial disease. Learn More.


Paralyzed animals walk again thanks to “neural bypass” systems. Learn More.

Women in Biomechanics

Rigorous science knows no bounds.  The DLF applauds the women that embody this by pushing new ideas and quality research to the forefront. Here are a few women that are making waves in the biomechanics realm:

Dr. Vandana Phadke

Dr. Vandana Phadke

Senior Clinical Research Associate; Indian Spinal Injuries Center, New Delhi, India

Dr. Phadke’s unique position as a researcher in a clinic allows her work to be implemented in practice immediately, allowing the clinic to provide cutting-edge solutions to unique ailments. She is most interested in studying the patho-mechanics of musculoskeletal disorders, specifically as it pertains to the shoulder and foot. Learn More.

Dr. Valeska Gatica

Dr. Valeska Gatica

Associate Professor; Universidad de Talca, Talca, Chile

Dr. Gatica is part of a new generation of Chilean biomechanists who are leading various research efforts at the Human Motor Control Laboratory, where they focus on neurorehabilitation, virtual reality, and sports. She was recently investigating the neural and non-neural mechanisms of balance disorders in patients with cerebral palsy. Learn More.

Dr. Kylie Tucker

Dr. Kylie Tucker

Research Fellow; The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

Dr. Tucker gears much of her research towards understanding pain, particularly how pain can affect motor control parameters, and using this to inform and develop new clinical techniques and methods for improving care. Ultimately, her goal is to expand understanding of the mechanisms that underlie human movement control in health and disease. Learn More.

Dr. Kat Steele

Dr. Kat Steele

Assistant Professor; University of Washington, Seattle, United States

One of Dr. Steele’s current projects, dubbed “AccessEngineering,” aims to make engineering careers more accessible to persons with disabilities by engaging faculty and students to develop accessible learning resources for all. Her research work focuses primarily on integrating simulation, motion analysis, medical imaging, and device design to improve quality of life for individuals with neurologic disorders. Learn More.

Dr. Serena Ivaldi

Dr. Serena Ivaldi

Researcher (CR2); INRIA Nancy, Villers-les-Nancy, France

Dr. Ivaldi is actively working on the LARSEN project, which is aiming to give robots “human-like” autonomy in an effort to incorporate them into society. Her focus is on the robot’s interactions with humans, aiming to bridge the gap through implementing effective perception and feedback processes. Learn More.

Benefits of Exercising: Obesity and Gut Microbes

A study led by Prof. Jeffrey Woods at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign clearly points to the critical role of exercise in gut microbiota in lean and obese subjects, independent of diet or other factors.

View Abstract

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