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About MAL

Our Approach to Care

The Motion Analysis Lab takes an integrated approach to patient care, employing physiatrists, physical therapists and biomedical engineers to provide you with comprehensive care. Our goal is not only to improve the rehabilitation experience of patients within hospital walls but to find ways to continue treatment and rehabilitation for you in your own homes. In pursuit of this goal, the MAL focuses on the rehabilitative possibilities of robotics and wearable technology. Robotics can provide more intensive rehabilitation resulting in larger mobility gains for you in shorter amounts of time. Wearable technology helps our physicians and clinicians monitor these gains, even at home. Our lab was the first in the country to adopt robotics for the purposes of retraining gait in children with cerebral palsy and is on the cutting-edge of research into better prosthetics for amputees, state-of-the art interactive technology for stroke survivors, traumatic brain injuries and people with burn-related contractures. Our clinical work includes gait evaluations for both children and adults with walking abnormalities. After a clinical evaluation, our clinicians may recommend special exercises, bracing, assistive devices or even surgery.

Our Expertise

The Motion Analysis Lab is affiliated with the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School, the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. Our team of physiatrists, physical therapists and biomedical engineers work collaboratively to conduct research and provide you with the best possible care. Our lab is among a very few in the country with a Lokomat for gait training in both children and adults, a special computer-controlled robotic exoskeleton used in conjunction with a motorized treadmill that has been shown to improve walking abnormalities caused by conditions such as cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, stroke or traumatic brain injury.

Our Program Directors

Paolo Bonato serves as Director of the MAL. An internationally-known rehabilitation engineer, he has consolidated the lab’s preeminent position in biomechanics and rehabilitation. He is Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Affiliated Faculty of the Harvard–MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology in Cambridge. Dr. Donna Nimec serves as Medical Director of the MAL. She is an Instructor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School and Director, Pediatric Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Program at Spaulding.