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Health Information In My Own Words: Dancing My PhD

Film merges Christopher Knowlton’s dancing talent and knee research.

As a dancer, Christopher Knowlton understands how movement and force can impact a person's knees and lead to injuries. As a research assistant in the Tribology Laboratory at Rush University Medical Center, he is participating in research aimed at creating better-performing, longer-lasting implants for knee replacement surgery. Recently, he had the rare opportunity to combine his passions for dance and bioengineering when he was named a finalist in the international “Dance Your PhD” contest. He shared his experiences, and his video, on the Rush InPerson blog. The following is an excerpt from his post:

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 PhD 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.

Watch Christopher Knowlton’s video and read the rest of his post on the Rush InPerson blog.

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Please note: All physicians featured in Discover Rush Online are on the medical faculty of Rush University Medical Center. Some of the physicians featured are in private practice and, as independent practitioners, are not agents or employees of Rush University Medical Center.

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November 2012


 

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