Pushing musculoskeletal boundaries
FortisNet, an interdisciplinary network of clinical, academic and industrial partners convened by the University of Southampton Institute for Life Sciences, celebrated its annual meeting on 30th January with a truly inspirational speaker: Alex Lewis.
Alex Lewis is a quadruple amputee who, in defiance of his physical condition, overcomes adversity and pushes his limits through involvement in ground-breaking projects.
Most recently, in support of The Wild Wheelchairs Project, Alex undertook a gruelling expedition with Ethiopian wheelchair user Emebet Allie Deress to scale one of the tallest mountains in Africa - the 4,550 metres of Ras Dashen. They did so in unique handcycles designed and built by University of Southampton masters students who used technology created by a Science Park business.
While supporting the project’s aim to inspire people to achieve their goals irrespective of the obstacles that are put in front of them, the expedition raised money to finance the construction of wheelchair manufacturing facilities in Ethiopia. This will transform the lives of hundreds of disabled people living in the eastern African nation.
FortisNet is working to develop research, products and services that will transform musculoskeletal health. With expertise in regenerative medicine, engineering, orthopaedics, prosthetics and orthotics, rehabilitation and assistive technologies, epidemiology and clinical trial design, FortisNet aims to improve lives by delivering better treatments, increasing the speed to market of musculoskeletal focused technology and training the next generation of scientists and engineers.
Since FortisNet was formed in 2016, it has developed 48 new projects and 35 business partnerships. By bringing engineers and biomedical scientists together to work in partnership with clinicians, industry partners and patients, there have been demonstrable improvements in the way new ideas and designs are brought to market.