Dr. Max Ortiz Catalan
Dr. Max Ortiz Catalan, Ph.D. Director of the Center for Bionics and Pain Research
Foto: David Martín Espinosa

PODCAST - Conversations on Bionics and Pain


This show is about engineering and medical developments related to bionics and pain, particularly the use of science and technology to restore function in the human body and alleviation of pain.

The show is hosted by Dr. Max Ortiz Catalan, Ph.D., who is the Director of the Center for Bionics and Pain Research ( and known for his work on prosthetic limbs and phantom limb pain.

First episode
Prof. Gerald E. Loeb | Neuroprostheses
Interview with  Dr. Gerald E. Loeb, Professor on Biomedical Engineering and Neurology at the University of Southern California in L.A., USA. He has written hundreds of scientific articles and holds over 70 patents on medical devices. He has conducted pioneer work on motor, visual, and auditory neuroprostheses, from basic and translational research to entrepreneurship for making such technologies available to patients.

First episode A
Open-Source Bionic Leg | Prof. Elliott Rouse and Prof. Levi Hargrove.

Interview with the senior authors of the article “Design and clinical implementation of an open-source bionic leg” (Azocar et al., Nat Biomed Eng, 2020), Prof. Elliott Rouse, Ph.D., at the University of Michigan, and Prof. Levi Hargrove, Ph.D., at the Sherly Ryan AbilityLab and Northwestern University. We discuss their Open-Source Leg project in the context of the state-of-the-art in prosthetic legs, promising research directions, and how to identify “not so good” research or development ideas.

Second episode
Prof. Todd Kuiken | Targeted Muscle Reinnervation
Prof. Todd Kuiken developed Targeted Muscle Reinnervation (TMR) – a surgical method to rewire the nervous system of people with amputations to better interface with prosthetic limbs. He is the Emeritus Director of the Regenstein Foundation Center for Bionic Medicine at the Sherly Ryan AbilityLab and an Emeritus Professor at Northwestern University. In addition to his contributions to the treatment of amputees, we talked about how great multidisciplinary medical and engineering teams can be created and the importance of having a clear direction. He also shared some insights on one of the hardest aspects of research - how to decide when to terminate projects and reject bad ideas, and we wrapped up with advices for students.

Second episode A
Somatosensory Plasticity | Prof. Sliman Bensmaia
Episode on the article “Chronic Use of a Sensitized Bionic Hand Does Not Remap the Sense of Touch” (Ortiz-Catalan et al., Cell Reports, 2020). I discuss with Prof. Sliman Bensmaia at the University of Chicago, with whom we published this article, how the long-term used of a bionic hand that elicits tactile sensory feedback in a location distinct to that observed by the user, provided evidence to the inability of the brain to change enough as to generate an experience that solves the mismatch. In other words, we showed a hard constraint to brain plasticity in the somatosensory system.

Read more and listen to all the interview on RedCircle