Paralympic athlete runningClare Small 106 and 111
phone: 303-492-0926
fax: 303-492-4009

Research Interests

  • The biomechanical and metabolic effects of prostheses and exoskeletons on walking, running, hopping, jumping, and sprinting.


  • Director: Alena Grabowski, PhD.
  • Postdoctoral Fellows: Janet Zhang, Harald Penasso
  • Graduate Students: Ryan Alcantara, Stephen Allen, Kara Ashcraft, Zane Colvin, Gabriela Diaz, Caelyn Hirschman, Josh Tacca
  • Collaborators: Christopher Arellano, Ph.D., Brown University; William Byrnes, Ph.D., University of Colorado Boulder; Susan D'Andrea, Ph.D., Providence VAMC; Hugh Herr, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Trevor Kingsbury, Ph.D. Naval Medical Center San Diego; Rodger Kram, Ph.D., University of Colorado Boulder; William McDermott, Ph.D., The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital, Utah; Craig McGowan, Ph.D., University of Idaho; Justus Ortega, Ph.D., Humboldt State University; Mark Rentschler, Ph.D., University of Colorado Boulder; Anne Silverman, Ph.D., Colorado School of Mines.

Grabowski Lab 2018

(L to R): Stephen Allen, Alena Grabowski, Adrian Muller, Ryan Alcantara, Kara Ashcraft, Emily Drees, Vani Sundaram, Josh Tacca.

Current Research Projects

  • What is the optimal model, stiffness, and height of a running-specific leg prosthesis? (Tacca, Grabowski)
  • Can sensory feedback training improve the biomechanical and metabolic effects of using passive or powered lower limb prostheses during walking for Veterans with transtibial amputations? (Hirschman, Zhang, Grabowski)
  • How do lower limb prosthetic stiffness and power affect the biomechanics, metabolic costs, and satisfaction of Veterans with transtibial amputations during walking?” (Colvin, Tacca, Grabowski)
  • Understanding the effects of a springy leg exoskeleton during hopping and running (Allen, Tacca, Grabowski)
  • What is the optimal stiffness of a pediatric prosthetic foot? (Ashcraft, Grabowski)
  • How does in-series or running-specific prosthetic stiffness affect long jump performance? (Ashcraft, Grabowski)
  • How does use of a running-specific leg prosthesis affect curve-running performance? (Alcantara, Diaz, Grabowski)
  • Optimizing orthotic and prosthetic components for military women with limb salvage or amputation. (Ashcraft, Grabowski)
  • Integration of biomechanics-based informatics for prevention of stress fractures (Alcantara, Grabowski)
  • Optimizing prosthetic and bicycle fit for Veterans with transtibial amputations (Allen, Grabowski)

Opportunities for Undergraduates

The requirements for undergraduate students who would like research experience in our Lab are:

  • Completed at least one year in college.
  • Will be at CU for at least two more semesters.
  • Available for 8-10 hours of time per week in blocks of 2-4 hours at a time.
  • IPHY, MCDB, PSYCH, Applied Math, and Engineering majors are encouraged.

For more information, contact Prof. Alena Grabowski ( Unfortunately, due to high demand, we cannot accommodate all qualified students.

Recent Publications