Matthew R. Titchenal, Ph.D., graduated in June 2012 from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He majored in Mechanical Engineering. Matt and his teammates worked on the QL+ Prosthetic Knee Lift Challenge in 2011/2012. They designed a mechanical mechanism to assist double above-the-knee amputees to walk upstairs. The team developed a working prototype by the end of the project. One of his teammates, Casey Barbarino, continued this work in his master's degree.
Did you obtain a higher level of education since graduating?
Yes, I completed an MS and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at Stanford University.
Where are you employed?
I am employed at InSciTech, Inc in Los Altos, CA.
What is your job title and what are your job responsibilities?
I am a consultant and expert in biomechanics and accident reconstruction.
Describe your experience working with QL+.
The largest challenge was creating a device that was strong enough to accomplish the task without being too heavy or bulky. To help our team to the solution, I was able to utilize the methods in mechanical design and machining that I learned as a part of my curriculum at Cal Poly. Working with QL+ allowed me to work on a team with students from other fields. It also gave me my first exposure to biomechanics, which I ended up pursuing during graduate school. I am thankful that Jon Monett and QL+ gave me the opportunity to work on a QL+ project, as it largely shaped the trajectory of my post-graduate education and career.
How did your involvement with QL+ aid in the path you chose to follow after graduation?
It gave me my first exposure to biomechanics and interdisciplinary research. This strengthened my application to graduate school, and I eventually became involved in interdisciplinary research as a part of my Ph.D. work, studying the mechanical, biological, and structural factors leading to post-traumatic knee osteoarthritis. I was able to earn a Stanford Bio-X graduate fellowship. https://biox.stanford.edu/people/matthew-titchenal-0) A large part of this research was conducted at the VA in Palo Alto with the aim of developing treatments to prevent disabling arthritis in veterans. I have published several papers and continue to stay involved in this research while I currently pursue my career in consulting. I also have been the lead author or co-author on two of the highest awards in orthopedics, the AOSSM O'Donoghue Award (lead author) and the AAOS Kappa Delta Elizabeth Winston Lanier Award (co-author). AAOS Kappa Delta Elizabeth Winston Lanier Award (co-author)
What is your fondest memory of working on the QL+ Challenge?
The fondest memory of working on the challenge was working on an interdisciplinary team. Everyone brought something different to the table and everyone had the opportunity to make a significant contribution.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself when you first started working on the QL+ Challenge? Brainstorm and prototype and repeat. Try several prototype designs before settling on a primary solution. Finish your first prototype in the first half of the school year. Sometimes the best solutions are not obvious and are often the simplest.
The purpose of Where Are They Now? is to highlight our QL+ Alumni: the life-changing work they did to help our Challengers and how their experiences with QL+ shaped their current professions.