'Impact the World' series to continue Feb. 7 on Big Ten Network

A new episode of the new original series, "Impact the World," will air at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 7, on the Big Ten Network. Hosted by Dennis Haysbert, the weekly program showcases some of the incredible Big Ten breakthroughs that are changing lives in the United States and around the world. The fifth of the eight-episode series will showcase ground-breaking medical developments from three world-class Big Ten universities.

Illinois -- There are 25 million people world-wide who are missing one or more of their limbs. Of that group, approximately 80 percent live in developing countries without access to affordable and adequate rehabilitation. At age 19, University of Illinois sophomore Jonathan Naber recruited six fellow mechanical science and engineering students to form Illinois Prosthetics Technologies (IPT), a nonprofit organization dedicated to revolutionizing affordable prosthetics. Using recycled materials, the IPT team developed an efficient, adjustable and affordable prosthetic arm, called the open socket. For his work with IPT, Naber was honored with numerous awards, including the Lemelson-MIT Prize, dubbed the "Oscar for Inventors," for outstanding innovation and invention. To watch a preview, click here.

Iowa -- Tracy and Jennifer VanHoutan will never forget the fateful phone call they received in March 2009, notifying them that their son, Noah, had been diagnosed with late Infantile Batten Disease. An extremely rare brain disorder for which there is no cure, Batten Disease affects less than 1,000 people worldwide. A few years later, the VanHoutans’ daughter Laine, was diagnosed with the same disease. The University of Iowa’s Beverly Davidson and her team at Eckstein Center for Gene Therapy are working to develop a new method to replace a missing protein enzyme in the brain which causes the disease. Although Davidson’s gene therapy will not save their own children, the VanHoutans are hopeful that the research at Iowa will soon lead to a cure. To watch a preview, click here.

Nebraska -- What do miniature robots, a Cornhusker football player, NASA, and an operating room have in common? They’re all part of one massive research project at the University of Nebraska that may soon change the way doctors operate on patients. Nebraska researchers Professor Shane Farritor, Dmitry Oleynikov and a team of graduate engineers have designed miniature surgical robots intended to facilitate minimally invasive human surgery. The development has captivated the attention of NASA and the United States Military, which sponsor the research with hope of one day performing remote surgery on the front lines and in outer space. To watch a preview, click here.

Last Updated February 07, 2012