16s ribosomal RNA Sequencing

A Pilot Investigation to Determine if Pathogens are Present on Gel Liners Worn by Amputees

Posted By Sheila Burt


In recent years, scientific research has driven advances in the design and control of prosthetic limbs. However, little research has explored the amount and kinds of bacteria present on liners, which are protective covers worn over the residual (amputated) limb to reduce movement and chafing between the skin and the socket

The goal of this project is to explore the correlation of potentially harmful bacteria to various liner conditions such as age of the liner, material properties, and patient hygiene practices. We will determine the type and relative quantity of bacteria present on the gel liners of 50 lower-limb amputees and correlate this presence to liner conditions. This swab sample will be analyzed by polymerase chain reaction amplification and sequencing of 16s ribosomal RNA.

Gel Liner
Interior of a gel liner showing general wear and discoloration (left) and a close-up of the small cracks that often develop in the distal end of a liner (right).

We will then correlate these results with patient and liner conditions through a survey and statistical analyses. We anticipate that this project will help clinicians provide better recommendations on liner replacement, provide evidence-based support to payer sources, and inform future studies.

Funding Support: The Orthotic and Prosthetic Education and Research Foundation (OPERF) Small Grant Program 

Study Personnel


  • Laura Miller, CP, PhD (Principal Investigator)
  • Kelly Lee, CP (Co-Investigator)
  • Andrea Domenighetti, PhD (Co-Investigator)

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