Christopher Luzzio, MD


Neurologist and Engineer

UW, Madison

Department of Neurology

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Office: (608) 287-2093

Dr. Luzzio standing next to a telescope.

           Dr. Luzzio is a neurologist associate professor who specializes in the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). He practices within the UW Hospital, Medical School and Medical Foundation. He also has an affiliate appointment in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

           Prior to college he attended a technical arts school in San Francisco where he learned to fabricate devices. He then attended UC, Berkeley where he earned degrees in neurobiology and mechanical engineering. He was trained in medicine at Kansas University then neurology at UW, Madison. After being a junior faculty at UCSF where he became interested in MS, he returned to practice and specialize in MS in Madison.

           Since 2003, Dr. Luzzio has volunteered as a mentor for mechanical engineering senior design students and graduate students. He has worked closely with engineering professor Frank Fronczak (emeritus) who has also acted as a mentor for Dr. Luzzio. The focus of the student projects has been assistive technology and medical related devices.  Dr. Luzzio is a member of UW-Create which is an assemble of UW faculty and healthcare specialist who have a common interest in developing assistive technology for disabled individuals.

           Dr. Luzzio is a founding  member of a multidisciplinary, interdepartmental team at UW that is researching new engineering methods to improve the treatment of hydrocephalus. He has also been the PI at UW on several phase III pharmaceutical sponsored clinical trials testing new MS therapies.

            Dr. Luzzio is an amateur astronomer, wood-worker and chess enthusiast. His first major machining project was a 12.5 inch Newtonian reflector telescope.

            Dr. Luzzio Dr. Luzzio was taught to machine by artist, craftsman, teacher, and friend: William D. Chuchwar of San Franciso who was his adviser during the telescope project (junior and senior years of high school).


Selected projects of Dr. Luzzio:

1. Portion of an engineering drawing for an electronic dissecting instrument showing an assembly diagram and parts list.

2. Hand holding the dissection instrument.Prosthetic arm displayed on a stand.Close-up of shunt valve.Tablet computer with custom external controls mounted on stand.

Human interface device designed and built by Dr. Luzzio that allows a person with severe MS who can move only one finger to control an electronic book.


This project is near completion.


This is a prototype ventriculoperitoneal shunt valve to treat hydrocephalus. Newer designs are currently under development by the UW Hydrocephalus Group (members from college of engineering and medical school).

Custom-engineered wheelchair

This unique wheelchair has been designed and fabricated by senior mechanical engineering students under the mentorship of Dr. Luzzio and instruction by Professors F. Fronczak and H. Ploeg and instructor C. Westphal.


It’s allows a person with severe leg weakness that has inadvertently fallen to the ground during transfers to recover independently of assistance.


           (nearing final design)

While undergraduate at UC Berkeley, 1986.

For Prof Ray Keller and

Embryology research

Part of a system in which the lower limb controls a sophisticated powered artificial arm via a sensory interface “stocking”.


Intended to be used for fine motor activities while in a seated position.

Artist with an assistive device welding in a studio.

This artist is using an orthotic device to assist his left arm in supporting heavy metal objects while welding. The device was designed and constructed by graduate student Lindsey Hilbert under the mentorship of Professor Frank Fronczak and Dr. Luzzio (photo with permission).


A more sophisticated version with greater range of motion was developed by Ms. Hilbert and continues to be an on going project for master degree students.


Senior design students developed an another version which was completed and delivered to the artist (below).

Another version of the assistive device.

Dr. Luzzio has also participated in mentoring students with Professor Fronczak who have designed and built a hand powered cycle, an underwater cycle, an exercise machine, plus other various orthotic and assistive devices.

Top view of the mahogany piano bench

           Mahogany piano bench crafted by Dr. Luzzio.