Dr. Antonia Zaferiou
Biomedical Engineer
Rush University, Division of Sports Medicine


Antonia Zaferiou: A Dancer and Engineer Who Brings a Unique Perspective to Science Excitement!

Ever since she was a young student, Antonia Zaferiou has been inspired by teachers and mentors who use their passions and creativity to motivate learning in the classroom — especially to influence students in the fundamentals of science. Today she feels fortunate to be able to do just that by combining her interest in mechanical engineering and dancing.

Antonia is currently the Director of Motion Analysis for the Division of Sports Medicine at Rush University in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery where her research uses mechanical principles to study how people move during activities of daily living and athletic maneuvers. “I am interested in using this information,” she says, “to develop technology and clinical interventions that improve movement mechanics and reduce the risk of injury.” Antonia adds: “This area of research and development has also proven to be an effective vehicle for engaging students in the classroom, laboratory, and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) outreach programs.”

Today, as a mechanical engineer and dancer, she is using her passion in these two disciplines to demonstrate to students and teachers alike how such concepts can be combined in the classroom to ignite excitement and creativity in STEAM.

Originally from New York, Antonia earned her Bachelor’s of Engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, and her Master’s of Science degree and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Southern California (USC). Before joining Rush University, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan.

While pursuing her Ph.D., she studied lower extremity multi-joint control and muscle recruitment strategies. “This line of research,” she explains, “includes determining how people perform challenging movements and this information can help athletes and clinical populations learn how to move more safely and effectively.” These types of studies entails using and developing a background in physics and biology, with emphasis on functional musculoskeletal anatomy.

Translating these and other science concepts to classroom learning has been a labor of love for Antonia. As an example of her creative delivery of scientific fundamentals, Antonia’s co-directed and narrated a highly creative video, titled Dance With Newton’s Laws which uses dancing to explain concepts of physics and biomechanics. The film, which is now on YouTube, won Honorable Mention in the 2011-2012 USC Science Film Competition. She also has consulted for the script of Super Deluxe’s “The Physics of Ballet: (Ballet)ology”.

For more information, please visit AntoniaZaferiou.com