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Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy Neuroengineering Research

The research program in neuroengineering seeks to use engineering and physical science principles to understand the nervous system's circuit operation and build novel devices to interface with this circuitry. Researchers in this area draw from the fields of bioengineering, robotics, neural networks, neural engineering, biomechanics, neuroprosthetics, neurorobotics, information theory and coding principles in spike trains, population coding in neural representations, computational neuroscience, neural simulation and modeling, and "wet" electrophysiology and neurophysiology. Building interfaces to the nervous system and building brain-machine interfaces (BMI) provides novel circuit analysis tools for neuroscience, and enables novel prosthetics, novel rehabilitation methods and novel human interfaces for augmented function.

Research efforts focus on a range of topics. First, there is an emphasis on understanding spinal motor control using basic neurophysiology, models and biomechanics (Drs. Giszter and Danner), Hodgkin-Huxley and other types of models (Drs. Rybak, Ausborn and Danner), spinal cord injury models (Drs. Giszter and Dougherty), and models in comparative neurobiology (Drs. Ausborn and von Reyn [BME]). A second goal is to develop neuroprosthetics for treatment of spinal cord injury and movement disorders using neural microstimulation, epidural stimulation, viral therapies and optogenetic controls (Drs. Giszter and Dougherty), or other less invasive stimulation methods (Dr. Cote). Third, we examine cortical encoding and functional plasticity using multi-electrode recording, optical imaging, optogenetics and microstimulation in spinal cord injury models (Dr. Giszter). Finally we explore brain-machine interfaces and neurorobotics in rodent models using multi-electrode recording (Dr. Giszter). Work is conducted collaboratively between laboratories in the Departments of Neurobiology & Anatomy, and Pharmacology & Physiology in the College of Medicine, and Drexel University's School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, and off-campus colleagues.

The ultimate goal of this research effort is to obtain a deeper understanding of the design and function of circuitry supporting motor behaviors and sensory processing, and to understand its adaptation and plasticity, and therefore translational options. The natural outcome of this understanding will be improved treatment, improved rehab therapy, and novel prosthetics and assistive devices to overcome deficits due to various neurological diseases and stroke.

The laboratory groups are part of the Neuroengineering Initiative, a cross-disciplinary effort and collaboration of the College of Medicine's Neuroscience program and the School of Biomedical Engineering's programs.

Learn about the graduate program options in Neuroengineering

Download the Neuroengineering Flyer [PDF]

Related Department Faculty

Jessica Ausborn, PhD

Jessica Ausborn, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department: Neurobiology & Anatomy
Research Interests: Computational modeling of neurons and their interactions; brainstem and spinal control of locomotion and respiration; sensorimotor integration
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Simon Danner, PhD

Simon Danner, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department: Neurobiology & Anatomy
Research Interests: Computational modeling of neural control of locomotion
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Kimberly Dougherty, PhD

Kimberly Dougherty, PhD

Associate Professor
Department: Neurobiology & Anatomy
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Simon Giszter, PhD

Simon Giszter, PhD

Professor
Department: Neurobiology & Anatomy
Research Interests: Spinal cord organization and control of limb biomechanics
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Michel Lemay, PhD

Michel Lemay, PhD

Adjunct Professor
Department: Neurobiology & Anatomy
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Ilya Rybak, PhD

Ilya Rybak, PhD

Professor
Department: Neurobiology & Anatomy
Research Interests: Computational neuroscience, motor control, modeling neural control of respiration and locomotion
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Enlarged neuronet, glassy texture.