Biomed Faculty Active in Translational Research
Dr. Karen A. Moxon
School of Biomedical Engineering, Science & Health Systems
Focus Area: Brain Machine Interfaces
Dr. Karen Moxon is an Assistant Professor at the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Drexel University. She received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1984 and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from the University of Colorado in 1991 and 1994, respectively.
Dr. Moxon's primary research focus is to understand how the brain processes sensory information to produce intelligent motor output. In her lab, she and her assistants have combined simultaneous recordings of large numbers of neurons with computation models of neural systems to better understand how the brain processes sensory information and develops an adaptive, intelligent motor plan. The lab includes a state of the art multiple neuron data acquisition system (MNAP) that can simultaneously record up to 256 single neurons from electrodes chronically implanted into the brain of laboratory animals.
In collaboration with scientist in the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy at Drexel's College of Medicine, her main research project is Recovery of Function after Spinal Cord Damage and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. She and her collaborators in the lab are examining plasticity in the sensorimotor system after spinal injury and repair. The major aim of the project is to develop strategies for restoring sensorimotor function after spinal injury. The project data will be used to better understand the role of supraspinal system in rehabilitation and also will be used to create new devices for interfacing with the neural systems of spinal injured patients to facilitate movement.
In addition to the neural recordings and computational modeling, the lab has also been involved in the development of novel devices to interface with brain. A preliminary patent has been submitted on new ceramic-based multi-site recording electrodes that have been shown to chronically record single neuron action potentials for up to three months. She and her collaborators have also shown that these electrodes can record nanomolar concentrations of neurotransmitters, including glutatmate, dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. Dr. Moxon and her team are enhancing the capabilities of these electrodes with signal processing techniques to develop brain-machine interface devices for clinical applications. For example, by using these electrodes to monitor seizure activity of neurons, the hope is to predict seizure onset and provide intervention to prevent any seizures, or use the electrodes as a novel stimulation device for ParkinsonŐs that can also monitor local concentration of dopamine.