Neuroengineering at Drexel University is an initiative led by the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems and the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy at Drexel University College of Medicine in partnership with faculty from most academic units at Drexel University, including the Colleges of Engineering, Arts and Science, Business, Nursing and Health Professions, and Media and Design.

The Neuroengineering Initiative at Drexel University has received a major investment from the University and is currently expanding its research activities. Finally, this initiative has partnerships with major clinical institutions for the development of translational devices and for educational experiences for students. Partnering clinical institutions include: Shriner's Hospital for Children, Philadelphia, PA, and Veteran's Affairs Hospital, Philadelphia, PA.

Focus Areas

There are diverse ongoing neuroengineering research activities at Drexel University and at partnering institutions including functional optical brain imaging, neuroprosthetics, computational neuroscience, brain-computer interface, tissue engineering, and neuroimaging.

Functional Optical
Brain Imaging

Functional optical brain imaging (fNIR) research at Drexel University and its partner institutions encompasses NIRS-based studies that are mainly focused on fNIR to monitor cognitive activity. Applications of fNIR technology include human performance studies, clinical monitoring in emergency medicine, critical care, anesthesiology, obstetrics, surgery, pediatrics, neurorehabilitation, mental health, training and education as well as homeland security applications such as deception monitoring.

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Neural Interface Systems

Projects at Drexel University include the development of devices for paraplegia, to detect brain injury and for patients with debilitating neurological disorders. This effort draws on the above neurorobotics and computation efforts as well as neuroengineering faculty working on implantable CNS electrodes, non-invasive near infrared devices for monitoring neural activity, development of probes for release and measurement of transmitters, control systems, and physical training paradigms. Translation of the results from benchtop to clinic relies on collaboration with Shriner's Hospital where clinical efficacy of the approaches under study will be evaluated.

Focus is on several different aspects including the development of closed-loop brain-machine interface for restoration of function in patients with paraplegia. This work includes extracting appropriate motor commands from the brain and functional stimulation of the spinal cord to restore locomotion. Projects include understanding the role of cortical plasticity after spinal injury, analysis of modularity in the motor system to simplify computation and control for the organism, and the use of afferent feedback to augment the gait during locomotor training.

Computational Neuroscience

Members have extensive experience using computational neuroscience to study theoretical and clinical problems in neuroscience and neurology. A major effort within this group is in modeling spinal circuitry and neural control of locomotion.

Neural Tissue Engineering

Projects include development of neural tissue scaffold to aid in repair after spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury, the application of biomechanical approaches to the study of neurotrauma, and assistance to the brain-machine interface projects to minimize tissue damage and enhance the bioactive capabilities of neural implants.