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Michelle Jillian Johnson, PhD

Michelle Jillian Johnson, PhD Researcher

Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Dr. Johnson is employed by Penn Medicine.

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Clinical Specialties


  • Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Programs & Centers:


American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM), National American Society of Mechanical Engineers, National Department of Occupational Therapy, Advisory Board, Temple University, Local Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, International Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Robotics and Automation Society, International International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR), International National Institute of Health, Eunice Kennedy NICHD,, National National Science Foundation, National Rehabilitation Engineering Society of North America, National Society of Women Engineers, National

Hospital Affiliation

Dr. Johnson is employed by Penn Medicine.


Description of Research Expertise:

My research is mainly in the area of robot-mediated rehabilitation. I am focused on the investigation and rehabilitation of dysfunction due to aging, neural disease, and neural injury. I am particularly interested in 1) exploring the relationships between brain plasticity and behavioral/motor control changes after robot-assisted interventions; 2)quantifying motor impairment and motor control of the upper limb in real world tasks such as drinking; and 3) defining the methods to maintain therapeutic effectiveness while administering local and remote, robot-mediated interventions.

I direct the Rehabilitation Robotics Lab. This is a new Lab within the Department of Physical, Medicine, and Rehabilitation in the Perelman School of Medicine. The Rehabilitation Robotics Lab mission is to use robotics,rehabilitation,and neuroscience techniques to translate research findings into the development of assistive and therapeutic rehabilitation robots capable of functioning in real-world rehabilitation environments. Our goal is to improve the quality of life and function on activities of daily living (ADLs) of our target population in supervised or under-supervised settings.

Keywords (in alphabetical order): Brain Plasticity, Design, Controls, Motor Control, Robotics, Rehabilitation, Stroke, Therapy, Upper Limb

Selected Publications:

Goodman A, Johnson MJ, and Popovic M: Chapter 12: Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation In Biomechatronics 1st Edition : 2019.

Johnson MJ, Sobrepera M, Mendonca R: Design of an affordable socially assistive robot for remote health and function monitoring and prognostication International Journal of Prognostics and Health Management (IJPHM) 10 (005): 15,2019.

GirlPowered: GirlPowered Spark Series: Michelle Johnson YouTube Video, RECFoundation : 2019.

Johnson MJ, Mendonca R: Chapter 17: Rehabilitation Robotics In Rehabilitation Engineering : 2019.

Mucchiani C, Cacchione P, Torres W, Johnson MJ, Yim M: Exploring a low-cost mobile manipulation for elder care within a community-based setting Journal of Intelligent & Robotic Systems : 2019.

Kather C, Torres W, Lima K, Ho E, Pierce S, Prosser L, Johnson MJ: Distinguishing atypical infant behavior using elementary kinetic classifications Rehabilitation Engineering And Assistive Technology Society of Korea (RESKO, Goyang, South Korea : 105,2018.

Torres W, Ho E, Johnson MJ: Ailu: A novel mechatronic toy designed for play and developmental assessment of infants Rehabilitation Engineering And Assistive Technology Society of Korea (RESKO), Goyang, South Korea : 9,2018.

Oyerinde E, Torres W, Lysenko S, Lima K, Pierce S, Prosser L, Johnson M: A novel approach to parameterizing infant emotion and movement in relation to cognitive and motor development Rehabilitation Engineering And Assistive Technology Society of Korea (RESKO), Goyang, South Korea : 106 - 106 (1 pages) ,2018.

Saberry S, Bui K, Johnson MJ: Gamification and validation of an upper extremity passive machine for a robot-assisted stroke rehabilitation gym Rehabilitation Engineering And Assistive Technology Society of Korea (RESKO), Goyang, South Korea : 124,2018.

Bui K, Johnson MJ: Designing robot-assisted neurorehabilition strategies for people with both HIV and stroke Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation 15 (1): 75,2018.

View all publications

Academic Contact Info

Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
1800 Lombard Street, 1st Floor, Office 9

Philadelphia, PA 19146
Phone: (215) 893-2665