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Michelle Jillian Johnson, PhD

Michelle Jillian Johnson, PhD Researcher

Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 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:

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) : 2019.

Goodman A, Johnson MJ, and Popovic M: Chapter 12: Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Biomechantronics : 2019.

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

Mucchiani C, Torres WO, Edgar D, Johnson MJ, Cacchione PZ, Yim M: Development and Deployment of a Mobile Manipulator for Assisting and Entertaining Elders Living in Supportive Apartment Living facilities 27th IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN) : 121-128,2018.

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.

Bui KD, Johnson MJ: Developing Robot-Based Cognitive and Motor Tasks for People Living with Both HIV and Stroke 7th IEEE International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics (Biorob), August 26-29, Enschede, The Netherlands : 31-36,2018.

Bui KD, Johnson MJ: Robotic Assessment to Quantify HIV-related Episodic Disability in Stroke Proc of Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America, Jul, Washington, DC, USA : 2018.

Bui KD, Johnson MJ: Towards Robot-Based Cognitive and Motor Assessment Across the HIV-Stroke Spectrum 40th International Conference of the IEEE Engineering Medince Biology Society (EMBC), Honolulu, HI, USA : 3618-3621,2018.

Smith RO, Scherer M, Cooper R, Bell D, Hobbs DA, Pettersson C, Seymour N, Borg J, Johnson MJ, Lane JP, Srinivasan SS, Rao PVM, Obiedat QM, MacLachlan M, Bauer S: Assistive Technology Products: A Position Paper from the First Global Research, Innovation, and Education on Assistive Technology (GREAT) Summit Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology 13 (5): 1-13,2018.

Zhao s, Mohan M, Torres WO, Bogen DK, Shofer FS, Prosser L, Loeb H, Johnson MJ: Assessment of Atypical Motor Development in Infants through Toy-stimulated Play and Center of Pressure Analysis Proc of Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America, Jul, Washington, DC, USA : 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