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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:

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 : 1-13,2018.

Johnson MJ, Johnson MA, Sefcik JS, Cacchione PZ, Mucchiani C, Lau T, Yim M: Task and Design Requirements for an Affordable Mobile Service Robot for Elder Care in an All-Inclusive Care for Elders Assisted-Living Setting International Journal of Social Robots : 1– 20,2017.

Mucchiani C, Sharma S, Johnson M, Sefcik J, Vivio N, Huang J, Cacchione P, Johnson M, Rai R, Canoso A, Lau T.: Evaluating older adults’ interaction with a mobile assistive robot. In IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, IROS : 2017.

Sefcik JS, Johnson MJ, Yim M, Lau T, Vivio N, Mucchiani C, Cacchione PZ: Stakeholders’ Perceptions Sought to Inform the Development of a Low-Cost Mobile Robot for Older Adults: A Qualitative Descriptive Study Clinical Nursing Research : 1– 20,2017.

Mohan M, Mendonca R, Johnson MJ: Towards Quantifying Dynamic Human-Human Physical Interactions for Robot Assisted Stroke Therapy IEEE International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics,Conference Proceedings, London, UK : 2017.

Bui, KB, Rai R, Johnson MJ: Using Upper Limb Kinematics to Assess Cognitive Deficits in People Living with Both HIV and Stroke IEEE International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR), Conference Proceedings, London, UK : 2017.

Goyal V, Torres W, Rai R, Shofer F, Bogen D, Bryant P, Prosser L, Johnson MJ: Quantifying infant physical and cognitive interactions using sensorized toys in a natural play environment IEEE International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR), Conference Proceedings, London, UK : 2017.

Shreyas S. Shivakumar, Helen Loeb, Daniel K. Bogen, Frances Shofer, Phillip Bryant, Laura Prosser and Michelle J. Johnson: Stereo 3D Tracking of Infants in Natural Play Conditions IEEE International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR), Conference Proceedings, London, UK : 2017.

Michelle Johnson, Mayumi Mohan, Rochelle Mendonca: Analyzing Patient-Therapist Physical Interactions in Occupational Therapy: Understanding Intent and Identifying Metrics Good Shepherd Penn Partners Research Day, Philadelphia, PA, June 8 : 2017.

Bui K, Rai R, Johnson MJ: Using Neuroimaging and Rehabilitation Robotics to Better Understand HIV-Associated Stroke: A Case Study Good Shepherd Penn Partners Research Day : 2017.

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