Luke Johnson, PhD

Research Associate

Luke Johnson is currently a Research Associate in the Neuromodulation Research Center at the University of MN. He has extensive research experience in neurophysiology, systems neuroscience, neuromodulation, and technology development. Luke is interested in applying his neurophysiology expertise to the research and development of medical devices and clinical therapies that benefit individuals with damaged sensory and/or motor systems.

mndrive logoLuke was a MnDRIVE (Minnesota Discovery, Research and InnoVation Economy) Initiative Neuromodulation Post-doctoral Fellow. Project Title: Understanding Pathophysiology of Parkinson’s Disease and the Therapeutic Effects of Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) - Innovations in Neuronal Recording, Analysis and Closed-Loop Control




Dr. Johnson’s research addresses critical questions regarding the brain mechanisms underlying Parkinson’s disease and how to develop new and more effective strategies to deliver DBS therapies. His new methods and techniques will also have broader importance and will impact the development of other applications (e.g. brain-machine interfaces) and therapies for additional brain conditions (e.g. epilepsy, depression and dystonia).

He is utilizing neurophysiology (single unit, multi-unit and local field potentials) and behavioral approaches in models of Parkinson’s disease (PD) to advance the understanding of PD pathophysiology and mechanisms of deep brain stimulation (DBS). 

He is also investigating new stimulation paradigms that use neural biomarkers for closed-loop control of DBS.


Education / Training

University of Minnesota
Postdoctoral Associate, Neurology 
Neuromodulation Research Center
2013 – 2016

The Johns Hopkins University
PhD, Biomedical Engineering
2006 – 2013

Washington University in St. Louis
B.S., Biomedical Engineering
2004 – 2006

Dual-Degree Engineering Program with Luther College

Luther College
B.A., Physics, Spanish
2000 – 2004



Johnson, LA, Della Santina, CC, Wang, X., 2017, Representations of time-varying cochlear implant stimulation in auditory cortex of awake primate. Journal of Neuroscience Accepted

Wang J, Johnson LA, Jensen AL, Baker KB, Vitek JL, 2017, Network wide oscillations in the parkinsonian state: Alterations in neuronal activities occur in the premotor cortex in parkinsonian non-human primates. Journal of Neurophysiology In Press

Johnson, LA, Della Santina, CC, Wang, X., 2016, Selective Neuronal Activation by Cochlear Implant Stimulation in Auditory Cortex of Awake Primate. Journal of Neuroscience, 36 (49) 12468-1248.

Johnson LA, Nebeck SD, Muralidharan A, Johnson MD, Baker KB, Vitek JL, 2016, Closed-loop deep brain stimulation effects on parkinsonian motor symptoms in a non-human primate -- is beta enough? Brain Stimulation. Vol 6, no. 9, p 892–896.

Connolly, A, Muralidharan, A., Hendrix, C.,  Johnson, L., Gupta, R, Stanslaski, S., Denison, T., Baker, K., Vitek, J., Johnson, M, 2015, Local field potential recordings in a non-human primate model of Parkinson’s disease using the Activa® PC+S neurostimulator Journal of Neural Engineering, Vol 12, no.6, p066012.

Johnson LA, Xu W, Baker KB, Zhang J, Vitek JL. 2015, Modulation of motor cortex neuronal activity and motor behavior during subthalamic nucleus stimulation in the normal primate. Journal of Neurophysiology, Vol 113, no. 7, 2549-2554.

Johnson, LA, Della Santina, CC, Wang, X., 2012, Temporal bone characterization and cochlear implant feasibility in the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus), Hearing Research 290, 37-44. (cover)

Johnson, L., Gupta, A.K., Ghafoor, A., Akin, D., Bashir, R., 2006. Characterization of vaccinia virus particles using microscale silicon cantilever resonators and atomic force microscopy. Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical 115, 189–197.



Molnar, GF, Johnson LA, Escobar D, Bello EM, Johnson MD, Vitek JL. Deep brain stimulation system and method with multi-modal, multi-symptom neuromodulation.  Provisional Application Filed to USPTO by The Regents of the University of MN 10/21/2016, #62/4111,266


Book Chapters

Johnson, LA, Vitek JL. 2016, “Deep brain stimulation: Mechanisms of action.” In Youmans Neurological Surgery, 7th edition, edited by Winn HR.

Luke Johnson profile photo