Luke Johnson, PhD

Assistant Professor, Associate Director of NMRC

Luke Johnson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology and Associate Director of 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 neurological disorders.


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Luke was a MnDRIVE (Minnesota Discovery, Research and InnoVation Economy) Initiative Neuromodulation Post-doctoral Fellow, and is now a MnDRIVE Neuromodulation Faculty Scholar.



Postdoctoral Positions Available!

Effects of Parkinson’s Disease and Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) on Sleep Neurophysiology:

Using the MPTP non-human primate model of Parkinson’s disease, this study aims to provide a better understanding of the brain circuitry involved in disordered sleep in parkinsonism and inform the development of targeted therapeutic interventions to treat sleep disorders in people with neurodegenerative disease.

The official position posting can be found by searching for Job Posting #328083 at


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 stimulation paradigms that use neural biomarkers for closed-loop control of DBS for the treatment of motor and non-motor symptoms in Parkinson's disease.


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



Click here for updated list on Pubmed



Molnar, GF, Johnson LA, Escobar D, Bello EM, Johnson MD, Vitek JL. Deep brain stimulation system and method with multi-modal, multi-symptom neuromodulation. Application Filed to USPTO by The Regents of the University of MN 10/21/2017, #15/788,563


Book Chapters

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

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