Welcome to the Neurorobotics Laboratory –Karen Moxon, P.I.


The primary focus of research in our lab is to understand how the brain encodes sensory information and integrates this to produce intelligent motor output. We want to be able to use this knowledge to investigate changes in network activity under conditions of neural injury or dysfunction.

Areas of research focus on Neural encoding and Brain Machine Interfaces with applications in Spinal Cord Injury and Epilepsy.

Recent Awards

July 1, 2022 National Science Foundation awards Karen Moxon (PI) and co-Is (Erkin Seker, Xin Lui, Wil Joiner and Gene Gurkoff) the prestigious National Research Training Award $3.0M. The training grant, NeuralStorm, taking neuroengineering by storm, will be used to educate the next generation of neuroengineers by training in convergent science that crosses the disciplines of engineering, neuroscience, psychology and computer science. Full article found here

July 15th, 2022: UC Davis Department of Biomedical Engineering received a $3 million, five-year grant from the National Science Foundation to create a graduate-level training program in neuroengineering. Dr. Moxon will act as PI for this grant alongside co-Principal Investigators Professor Gene Kurkoff, Professor Wilsaan Joiner, Professor Xin Liu, and Professor Erkin Seker.
Full article found here

June 1st, 2021: Greg Disse was awarded “Best Poster Presentation” at the Symposium in Neuroengineering & Medicine for his poster “Rat trunk motor cortex can be used as a control signal for spinal neuromodulation to maintain center of pressure after spinal cord injury”

August 1st, 2021: National Institute for Mental Health awards co-investigators Karen Moxon (Ignacio Saez, PI) $3.6M to fund research into invasive decoding and stimulation of altered reward computations in depression.

September 30, 2020: DARPA awards a consortium, led by Karen Moxon, $36M to support a five-year project that aims to develop interventions for spinal cord injuries.

June 1, 2020: Gregory Disse, MD/PhD student, is awarded the NIH sponsored TL1 Predoctoral Clinical Research Training Program Award by the UC Davis Clinical and Translational Science Center.

July 18th, 2018: Ashley Schnider defends her Master’s thesis entitled ‘A Perceptual Role for the Perirhinal Cortex: Fact or Fiction?’ at CSU Sacramento.

January 28th, 2018: Gary Blumenthal, doctoral candidate, has been awarded a research scholarship to support research at Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany within the framework of the “Ph.D.-Exchange Programme” of RUB Research School.

December 14th, 2017: Walter Hinds defends his PhD thesis entitled ‘Machine Learning Enchanced Translational Research Methods Reveal Novel Biomarker for Human Epilepsy

June 27th, 2017: Nathanial Bridges defends his PhD thesis entitled ‘Neuronal and population level strategies used by the brain to improve performance in a BMI Task

June14th, 2017: Chen Lui defends her PhD thesis entitled ‘Impact of adaptation on thalamic neurons’ computational role of conveying contextual information about paired-pulse tactile stimulus‘ She has taken an Engineering Scientists position at Accenture China.

July 1st 2016: The Moxon lab is awarded a $3.8M grant from the National Institute of Health (R01 NS09697) entitled ‘Enchancing supraspinal plasticity to improve functional recovery after SCI’ The goal of this project is to understand the relationship between supraspinal plasticity and recovery of function after severe spinal cord injury. This project will study the anatomical, physiological and molecular changes in rats after SCI and therapy that are necessary to optimize recovery.

February 2015: Professor Moxon is elected a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineers

Recent Publications

  1. Neural ensemble dynamics in trunk and hindlimb sensorimotor cortex encode for the control of postural stability. Disse GD, Nandakumar B, Pauzin FP, Blumenthal, GH, Kong Z, Ditterich J, and Moxon KA (2023). Cell Rep. 42. 10.1016/j.celrep.2023.112347.
    PMID: 37027302 Free PMC article.
  2. Exercise therapy guides cortical reorganization after midthoracic spinal contusion to enhance control of lower thoracic muscles, supporting functional recovery. Nandakumar B, Blumenthal GH, Disse GD, Desmond PC, Ebinu JO, Ricard J, Bethea JR, Moxon KA (2023). Exp Neurol. 114394. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2023.114394.
    PMID: 37001630 Free PMC article.
  3. Editorial: Getting Neuroprosthetics Out of the Lab: Improving the Human-Machine Interactions to Restore Sensory-Motor Functions Dingle AM, Moxon K, Shokur S, Strauss I. (2022). Front Robot AI. 9:928383. doi: 10.3389/frobt.2022.928383.
    PMID: 35694207 Free PMC article.
  4. Effect of spinal cord injury on neural encoding of spontaneous postural perturbations in the hindlimb sensorimotor cortex.
    Dougherty J, Disse G, Bridges N, Moxon KA.
    J Neurophysiol. 2021 Aug 11. doi: 10.1152/jn.00727.2020. Epub ahead of print.
    PMID: 34379540 Free PMC article.
  5. Hindlimb Somatosensory Information Influences Trunk Sensory and Motor Cortices to Support Trunk Stabilization.
    Nandakumar B, Blumenthal GH, Pauzin FP, Moxon KA.
    Cereb Cortex. 2021 Jun 24:bhab150. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhab150. Epub ahead of print.
    PMID: 34165153 Free PMC article.
  6. Head-mounted microendoscopic calcium imaging in dorsal premotor cortex of behaving rhesus macaque.
    Bollimunta A, Santacruz SR, Eaton RW, Xu PS, Morrison JH, Moxon KA, Carmena JM, Nassi JJ.
    Cell Rep. 2021 Jun 15;35(11):109239. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109239. PMID: 34133921;
    PMID: 34133921 Free PMC article.
    PMCID: PMC8236375.
  7. Modelling at-level allodynia after mid-thoracic contusion in the rat.
    Blumenthal, GH, Nandakumar, B, Schnider, AK, Detloff, MR, Ricard, J, Bethea, JR, Moxon, KA.
    Eur J Pain. doi: 10.1002/ejp.1711. Epub 2020 Dec 9;
    PMID: 33296535 Free PMC article.
  8. Mind Over Matter: Cognitive Neuroengineering.
    Moxon, KA, Saez, I, Ditterich, J.
    Cerebrum. 2019 Jun 1;2019:cer-06-19. eCollection 2019 May-Jun.
    PMID: 32206166 Free PMC article.
  9. Continuous infusion of an agonist of the tumor necrosis factor receptor 2 in the spinal cord improves recovery after traumatic contusive injury.
    Gerald MJ, Bracchi-Ricard V, Ricard J, Fischer R, Nandakumar B, Blumenthal GH, Williams R, Kontermann RE, Pfizenmaier K, Moxon KA, Bethea JR.
    CNS Neurosci Ther. 2019 Aug;25(8):884-893. doi: 10.1111/cns.13125. Epub 2019 Apr 2.
    PMID: 30941924 Free PMC article.
  10. From adagio to allegretto: The changing tempo of theta frequencies in epilepsy and its relation to interneuron function.
    Moxon KA, Shahlaie K, Girgis F, Saez I, Kennedy J, Gurkoff GG.
    Neurobiol Dis. 2019 Sep;129:169-181. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2019.02.009. Epub 2019 Feb 21.
    PMID: 30798003 Review.
  11. Interneurons and principal cell firing in human limbic areas at focal seizure onset.
    Weiss SA, Staba R, Bragin A, Moxon K, Sperling M, Avoli M, Engel J Jr.
    Neurobiol Dis. 2019 Apr;124:183-188. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2018.11.014. Epub 2018 Nov 22.
    PMID: 30471414 Free PMC article. Review. No abstract available.
  12. Low-voltage fast seizures in humans begin with increased interneuron firing.
    Elahian B, Lado NE, Mankin E, Vangala S, Misra A, Moxon K, Fried I, Sharan A, Yeasin M, Staba R, Bragin A, Avoli M, Sperling MR, Engel J Jr, Weiss SA.
    Ann Neurol. 2018 Oct;84(4):588-600. doi: 10.1002/ana.25325. Epub 2018 Oct 4. PubMed
    PMID: 30179277 Free PMC article.
  13. Enhanced co-registration methods to improve intracranial electrode contact localization.
    Hinds WA, Misra A, Sperling MR, Sharan A, Tracy JI, Moxon KA.
    Neuroimage Clin. 2018 Aug 1;20:398-406. doi: 10.1016/j.nicl.2018.07.026. eCollection 2018.
    PMID: 30128278 Free PMC article.
  14. A rodent brain-machine interface paradigm to study the impact of paraplegia on BMI performance.
    Bridges NR, Meyers M, Garcia J, Shewokis PA, Moxon KA.
    J Neurosci Methods. 2018 May 31. pii: S0165-0270(18)30145-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2018.05.015.
    PMID: 29859878
  15. Serotonin receptor and dendritic plasticity in the spinal cord mediated by chronic serotonergic pharmacotherapy combined with exercise following complete SCI in the adult rat.
    Ganzer PD, Beringer CR, Shumsky JS, Nwaobasi C, Moxon KA.
    Exp Neurol. 2018 Jun;304:132-142. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2018.03.006. Epub 2018 Mar. 9
    PubMed PMID:
    29526741 Free PMC article.
  16. Increased neuronal synchrony prepares mesial temporal networks for seizures of neocortical origin.
    Misra A, Long X, Sperling MR, Sharan AD, Moxon KA.
    2018 Mar;59(3):636-649. doi: 10.1111/epi.14007. Epub 2018 Feb 14.
    PubMed PMID:
  17. Restoration of Hindlimb Movements after Complete Spinal Cord Injury Using Brain-Controlled Functional Electrical Stimulation.
    Knudsen EB, Moxon KA.
    Front Neurosci. 2017 Dec 19;11:715. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2017.00715. eCollection 2017.
  18. Adaptation of Thalamic Neurons Provides Information about the Spatiotemporal Context of Stimulus History.
    Liu C, Foffani G, Scaglione A, Aguilar J, Moxon KA.J
    2017 Oct 11;37(41):10012-10021. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0637-17.2017. Epub 2017 Sep 12.
  19. Cortex-dependent recovery of unassisted hindlimb locomotion after complete spinal cord injury in adult rats.
    Manohar A, Foffani G, Ganzer PD, Bethea JR, Moxon KA.
    2017 Jun 29;6. pii: e23532. doi: 10.7554/eLife.23532.
  20. Role of CA3 theta-modulated interneurons during the transition to spontaneous seizures.
    Karunakaran S, Grasse DW, Moxon KA.
    Exp Neurol. 2016 Sep;283(Pt A):341-52. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2016.06.027. Epub 2016 Jun 25.
  21. Therapy induces widespread reorganization of motor cortex after complete spinal transection that supports motor recovery.
    Ganzer PD, Manohar A, Shumsky JS, Moxon KA.
    Exp Neurol. 2016 May;279:1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2016.01.022. Epub 2016 Jan 28.
  22. Chronic silencing of corticothalamic layer 6 pyramidal cells affects cortical excitability and tactile behavior
    D Humanes-Valera, J Aguila, V Gondzik, K Moxon, MK Schwarz, …
    bioRxiv, 215558
  23. Interactive Effects Between Exercise and Serotonergic Pharmacotherapy on Cortical Reorganization After Spinal Cord Injury
    Foffani G, Shumsky J, Knudsen EB, Ganzer PD, Moxon KA.
    Neurorehabilitation and neural repair. 2015;
  24. Brain-Machine Interfaces Beyond Neuroprosthetics
    Moxon KA, Foffani G.
    2015; 86(1):55-67.
  25. Cortical reorganization after spinal cord injury: Always for good?
    Moxon KA, Oliviero A, Aguilar J, Foffani G.
    2014; 283:78-94.
  26. Dissociating movement from movement timing in the rat primary motor cortex
    Knudsen EB, Powers ME, Moxon KA.
    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2014; 34(47):15576-86.

    • Spike count, spike timing and temporal information in the cortex of awake, freely moving rats
      Scaglione A, Foffani G, Moxon KA.
      Journal of neural engineering. 2014; 11(4):046022.
    • Methods for implantation of micro-wire bundles and optimization of single/multi-unit recordings from human mesial temporal lobe
      Misra A, Burke JF, Ramayya AG, Jacobs J, Sperling MR, et al.
      Journal of neural engineering. 2014; 11(2):026013.
    • Neuronal synchrony and the transition to spontaneous seizures
      Grasse DW, Karunakaran S, Moxon KA.
      Experimental neurology. 2013; 248:72-84.
    • Serotonergic pharmacotherapy promotes cortical reorganization after spinal cord injury
      Ganzer PD, Moxon KA, Knudsen EB, Shumsky JS.
      Experimental neurology. 2013; 241:84-94.

Lab News

3/29/2023 – Dr. Moxon is a guest speaker at Penn State University Research Seminar “Cortical Computations for Postural Control: Developing a BMI for Paraplegia https://www.cne.psu.edu/resources/research-seminars.aspx

3/21/23 – Greg Disse gave an exit seminar presenting his thesis “Cortical computations during maintenance of postural stability: towards a postural neuroprosthetic”

3/18/23 [Video] – Dr. Moxon talks about brain health and machine
learning at UC Davis Center for Neuroscience NeuroFest Talk “The
Relationship Between Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and
Brain Health” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XR-dk9aeiEI

11/22 – Logan Peters and Greg Disse presented their posters at the
Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego. To celebrate
the return of in-person SFN, past and present members of the Moxon
Lab gathered for dinner.

8/1/2022 – Logan Peters and Ari Moghbel were both awarded one-
year NSF Research Traineeships through the Center for Neuroengineering and Medicine’s NeuralStrom training program: https://neuroengineering.ucdavis.edu/nsf-training-program-neuralstorm

6/2022 Moxon Lab graduate students participated in the UC Davis
Center for Neuroengineering and Medicine’s Inaugural Research
Symposium in June 2022. Karen Moxon and graduate student Greg
Disse are both featured in the article. https://engineering.ucdavis.edu/news/inaugural-research-symposium-neuroengineering

5/11/2022 [Video] – Dr. Moxon discusses the future of
neuroengineering at the UC Davis Research Expo – Enhancing Brain
Health and Neural Performance “UC Davis at the Forefront of
Neuroengineering” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icUwvbuvhtY

3/15/2019 [Guest Speaker] – Dr. Moxon joins the crew at the Dana
Foundation’s Cerebrum Podcast to talk about her recent publication
“Mind Over Matter: Cognitive Neuroengineering” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2GbCWjt89E

5/14/2022 [Guest Speaker] – Dr. Moxon sits down with the See It to
Be It Podcast: “Motivating Women to Pursue STEM: Featuring Dr. Karen
Moxon” https://seeittobeit.fireside.fm/karen-moxon

6/11/22 – Congratulations to our Moxon Lab Class of 2022 graduates: Daniel Chorn, Shannon Lamb, Xiangyu Liao, Joseph Morrison, and Victoria Pierce!

6/01/22- Logan Peters, while continuing his PhD studies, presented his talk “Decodable Multi-Areal Oscillations Underlie Human Decisions” at the Symposium in Neuroengineering & Medicine

5/02/22 – Shannon Lamb has been awarded a fellowship from the National Science Foundation to research machine learning algorithms and their deficiencies in properly diagnosing common psychiatric disorders — depression, bipolar, and schizophrenia

11/01/21 – Joseph Morrison wins Pamela J. Fair Undergrad Scholarship for Leadership in Engineering

8/26/21 – Former Junior Specialist, Zexi Zang, starts Master of Science program in Biomedical Engineering at Brown University

6/04/21 – Bharadwaj Nandakumar will defend his thesis “Role of trunk sensorimotor cortex in supporting rehabilitation assisted recovery of function after spinal contusion injury” July 6th 9am PST

5/28/21 – Shannon Lamb receives the TBP Engineering Honor Society Scholarship Award.

1/18/21 – Former Undergraduate Research Assistant, Vanessa Gutierrez, accepts a Research Associate position at Dr. Bouchard’s Neural Systems and Data Science Lab at UC Berkeley.

9/1/20 – New preprint available!
Trunk sensory and motor cortex is preferentially integrated with hindlimb sensory information that supports trunk stabilization
Bharadwaj Nandakumar, Gary H. Blumenthal, Francois Philippe Pauzin, Karen A. Moxon
doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.08.31.272583

8/11/20 – New preprint available!
At-level allodynia after mid-thoracic contusion in the rat
G. H. Blumenthal, B. Nandakumar, A. K. Schnider, M. R. Detloff, J. Ricard, J. R. Bethea, K. A. Moxon
doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.08.10.240499

5/14/20 – Karen Moxon discusses motivating women to pursue STEM in Episode 86 of the See it to Be It podcast. Listen now at: https://share.fireside.fm/episode/PiCh6q68+ttbuXP8-

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