Jeff Moehlis

Mechanical Engineering


The brain is an amazing organ - and dynamical system - which is responsible for a number of important functions including cognition, attention, emotion, perception, memory, and motor control.  Some brain disorders are hypothesized to have a dynamical origin; in particular, it has been been hypothesized that some symptoms of Parkinson's disease are due to pathologically synchronized neural activity in the motor control region of the brain.  We have been developing procedures for determining an optimal electrical deep brain stimulus which desynchronizes the activity of a group of neurons by maximizing the Lyapunov exponent associated with their phase dynamics, work that could lead to an improved "brain control" method for treating Parkinson's disease.  We are also interested in applying similar approaches to develop novel treatments for epilepsy.  Other research interests include the applications of dynamical systems and control techniques to other neuroscience systems, cardiac dynamics, energy harvesting, and collective behavior.