Adam Cohen leads the Health Technologies program at the Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Lab (APL), a “Top 50 Most Innovative” organization per Fast Company. His teams employ expertise in sensors, robotics, imaging systems, machine learning, and data fusion to develop and apply transformative health technologies in the areas of functional restoration, human-machine teaming, and telemedicine.
Dr. Cohen works with government, military, academic, and industry partners to focus on high impact innovations. As a Johns Hopkins neurologist, Dr. Cohen serves as bridge between APL and the Johns Hopkins Medical Institution, including Johns Hopkins Neurology, to better marry clinical needs, ideas, and technical capabilities. With the Departments of Medicine and Surgery, but soon also with Neurology, he co-leads APL-JHMI networking events, which bring together clinicians and engineers.
In the APL Health Technologies program, the functional restoration focus area includes two portfolios with particular relevance in neurology.
The first focuses on motor restoration. This group of work uses technologies and teams with expertise in robotics, microsensors, haptics, artificial intelligence and brain-machine interfaces. One set of projects, currently sponsored by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Henry Jackson Foundation, centers on a bionic arm technology that integrates with bone and muscle in amputee patients, restoring a variety of normal functions to the patient like cooking, folding clothing, hand shaking, and hand gestures. This portfolio explores direct brain control of the bionic limb, through work led by Dr. Nathan Crone of Johns Hopkins Neurology and Dr. Pablo Celnik of Johns Hopkins Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
Another set of related work aims to restore "motor" function by better understanding and using brain signals through brain-machine interfaces. This work is currently funded by the National Science Foundation and industry partners. Also in the functional restoration focus area is the vision restoration portfolio. In a partnership with Second Sight and the Mann Fund, the work aims to enhance function of a bionic eye, which couples a retinal implant with a computer vision system to restore vision in blind individuals with retinitis pigmentosa.
Current work in the human-machine teaming focus area includes a portfolio that is building artificial intelligence systems that improve radiologic and ophthalmic diagnostics. Another portfolio, currently focused in the surgical setting, enhances the physician's ability to visualize and manipulate the physical world, such as with orthopaedic surgery.
Dr. Cohen sits on the Department of Medicine Innovation and Commercialization Steering Committee. He has served as a judge for the annual Hexcite competition, a digital health product and start-up program in the Johns Hopkins Technology Innovation Center. He also works with undergraduate and graduate students at the Johns Hopkins Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design (CBID) on health care-related technology products.
Before joining Johns Hopkins, Dr. Cohen was the MGH Neurology Inpatient Director and MGH TeleNeurology Director, where he performed clinical work in neuro-ophthalmology, inpatient neurology, and neuroradiology. As Inpatient Director, his focus was on clinical/educational and quality improvement/innovation initiatives for a large inpatient faculty and trainee group across six inpatient neurology services lines. While in Boston, he worked on various digital health initiatives for industry and within Partners Healthcare.