Akiva S. Cohen, PhD

faculty photo
Research Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care
Department: Anesthesiology and Critical Care
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
The Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
34th Street and Civic Center Boulevard
Abramson Research Center, Room 816-H
Philadelphia, PA 19104-4399
Office: (215) 590-1472
Fax: (267) 426-5165
BS (Microbiology)
University of Maryland College Park, 1985.
MS (Zoology)
University of Maryland College Park, 1989.
PhD (Biophysics)
University of Maryland School of Medicine, 1994.
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Description of Research Expertise

Head Injury, Hippocampus, Cognitive Impairment

Injury-induced altered brain excitability, circuit rearrangement and synaptic function

Intracellular and extracellular recording, whole-cell patch-clamp recording, immunocytochemistry, biochemistry and calcium fluorescence. Visualized and blind in vitro recording techniques. Electrophysiologic recording in neuronal cultures as well as cell lines and conditioned fear response behavior.

Our principal research interest is focused on the fundamental cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie cognitive impairments associated with traumatic brain injury. We are primarily concerned with alterations in neuronal excitability in the limbic system of the brain. This system has been shown to play a primary role in higher cognitive function e.g. learning and memory and is damaged in traumatic brain injury. We incorporate a variety of techniques to understand the nature and functional consequences of injury-induced alterations.

Our studies begin with conditioned fear response behavior to assess cognitive impairments and extracellular recording to evaluate injured hippocampal function. Unbiased stereology is then used to quantify the degree of cell death. Excitatory and inhibitory synaptic recording is utilized to further determine the function of surviving neurons. Immunocytochemical and biochemical techniques are used to examine specific proteins that have been altered by injury and may be underlying synaptic and/or circuit dysfunction. The combination of these methodologies should help elucidate putative mechanisms causing injury-induced cognitive deficits. A better understanding of these injury-induced alterations will provide insight for directing the development of potential therapies that would ameliorate cognitive dysfunction in traumatic brain injured patients.

Selected Publications

Shanping Mao, Guoxiang Xiong, Brian Neal Johnson, Noam A Cohen and Akiva Cohen: "Blocking cross-species secondary binding when performing double immunostaining with mouse and rat primary antibodies" Frontiers in Neuroscience, section Neurodegeneration July 3 2020 Notes: Under review.

Folweiler, KA, Sandsmark, DK, Diaz-Arrastia, R, Cohen, AS, Masino, AJ: Unsupervised Machine Learning Reveals Novel Traumatic Brain Injury Patient Phenotypes with Distinct Acute Injury Profiles and Long-Term Outcomes. journal of neurotrauma 37(12): 1431-1444, JUN 15 2020.

Brian R White1, Jonah A Padawer-Curry2, Ti any Ko2, Wesley Baker2, Jake Breimann2, Akiva S Cohen3, Daniel J Licht2 and Arjun G Yodh4: Wavelength censoring for spectroscopy in optical functional neuroimaging. Physics in Medicine and Biology 2020 Notes: Submitted and Under review.

James P. Harris1,2‡, Constance J. Mietus1‡, Kevin D. Browne1,2, Carolyn E. Keating1,2, Daniel P. Brown1,2, Kathryn L. Wofford1,2, Brian N. Johnson3, John A. Wolf1,2, Douglas H. Smith1, Akiva S. Cohen3, John E. Duda2,4, and D. Kacy Cullen1,2,5: Neuronal Somatic Plasmalemmal Permeability and Dendritic Beading Following Diffuse Traumatic Brain Injury in Swine. Acta Neuropathologica 2020 Notes: Under Review.

Ahrens-Nicklas, RC, Tecedor, L, Hall, AF, Lysenko, E, Cohen, AS, Davidson, BL, Marsh, ED: Neuronal network dysfunction precedes storage and neurodegeneration in a lysosomal storage disorder. jci insight 4(21), NOV 1 2019.

White, BR, Padawer-Curry, JA, Cohen, AS, Licht, DJ, Yodh, AG: Brain segmentation, spatial censoring, and averaging techniques for optical functional connectivity imaging in mice. biomedical optics express 10(11): 5952-5973, NOV 1 2019.

Kaitlin A. Folweiler, Guoxiang Xiong, Hannah E. Metheny, Gabriel Nah, Akiva S. Cohen: Traumatic brain injury diminishes feedforward activation of parvalbumin-expressing interneurons in the dentate gyrus. Under review at eNeuro 2019.

Paterno Rosalia, Metheny Hannah, Cohen Akiva S: Memory deficit in an object location task after mild TBI is associated with impaired early object exploration and both are restored by branched chain amino acid dietary therapy. Journal of neurotrauma May 2018.

Elliott Jonathan E, De Luche Samuel E, Churchill Madeline J, Moore Cindy, Cohen Akiva S, Meshul Charles K, Lim Miranda M: Dietary therapy restores glutamatergic input to orexin/hypocretin neurons after traumatic brain injury in mice. Sleep 41(3), Mar 2018.

Folweiler Kaitlin, Samuel Sandy, Metheny Hannah, Cohen Akiva S: Diminished dentate gyrus filtering of cortical input leads to enhanced area CA3 excitability after mild traumatic brain injury. Journal of neurotrauma Jan 2018.

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Last updated: 07/25/2020
The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania