Abramson Research Center Room 816-H The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia 34th & Civic Center Blvd.
(215) 590-1472

Dr. Cohen's laboratory studies alterations in brain circuitry induced by concussive brain injury and is trying to determine how neuronal function is altered in Brain (cortical) neurons in a rat model of Cerebral Palsy (CP).

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.

Associate Professor of Neurology at University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (2010– present)
Research Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (2001 – 2010)
Assistant Professor of Neurology at University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (2004 – 2007)
Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (2009 – 2010)
Research Associate Professor of Pediatrics at University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (2010– present)
PhD, Biophysics, University of Maryland School of Medicine (1994)
MS, Zoology, University of Maryland College Park (1989)
BS, Microbiology, University of Maryland College Park (1985)
Selected Publications
Xiong Guoxiang, Zhang Lei, Mojsilovic-Petrovic Jelena, Arroyo Edguardo, Elkind Jaclynn, Kundu Suhali, Johnson Brian, Smith Colin J, Cohen Noam A, Grady Sean M, Cohen Akiva S. GABA and glutamate are not colocalized in mossy fiber terminals of developing rodent hippocampus.. Brain research. 2012 Jul.
Ma Zhongming, Siebert Adam P, Cheung King-Ho, Lee Robert J, Johnson Brian, Cohen Akiva S, Vingtdeux Valérie, Marambaud Philippe, Foskett J Kevin. Calcium homeostasis modulator 1 (CALHM1) is the pore-forming subunit of an ion channel that mediates extracellular Ca2+ regulation of neuronal excitability.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Vol 109(28) . 2012 Jul:E1963-71.
Li Changhong, Chen Pan, Palladino Andrew, Narayan Srinivas, Russell Laurie K, Sayed Samir, Xiong Guoxiang, Chen Jie, Stokes David, Butt Yasmeen M, Jones Patricia M, Collins Heather W, Cohen Noam A, Cohen Akiva S, Nissim Itzhak, Smith Thomas J, Strauss Arnold W, Matschinsky Franz M, Bennett Michael J, Stanley Charles A. Mechanism of hyperinsulinism in short-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency involves activation of glutamate dehydrogenase.. The Journal of biological chemistry. Vol 285(41) . 2010 Oct:31806-18.
Bevers Matthew B, Ingleton Lori P, Che Dongfang, Cole Jeffrey T, Li Luchuan, Da Tong, Kopil Catherine M, Cohen Akiva S, Neumar Robert W. RNAi targeting micro-calpain increases neuron survival and preserves hippocampal function after global brain ischemia.. Experimental neurology. Vol 224(1) . 2010 Jul:170-7.
Burd Irina, Bentz Amy I, Chai Jinghua, Gonzalez Juan, Monnerie Hubert, Le Roux Peter D, Cohen Akiva S, Yudkoff Marc, Elovitz Michal A. Inflammation-induced preterm birth alters neuronal morphology in the mouse fetal brain.. Journal of neuroscience research. Vol 88(9) . 2010 Jul:1872-81.
Cole Jeffrey T, Mitala Christina M, Kundu Suhali, Verma Ajay, Elkind Jaclynn A, Nissim Itzhak, Cohen Akiva S. Dietary branched chain amino acids ameliorate injury-induced cognitive impairment.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Vol 107(1) . 2010 Jan:366-71.
Royo N C, LeBold D, Magge S N, Chen I, Hauspurg A, Cohen A S, Watson D J. Neurotrophin-mediated neuroprotection of hippocampal neurons following traumatic brain injury is not associated with acute recovery of hippocampal function.. Neuroscience. Vol 148(2) . 2007 Aug:359-70.
Bonislawski David P, Schwarzbach Elizabeth P, Cohen Akiva S. Brain injury impairs dentate gyrus inhibitory efficacy.. Neurobiology of disease. Vol 25(1) . 2007 Jan:163-9.
Tran Lorriann D, Lifshitz Jonathan, Witgen Brent M, Schwarzbach Elizabeth, Cohen Akiva S, Grady M Sean. Response of the contralateral hippocampus to lateral fluid percussion brain injury.. Journal of neurotrauma. Vol 23(9) . 2006 Sep:1330-42.
Geddes-Klein Donna M, Serbest Gul, Mesfin Mahlet N, Cohen Akiva S, Meaney David F. Pharmacologically induced calcium oscillations protect neurons from increases in cytosolic calcium after trauma.. Journal of neurochemistry. Vol 97(2) . 2006 Apr:462-74.