Deborah Won

D.S. Won headshot
College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology
Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering
Office Location ETA306


I have been teaching at Cal State LA since January 2009. It's been a pleasure to meet many enthusiastic learners here, and work with very supportive faculty-colleagues and staff.  


My specialization is in biomedical engineering, and I love helping students to explore and get involved with the BME field. There is unlimited opportunity to improve healthcare and quality of life for people with such a wide range of health needs.  To help prepare students for careers developing medical technology, we offer courses on Sensors, Instrumentation, and Data Acquisition; Biomedical Devices; Biomedical Signal Processing; and Neural Networks and Computation.  Students majoring in EE can complete an Upper Division Specialization in Biomedical Engineering.  Together with other colleagues in the ECST College, we also have developed an Introduction to Biomedical Engineering course and a Biomedical Engineering Minor Degree program.  I also enjoy teaching a variety of courses ranging from electronics to signal processing, and working with students on senior design projects as well as indepedent study projects and an engineering service learning program called BOOST.

To find out more about BOOST, please browse the BOOST website.

I am the faculty advisor for the Biomedical Engineering Society student organization. To join, please e-mail [email protected].


Broadly speaking, my main research interests are in acquiring, interpreting, and modulating electrical signals in the body. For example, some of my research has dealt with a medical technology called deep brain stimulation, by which electrical current pulses are delivered to a deep structure in the brain called the subthalamic nucleus. This therapy is used in patients with movement disorders, such as Parkinson's disease. The question is why does it stop patients from experiencing symptoms like tremor, and how can we control it better?

My research laboratory is called Neural Engineering Technology Laboratory (NETlab). Years ago, our work focused on developing a new therapy centered around electrical stimulation of muscle nerves. This therapy is targeted to help spinal cord injury patients regain the abiilty to walk on their own. We conducted experiments in a rodent model of spinal cord injury in collaboration with Dr. Ray De Leon. We have a NeuroEngineering Journal Club.

My lab more recently has worked on developing mobile health technology to enable and encourage regular exercise for individuals with lower mobility impairment and who use wheelchairs. We developed an "exergaming" mobile fitness app which monitors physical activity levels, allows people in wheelchairs to carry out exercises in the form of entertaining games, and engages them in a virtual community of mobile fitness app users.

I am currently investigating neural signatures of spreading depression as a way of predicting stroke progression and ultimately developing an intervention to limit or prevent long-term damage. I am similarly seeking electrophysiological "biomarkers" of Parkinson's disease to develop closed-loop deep brain stimulation control algorithms.


  1. Enciso J, Variya D, Sunthonlap J, Sarmiento T, Lee K, Velasco J, Pebdani RN, de Leon RD, Dy C, Keslacy S, Won DS.  EMG-driven exergaming in wheelchairs on a mobile platform: Bench and pilot testing of the WOW-Mobile fitness system. JMIR Rehabil Assist Technol MIR Rehabil Assist Technol 8(1):e16054, 2021. doi:10.2196/16054
  2. Won, D., Ragusa, G., Menezes, G., Sharif, A., Shahverdi, M. Li, N., and Pacheco-Vega, A.  "BOOSTing preparedness through engineering project-based service learning."  Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education, Pacific Southwest Region Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, CA.  April 2019.
  3. Pal, A., Monsalvo, K., Sunthonlap, J., Arguelles, P., Adame, A., Tu, J., Tjara, E., Velasco, J., Tu, J., Sarmiento, T., Pebdani, R., Dy, C., Keslacy, S., de Leon, R., and Won, D. “Wheelchair Exercise Monitor Development Platform: An Application for Wireless EMG Sensors”, Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Sensor Networks, SCITEPRESS, 2018.
  4. Hill, L., Won, D. et al.  “Changing of the Guard: Tips for enabling smooth officer transitions”, accepted, Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT.  June 2018.
  5. Hinahon E, C Estrada, L Tong, DS Won, RD de Leon.  “Robot applied resistance enhances the effectiveness of body weight supported treadmill training following spinal cord injury in rodents”.   Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, 31(8) 746–757, 2017. 
  6. de Leon, Ray D., Dy, Christine J, Keslacy, Stefan, Pebdani, Roxanna, Won, Deborah S.  “The need for multi-modality in a wireless system for monitoring exercise in individuals with spinal cord injury”, SWACSM 2017
  7. Kornblum S, Z Avery, G Menezes, DS Won.  Enhancing Engineering First-Year Experience (FYrE) through Supplemental Instruction.  Proceedings of the First-Year Engineering Education Conference, Daytona Beach, FL. August 2017.
  8. Won DS, G Menezes, A Sharif, G Ragusa, and A Pacheco-Vega. “Boosting engineering identity of rising sophomore engineering majors through service learning based bridge program”.  Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education Annual Meeting, Columbus, OH.  June 2017.
  9. Menezes G, DS Won, M Tufenkjian, E Allen, and E Schiorring.  An Integrated First-Year Experience at ECST (FYrE@ECST). Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education Annual Meeting, Columbus, OH.  June 2017.
  10. Sanchez P, L Tong, TK Chao, and DS Won.  “Effect of electrical stimulation of the ankle extensor during stance phase on angular position.”  Proceedings of Neuromodulation: The Science Conference, San Francisco, CA. June 26-29, 2016.
  11. Gadhia H, C Sun, DS Won, and E Allen. “Golden Eagle Flight Plan Online: A Web-Based Advisement Tool to Facilitate Developmental Advising”.  Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA, 2016.
  12. Won D, G Ragusa, A Sharif, G Menezes, and A Pacheco-Vega. “Work-in-Progress – Impact of highlighting ethical considerations in the engineering design process through a service-learning based freshman-to-sophomore bridge”.   First-Year Experience in Engineering Conference, Columbus, OH. Aug. 2016.
  13. Gadhia H, C Sun, DS Won, and E Allen. “A personalized advisement mobile app suitable for group advisement”.  FFirst-Year Experience in Engineering Conference, Columbus, OH. Aug. 2016.
  14. Sharif A, GB Menezes, L Schlemer, and DS Won. “Discovering the Magic of Mathematics: Mathemagics”. Proceedings of New Perspectives in Science Education, Florence, Italy. March 2016.
  15. Rodriguez-Nikl, T., D.S. Won, G.B. Menezes, A. Pacheco-Vega, and A. Sharif.  Integrated project for sophomore-level engineering course contextualization. American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference, Seattle, WA, 2015.
  16. Won DS, E Allen, C Sun, and H Gadhia. “My Golden Eagle Flight Plan: A Developmental Advisement Tool”. First-Year Experience in Engineering Conference, Roanoke, VA. Aug. 2015.
  17. Menezes, G.B., A. Sharif, A. Pacheco-Vega, D.S. Won, T. Rodriguez-Nikl, G. Ragusa, C.S. Khachikian. Sophomore Unified Core Curriculum for Engineering Education (SUCCEEd) at Cal State LA. American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference, Seattle, WA, 2015.
  18. Askari S, de Leon RD, Chao T, and Won DS. “The effect of timing electrical stimulation to robotically assisted stepping on neuromuscular activity and associated kinematics.”  Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development 50(6):875-892, 2013.




Ph.D. Biomedical Engineering, 2007

  • Duke University
    Durham, NC

B.S. Electrical Engineering, Minor in Biomedical Engineering, 2000

  • MIT
    Cambridge, MA