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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

Noninvasive Neuromodulation Unit (NNU) Noninvasive Neuromodulation Unit (NNU)

Noninvasive Neuromodulation Unit (NNU)

Outpatient Lab Website

About the Noninvasive Neuromodulation Unit (NNU)

Major psychiatric disorders such as major depression remain a leading source of disability and economic burden world-wide. Psychotherapies and psychopharmacology are often helpful, but unfortunately many patients do not respond to available therapies. New developments in engineering and technology have opened the door to a new set of interventions with which to study and treat brain-based disorders that are not effectively managed with available treatments. Collectively, these neuromodulation tools apply energy to the brain, using electrical or magnetic fields, with the goal of studying brain function and of treating depression and other disabling conditions.

We develop novel stimulation paradigms and biomarker batteries to investigate brain-behavior relationships and to inform novel intervention development. Our team, spanning the fields of psychiatry, engineering, neuroscience and psychology, has expertise in electric field modeling, device and coil design for transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), cognitive neuroscience trials employing image-guided neuromodulation, and the translational development of novel treatments in preclinical models, healthy volunteers, and clinical populations. As a service within the Center for Multimodal Neuroimaging directed by Dr. Bandettini, the Non-Invasive Neuromodulation service includes TMS, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS), electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), magnetic seizure therapy (MST), TMS-compatible EEG (electroencephalography), and TMS/fMRI interleaving facilities. We supply state of the art TMS, tDCS, tACS, EEG, EMG (electromyography), frameless stereotaxy (neuronavigation), perturbation/physiology equipment and associated data processing pipelines to support NIH IRP investigators.

Our Mission

Depiction of a brain and a TMS coil

To advance precision neuromodulation by optimizing the key elements of dosing, which include spatial targeting, temporal tuning, and state dependency.

Our Approach

We conduct research studies that apply the concept of precision neuromodulation to optimize the utility of brain stimulation in the study and treatment of brain-based disorders. We innovate new technologies, incubate them in first-in-human proof of concept trials, and disseminate novel technologies.

Our Specific Aims

1) Characterize dose–response functions & optimize neuromodulation dosing

2) Evaluate mechanisms and biomarkers of response in treatment resistant depression (TRD)

3) Extend precision neuromodulation to other clinical populations where clinical heterogeneity calls for a highly personalized approach, such as depression related to concussion and autism spectrum disorders (ASD)