Our laboratory's major focus is on the development of novel methods to treat brain injury, particularly the type that leads to epilepsy. We work to identify biological targets which can stop or prevent seizures if manipulated by either brain stimulation or by novel drugs that we are testing in our lab.
We have adapted methods for transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to rodents, and to in-vitro rodent and human brain slice preparations. TMS and tDCS have in common the capacity to safely induce durable changes in neuronal activity. Limited experience with human patients, including those treated at Boston Children’s Hospital, shows that TMS and tDCS have realistic prospects in suppressing seizures. Yet whether these techniques can prevent the onset of epilepsy after various forms of brain injury has not been tested. To characterize the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which TMS and tDCS exert their effect, and ultimately to optimize their clinical efficacy, we are testing these techniques in rodent epilepsy models, including models of traumatic brain injury (TBI). To determine how best to match the cellular and molecular changes induced by noninvasive brain stimulation to those of brain injury and epilepsy, we are also studying the pathological changes associated with TBI in rats. A second major focus has grown out of this work: testing novel pharmaceutical approaches to prevent brain injury and seizures after TBI, where protocols for noninvasive brain stimulation provide opportunities to identify biomarkers that facilitate drug development. In parallel to our laboratory experiments, we have numerous ongoing clinical projects aimed at further developing techniques for noninvasive brain stimulation, particularly TMS and tDCS, as diagnostic and therapeutic tools in child neurology.
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Boston, MA 02215 02215