This FIRE stream will be engaged in the central goals of understanding, repairing, replacing, and enhancing the properties of neural systems in a set of large nuclei deep in the brain under the cerebral cortex, collectively called basal ganglia and conspicuously involved in movement, motivation, cognition, and emotion.

Brain stimulation (aka neuromodulation) has become an established treatment methodology for an increasing number of neurological and refractory neuropsychiatric diseases, especially those which are believed to implicate the basal ganglia and affiliated structures, including Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, depression, OCD, ADHD, PTSD, Tourette’s, addiction, schizophrenia, and even tinnitus. Most brain stimulation devices are currently designed as derivatives of cardiac pacemaker technology and severe knowledge gaps exist in how the various electric and magnetic neuromodulation modalities alter brain function to achieve therapeutic/clinical efficacy, a fact which impedes further progress.

However, it is generally accepted that the spatial and temporal characteristics of the generated electromagnetic field in the brain are determinants of the physiologic response. We are investigating a fundamentally different brain stimulation paradigm inspired by biologically realistic models of neural system dynamics to deliver stimulation signals that mimic the firing patterns of real neurons in an effort to communicate with the brain in its own language. Accordingly, our stimulation paradigm is termed “neuromorphic neuromodulation.” Our neuromorphic neuromodulation (NN) system is being designed to achieve optimal control over the electromagnetic stimulation field within the brain in order to excite, inhibit, or synchronize neurons of the deep brain structures. In this way, we can recalibrate neuronal activity in the pathways that connect the basal ganglia to the rest of the brain, thus overriding/interrupting abnormal electrophysiological signaling in the case of pathology, or augmenting normal electrophysiological signaling in the case of cognitive enhancement.

More Information

Check back for more information as we plan for this stream to launch in January, 2018!

Faculty Leader
Dr. Robert Newcomb

Research Educator
To Be Determined