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We have a highly collaborative team of researchers across several departments that use noninvasive brain stimulation techniques to better understand how the brain works or to advance the clinical use of these techniques. 

Click here to learn more about neuromodulation at the Iowa Neuroscience Institute. 


Dr. Aaron Boes’ lab is studying the combined use of neuroimaging with noninvasive brain stimulation to explore how imaging can be used to improve and individualize TMS treatment. Current projects include evaluating changes in thickness of the cerebral cortex that occur over a 6 week repetitive TMS treatment course for depression.  Preliminary results show increased cortical thickness of the left prefrontal cortex that correlates with how effective the treatment course was – improved depression was associated with cortical thickening.  Another project evaluates whether lesion location influences responses to therapeutic TMS intended to augment motor rehabilitation following stroke.  This project is in collaboration with researchers at Cornell and Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Krystal Parker has a project examining the cerebellar contribution to cognitive function and the interactions between the frontal cortex and cerebellum that may be essential for cognition. Their approach involves identifying neural mechanisms essential for normal cognition in healthy subjects using neuroimaging techniques such as Electroencephalography (EEG) and functional and connectivity based Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Identification of brain mechanisms essential for normal cognitive function can guide non-invasive transcranial brain stimulation techniques in patients with neuropsychiatric diseases involving impairments in working memory, attention, and planning such as Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, autism, addiction, and mood disorders.

By probing the cerebellum’s highly unexplored role in cognitive function and abundant connections to diverse neural systems, they test the overarching hypothesis is that cerebellar stimulation can modulate brain circuits underlying cognitive function, potentially rescuing neural activity and cognition in patients with currently untreatable cognitive impairments. These data could lead to the identification of an EEG biomarker of treatment response, facilitating the development of mainstream cerebellar-targeted treatment options for patients with cognitive dysfunction.

Dr. Stacey DeJong is studying motor cortex reorganization after stroke.

Dr. Jan Wessel has a project investigating the motor inhibition system, or how the brain puts the brakes on movement.