About

The Laboratory for Brain Network Imaging and Modulation was founded in 2014 at Harvard Medical School / Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.  In 2020, the Laboratory moved to Brigham and Women’s Hospital to help launch a new Center for Brain Circuit Therapeutics.

The goal of the lab is to develop new treatments for patients with brain disease by directly targeting brain networks responsible for neurological and psychiatric symptoms.  This goal is now possible thanks to MRI-based tools for imaging human brain networks such as resting state functional connectivity and diffusion tractography and tools for modulating human brain networks such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), transcranial current stimulation (tCS), deep brain stimulation (DBS), and focused ultrasound (FUS).   To achieve this goal, we focus on three steps:

1. Identify brain networks responsible for causing neurological and psychiatric symptoms.  One approach well-matched to this objective is lesion network mapping, which combines lesion locations that cause a symptom with a wiring diagram of the human brain termed the human connectome to map symptoms to brain networks.  Variations of this approach include coordinate network mapping and atrophy network mapping.

2. Identify brain networks capable of relieving neurological and psychiatric symptoms. A valuable tool developed for this purpose is brain stimulation network mapping, which combines brain stimulation sites that relive a symptom with human connectome data to identify networks mediating symptom improvement.  This approach has been used most for transcranial magnetic stimulation and deep brain stimulation.

3. Use brain network imaging to target neuromodulation therapies. Once the brain network(s) responsible for causing and relieving symptoms are identified, network imaging can help identify a therapeutic target that based on connectivity to the target network.  For example, retrospective data suggests that TMS is more effective for depression when administered to a cortical site connected to deep limbic regions.  Connectivity with these limbic regions can thus be used to identify a an “optimal” cortical target that might improve antidepressant response.

In addition to many labs that collaborate as part of the Center for Brain Circuit Therapeutics at BWH, we also collaborate with the Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and the Deep Brain Stimulation Program at BIDMC.

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