Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)
Research and teaching
My research interests are focused on using our neuroimaging platform to identify mechanisms that underlie neurodevelopmental and mental disorders. By doing so, we can improve health outcomes of children and adolescents in three ways: (1) by identifying the mechanisms that underlie the development of these disorders; (2) by using that new knowledge to better diagnosis neurodevelopmental and mental disorders; and (3) by developing novel treatment targets and identifying predictors of response.
Our main intervention is neurostimulation. Neurostimulation methods offer the capability to modulate brain activity that in turn modulates brain function. These include transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS). Given the paucity of information on neurodevelopmental and mental disorders in children and adolescents, there is an urgent need to uncover the origins of these disorders and develop effective and optimally targeted interventions. Current studies include:
(1) The effect of neurostimulation (high frequency repetitive TMS) on treatment resistant depression in adolescents and young adults.(2) The effect of neurostimulation (TDCS) on treatment resistant depression in youth.(3) The effect of neurostimulation (low frequency repetitive TMS) on Tourette syndrome in children.
We use a number of neuroimaging techniques to answer these questions. These include, but are not limited to: (1) volumetric magnetic resonance imaging (manual tracing, voxel based morphometry, and cortical thickness), (2) diffusion tensor imaging, (3) magnetic resonance spectroscopy (proton mainly, and phosphorous if possible) and (4) functional magnetic resonance imaging (resting and task based).
The main goal is to have my outcome-focused research have a positive and useful impact upon clinical practice in ways that will better the lives of children affected by neurodevelopmental disorders and mental illness.