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Integrated Neurostimulation Platform for Neuropsychiatric Research

Principal Investigator:
  • Fidel Vila-Rodriguez, University of British Columbia
Team Members:
  • Lara Boyd, University of British Columbia
  • Ray Lam, University of British Columbia
  • William Honer, University of British Columbia
  • Ivan Torres, University of British Columbia
  • Mario Liotti, Simon Fraser University
  • Alex MacKay, University of British Columbia
  • Jon Stoessl, University of British Columbia
  • Doris Doudet, Univeristy of British Columbia
  • UBC Institute of Mental Health

Project Overview

The Integrated Neurostimulation Platform for Neuropsychiatric Research offers the capacity to perform interleaved TMS/fMRI, a complex and demanding technique used to study brain function in neuropsychiatric disorders. The academic home for the platform is the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, a new multidisciplinary research and training facility at UBC, dedicated to translational research. Interleaved TMS/fMRI involves the simultaneous delivery of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) while fMRI scanning is in progress. This novel technique allows in vivo observation of the effects of TMS in real time by means of fMRI. TMS/fMRI is technically challenging because it involves triggering the TMS magnetic pulses within the already strong MR scanner magnetic field; hence special TMS equipment safe to operate within an MR environment is required, and very fine synchronization between the TMS pulses and the fMRI is essential in order to obtain non-artifact images of the brain. The proposed neurostimulation platform is unique and holds the potential of making cutting-edge contributions to clinical and basic neurosciences. Not only will it be the first centre in Canada with the capacity to conduct TMS/fMRI studies, it will be the first in the world to bring together a multidisciplinary group of outstanding researchers and clinician scientists who share an interest in the use of non-invasive neurostimulation techniques. There is an additional distinctive element of this platform: our vision is not only to excel at translational research projects conducted locally, but to engage partners and collaborators within British Columbia, across Canada and internationally.