Precision Neuromodulation & Therapy

A range of non-invasive transcranial brain stimulation (NTBS) techniques are available to evoke brain activity or to modulate the brain´s ongoing activity.

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The ability of NTBS to shape brain function has enormous scientific and therapeutic potential. However, the underlying mechanisms of NTBS are still poorly understood. The Precision Neuromodulation and Therapy Group has two main goals: (i) to advance NTBS as interventional tool to modify brain activity, and (ii) to use NTBS to uncover and optimize causal interactions in functional brain networks.  

The Precision Neuromodulation and Therapy group studies the effects of NTBS in the human sensorimotor system, both the local effects of NTBS on the stimulated brain region and remote effects in interconnected brain regions. The group has published several landmark papers showing that NTBS can trigger a homeostatic plasticity-like effect in the human motor cortex, and can produce lasting effects on sensorimotor processing and action selection by changing effective connectivity in sensorimotor networks.

  • To better understand how NTBS acts on the brain, we capture the neurophysiological effects of NTBS using electrophysiological (MEP, EEG) and advanced brain mapping techniques (MRI, MRS) and relate these changes to NTBS effects at the behavioral level. We use computational modelling at the behavioral and neurophysiological level to test our research hypotheses about how NTBS changes the functional integration in the targeted brain networks.
  • To enhance the efficacy and reliability of NTBS, we develop new, biologically informed stimulation protocols.  Here we draw inspiration from the natural activity patterns (motifs) which are generated by the brain itself. 
  • To closely interact with the brain´s ongoing activity, we monitor the ongoing expression of functional brain states with neurophysiological methods. We use this information to inform the timing and pattern of NTBS in open-loop and closed-loop NTBS set-ups. 

The Precision Neuromodulation and Therapy group is headed by Prof. Hartwig Siebner and is a main contributor to the ongoing BASICS project funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. We have tight interactions with the “Neurophysics” research group, the “Control of Action (ContAct)” research group, and the “Computational Modelling and Analysis” group.

Key projects

  1. Linear shape-based mapping of the primary motor hand area (M1-HAND) to study representational plasticity of intrinsic hand muscles in human M1-HAND 
  2. Targeting the phase of intrinsic brain oscillations with EEG-guided TMS
  3. Optimizing patterned NTBS of the human motor cortex

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Selected Publications

Suppa, A., Quartarone, A., Siebner, H., Chen, R., Di Lazzaro, V., Del Giudice, P., Paulus, W., Rothwell, J. C., Ziemann, U. & Classen, J. The associative brain at work: Evidence from paired associative stimulation studies in humans. Clinical neurophysiology. 128, 11, p. 2140-2164, 2017.

Antal, A., Alekseichuk, I., Bikson, M., Brockmöller, J., Brunoni, A. R., Chen, R., Cohen, L. G., Dowthwaite, G., Ellrich, J., Flöel, A., Fregni, F., George, M. S., Hamilton, R., Haueisen, J., Herrmann, C. S., Hummel, F. C., Lefaucheur, J-P., Liebetanz, D., Loo, C. K., McCaig, C. D., Miniussi, C., Miranda, P. C., Moliadze, V., Nitsche, M. A., Nowak, R., Padberg, F., Pascual-Leone, A., Poppendieck, W., Priori, A., Rossi, S., Rossini, P. M., Rothwell, J. C., Rueger, M. A., Ruffini, G., Schellhorn, K., Siebner, H. R., Ugawa, Y., Wexler, A., Ziemann, U., Hallett, M. & Paulus, W. Low intensity transcranial electric stimulation: Safety, ethical, legal regulatory and application guidelines. Clinical neurophysiology. 128, 9, p. 1774-1809, 2017.

Bergmann TO, Karabanov A, Hartwigsen G, Thielscher A, Siebner HR. Combining non-invasive transcranial brain stimulation with neuroimaging and electrophysiology: Current approaches and future perspectives.  Neuroimage. 2016,140:4-19.

Raffin E*, Pellegrino G*, Di Lazzaro V, Thielscher A, Siebner HR (2015) Bringing transcranial mapping into shape: Sulcus-aligned mapping captures motor somatotopy in human primary motor hand area. NeuroImage 120:164–175. * Shared first authors.

Hartwigsen G, Bergmann TO, Herz DM, Angstmann S, Karabanov A, Raffin E, Thielscher A, Siebner HR. Modeling the effects of noninvasive transcranial brain stimulation at the biophysical, network, and cognitive level. Prog Brain Res. 2015;222:261-87.

Herz DM, Christensen MS, Bruggemann N, Hulme OJ, Ridderinkhof KR, Madsen KH, Siebner HR (2014) Motivational tuning of fronto-subthalamic connectivity facilitates control of action impulses. J Neurosci 34:3210-3217. 

Hartwigsen G, Saur D, Price CJ, Baumgaertner A, Ulmer S, Siebner HR (2013) Perturbation of left posterior inferior frontal gyrus triggers adaptive plasticity in the right homologue during speech production. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 110:16402-16407. 

Hartwigsen G, Bestmann S, Ward NS, Woerbel S, Mastroeni C, Granert O, Siebner HR (2012) Left dorsal premotor cortex and supramarginal gyrus complement each other during rapid action reprogramming. J Neurosci 32:16162-16171.  

Bergmann TO, Mölle M, Schmidt M, Lindner C, Marshall L, Born J, Siebner HR (2012) EEG guided TMS reveals rapid shifts in motor cortical excitability during the human sleep slow oscillation. J Neurosci. 32:243-253. 

Group Members

Hartwig R. Siebner

Group Leader

Anke Ninija Karabanov

Janine Kesselheim

Sofie Johanna Nilsson

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