Targeted Noninvasive Treatments of the Nervous System
Mental and neurological disorders are the world's leading cause of disability. Systemic treatments with drugs are often ineffective and can have significant side effects such as being highly addictive. Our lab develops minimally invasive methods to diagnose and treat brain disorders in a targeted manner, at their neural source.

Ongoing work

Remote control of neuronal activity

The ability to control cellular excitability remotely has many implications for basic science and clinical treatments. One form of energy, sonic waves of high frequency (ultrasound), is particularly well suited for this purpose as it can be focused into confined targets deep in biological tissues. We investigate the biophysical interactions of ultrasound with tissues. We assess the efficacy and safety of the interactions in animal and human models.

Remotely-controlled drug release at a specific target

The ability to deliver a drug selectively at a specific location within the body would revolutionize medicine. Building on the pioneering approach of Natalya Rapoport (University of Utah), we use ultrasound to release drugs from specifically designed nanoparticle carriers. We optimize the efficacy and safety of the approach in large animals.

This work will enable us to move beyond prescribing systemic drugs by specifically modulating the aberrant neural circuit in a given individual. At the basic science level, the ability to modulate (and in particular, suppress) neural circuits noninvasively and thereby systematically will lead to new, causal studies of how individual brain circuits are involved in specific behaviors in humans.