About the Lab
The Translational Neuromodulation Lab explores the neurobiological, behavioral and electrophysiological correlates of human emotional behavior and psychopathology, particularly related to the effects of brain stimulation on affective neural circuit function. Our work primarily occurs on a unique research platform in the epilepsy surgery domain, embracing the recent advances in the field toward stereotactic electroencephalography (sEEG) with extensive coverage of deep structures and white matter fibers, as opposed to traditional approaches which focused more on the cortical surface.
This setting facilitates in-vivo studies of the electrophysiological and neural correlates to affective function in awake and behaving human subjects in a manner not previously possible. This setting, when leveraged in tandem with our expertise in surgical neuroimaging techniques, allows both mechanistic and causal experiments to be implemented in human research participants. Our work in establishing this platform has recently been awarded a K01 Mentored Career-Development award from the National Institutes of Mental Health, as well as an R21 Exploratory and Developmental award from the National Institutes of Neurological Disease and Stroke.
In addition, our work was selected as the cover article for the March 2019 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, where we demonstrated that stimulation to the cingulum bundle evokes changes in anxiolysis, mirth, and euphoria, as well as corresponding changes in affective bias, facial motor activity, and autonomic tone. Our work garnered national and international press coverage and was featured in the NIH Director’s Blog.
Stimulation Elicits Immediate Happy Response
This video demonstrates the behavioral results from stimulation to the anterior cingulum bundle in a patient with depth electrodes in the structure for clinical purposes in the treatment of epilepsy.
The Bijanki Lab enjoys strong collaborations with thought-leaders in the areas of psychiatric neuromodulation, biophysics, biomedical engineering and neuroscience. In particular, our close collaboration with Dr. Sameer Sheth allows us to make rapid progress in dissecting the neural circuits underlying affective function across two populations of patients undergoing intracranial monitoring: patients with refractory epilepsy and those with severe treatment-resistant depression. Key external collaborations with Dr. Nader Pouratian (UCLA), Dr. Brett Foster (U. Penn), Dr. Cameron McIntyre (Duke), Dr. Nanthia Suthana (UCLA), Dr. David Borton (Brown), Dr. Jeffrey Cohn (U. Pittsburgh), Dr. Helen Mayberg (Mt. Sinai), Dr. Michael Beauchamp (U. Penn), Dr. Jon Willie (Washington Univ. St. Louis), and many others are central to our efforts in an era of team science and multidisciplinary investigation.”
The Bijanki Lab is fortunate to receive funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIMH - K01MH116364, NINDS - R21NS104953, NINDS – UH3NS103549), ARCO Foundation, Caroline Wiess Law Fund. We are grateful to have received support from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (YIG001513), NIH/NCATS (KL2TR000455), and NARSAD.