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Lennart Verhagen

PhD


Postdoctoral Research Associate

Neuromodulation and neural circuits in the primate brain

I'm working to develop the next generation of non-invasive brain stimulation tools, combined with state-of-the-art neuroimaging, in both monkey and man.

Recently, I've become particularly interested in the power of focussed ultrasound to modulate neuronal activity. Ultrasound is already well known to make visible what is hidden, for example, when giving parents a glimpse of their child before birth. We are now putting these high-frequency sound waves – beyond the range of human hearing – to use for a wholly different purpose: to manipulate the activity of the brain.

Beams of ultrasound can be safely focused at a millimetre scale, even deep within the brain, and modulate neural activity. Ultrasound has the potential to provide new insights into how the brain works and help us develop new treatments for neurological and psychiatric disorders.

Breaking new ground in such a way requires an integrative, cross-species approach, studying both monkeys and humans. It requires a systems level combination of neuromodulation and neuroimaging techniques.