The BSTIM Core provides access to state-of-the-art brain stimulation methods both to measure brain activity and to apply as a potential therapy to modify brain circuitry. During Phase I, BSTIM coalesced several brain stimulation laboratories at MUSC that now operate as a shared core resource. Phase II will enhance BSTIM?s stature as a premier resource in brain stimulation methods for neuromodulation and stroke recovery research. MUSC is one of few places where investigators can use transcranial magnetic stimulation within the scanner (interleaved TMS/fMRI) to directly examine the causal nature of induced activity in cortical and subcortical nodes of brain networks. The Director, Mark George, MD, is a recognized expert in the field. The Associate Director, Colleen Hanlon, PhD, is a Phase I COBRE graduate with experience integrating neuroimaging and brain stimulation techniques with behavioral outcomes to address fundamental questions about the brain?s ability to recover function following injury. COBRE funds will support a Bioengineer (shared with the NI Core) to oversee the technical aspects of the labs, maintain all equipment and develop new analysis routines; a full-time Research Technician to assist with neurophysiological data collection and neuromodulation protocols; and dedicated effort for experienced senior personnel to provide mentoring and methods development in brain stimulation techniques and measurements for human and animal studies. BSTIM has four aims: 1) Brain Stimulation for Assessment. Tools and services for assessment include basic TMS-measured neurophysiology (motor threshold, cortical silent period, paired pulse, and recruitment curves); image-guided stimulation; specialized approaches such as bi-hemispheric paired pulse TMS for transcallosal measurements and paired- associative stimulation (PAS) for measures of brain plasticity; and invasive and noninvasive brain stimulation in animal models. 2) Brain Stimulation for Rehabilitation. Tools and services include imaged-guided TMS and repetitive TMS inside or outside the scanner and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) with computer models of the flow of current. The BSTIM Core can help researchers use other methods such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), non-invasive cervical or auricular vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), deep brain stimulation (DBS), epidural cortical stimulation, transcranial pulsed ultrasound, et al., as research progresses. 3) Theory-Based Outcome Measures. By continually developing innovative methodologies and analysis techniques, BSTIM will generate high quality, reproducible, quantitative data to help identify neurophysiological ?biomarkers.? BSTIM will be a leader in forming large multi-system quantitative data sets for inclusion in the COBRE Comprehensive Multidisciplinary Database (CMD), and seek to become a leader in coalescing large data sets through leading or participating in national and international collaborations. 4)


The goal of this aim is to nurture scientists skilled in the multiple domains necessary to investigate and exploit inherent plasticity and develop and translate novel mechanism-based, experience-dependent interventional methods.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Exploratory Grants (P20)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZGM1)
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Medical University of South Carolina
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