Research Tools

The Brain Recovery Lab under the direction of Teresa Jacobson Kimberley studies non-invasive brain stimulation and neuroimaging to better understand how to help people recover from brain injury or disease.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Transcranial magnetic stimulation diagram


Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a form of safe, painless, non-invasive brain stimulation that can be used to measure brain excitability. Repetitive TMS can be used to influence brain activity by either increasing or decreasing brain excitability. This valuable tool can help us better understand the pathology of a disease or can be used as an adjunct to treatment.



Transcranial magnetic stimulation brain diagram

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) are complementary tools to examine brain function. Here we use both to illustrated the areas of the brain in the laryngeal motor cortex associated with vocalization (peak area of fMRI activation in orange) and the area of the brain that controls the vocal cord muscles (TMS electrical field distribution of vocal cord evoked response in blue).

Hot color: Task fMRI activation

Cool color: TMS electric field distribution



Diffusion Tensor Imaging

Diffusion Tensor Imaging


Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is a type of neuroimaging technique that can image the white matter pathways in the brain. The water molecules contained within an axon’s myelin sheath have a direction of movement (diffusion). When imaged with a particular magnetic resonance sequence the direction of a pathway can be imaged. For example, the fibers that are colored red in this image have a right/left direction, blue has a head/foot direction and green illustrates front/back. We use this type of imaging to select an area of interest, called a seed, and then examine for what pathways are connected with that seed.



Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS)

Vagus Nerve Simulation (VNS)

In a study involving rehabilitation of patients with hand and arm impairment following a stroke, patients are implanted with a device called a vagus nerve stimulator. It is similar to a cardiac pacemaker, but the stimulation lead is attached to the vagus nerve in the neck. Evidence from prior clinical trials suggests that paring vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) with rehabilitation can increase the rate at which the brain relearns tasks. Vagus nerve stimulation is not a new therapy, it has been used to treat epilepsy for over 20 year