Research in the Human Behavior and Brain Stimulation Lab focuses on understanding the mechanisms of visual perception and attention in the human brain. While our main focus is on basic science, our research also has a strong translational component, for rehabilitation of stroke patients. Our general approach is to use noninvasive brain stimulation to focally perturb perceptual/cognitive functions, combined with quantitative visual psychophysics to assay the effects of these causal manipulations. We are pioneers and leader in this coupled approach, publishing dozens of studies with collaborators from Harvard and other institutions. We have extended this integrated approach to examine – and ameliorate – visual and attentional deficits in stroke patients.
We use several behavioral, noninvasive brain stimulation and imaging techniques such as TMS, tDCS, tRNS and fMRI. In particular, we have used fMRI to observe the effects of TMS on brain-wide neural-network activity involved in sustained attention. Our studies have established neuromodulation as a tool to boost cognitive functions in stroke patients. More recently, we have used direct current stimulation to dramatically improve visual functions in stroke patients affected by cortical blindness.