Our Research Cores

The Nash Family Center for Advanced Circuit Therapeutics (C-ACT), based at Mount Sinai West, is an integrated, interdisciplinary platform for translational research, applied engineering approaches, and clinical treatment. Our research cores reflect our collaborative and innovative culture, working across diagnoses for groundbreaking therapies. Agnostic to classical neurological and psychiatric categories, we have created a new model of patient-focused research with the common goal of correcting circuit abnormalities and restoring mood, motor, and cognitive function.

Experimental Trials

Neurosurgeon Brian Kopell, MD, neurologist Joohi Jimenez-Shahed, MD, and psychiatrist Martijn Figee, MD, PhD, lead the Clinical Research core, spearheading new experimental trials and facilitating integrated research projects involving clinical deep brain stimulation (DBS) patients. Collaborations with the Bonnie and Tom Strauss Movement Disorder Center, the Robert and John M. Bendheim Parkinson and Movement Disorders Center, the Depression and Anxiety Center for Discovery and Treatment, and the Epilepsy Center support these efforts. DBS therapies are clinically available for Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and pain. Experimental applications include depression, Tourette syndrome, dementia, eating disorders, and addiction.

Imaging Core

Under core leader Ki Sueng Choi, PhD, our imaging capabilities are mapping neural pathways and optimizing surgical targeting for DBS on a broad range of psychiatric and neurological disorders. Using multimodal neuroimaging strategies (structural, functional and diffusion MR imaging, metabolic PET imaging), in collaboration with the BioMedical Engineering and Imaging Institute (BMEII), we are gaining new understanding of the organization of disease and symptom-specific circuits and applying findings directly to surgical planning and symptom tracking in DBS patients.

Electrophysiology Core

Under core leader Allison C. Waters, PhD, electrophysiological studies using high-density EEG, event-related potentials, and local field potentials in the lab, clinic, and operating room are developing individualized brain readouts to enhance treatment delivery for DBS patients. As we better understand how electrical activity governs communication between areas of the brain, we are better able to develop neuromodulation strategies to further optimize mood, motor, and cognitive functioning.

Applied Engineering Core

Under core leader Mosadolu Obatusin, MEng, we are developing new strategies to optimize the use of next generation DBS devices. New DBS systems both sense and record brain signals while delivering DBS therapy; our team is working to synchronize these measurable brain signals with wearable technologies tracking behavioral data in the operating room, the clinic, the Q-Lab, and in some cases, in a patient’s home. This will open many doors to our understanding of brain mechanisms mediating DBS effects and the underlying disease pathophysiology, as well as enable us to deliver more personalized, data-driven treatments.

Quantitative Biometrics Lab

The Quantitative Biometrics Lab (Q-Lab) is a multi-modal research environment for comprehensive assessments of DBS patients and DBS candidates across diagnostic groups.  Quantitative measures of movement, emotion, and cognition are acquired using standardized as well as naturalistic and immersive experiences. Anchored by a novel interactive platform designed with Mirelle Phillips and Studio Elsewhere, the Q-Lab uses the latest bio-experiential technology to develop and test new tools to evaluate and monitor behavior in implanted patients. Led by data scientist Stephen Heisig, MCS, the lab uses analytic strategies that emphasize computer vision, machine learning, and computational methods applied to high-throughput data recorded with video, wearables, and other sensors to detect more subtle changes in behavior than observed with conventional methods.   

Neurobiology Core

Under core leader Alexander W Charney, MD, PhD, studies using high-throughput molecular assays, high-performance computing, and data science are profiling the brain at the level of the genome, transcriptome, epigenome, metabolome, lipidome, and more. Incorporating these state-of-the-art technologies into the workflow of DBS affords C-ACT investigators unique opportunities to link neurobiology to function in patients with neuropsychiatric disease.

Bioinformatics and Data Core

A centralized clinical and research bioinformatics infrastructure fosters data efficiencies and accelerates state-of-the-art individualized care. To enable multidisciplinary discoveries, our collaborators employ practices of data standardization, framework centralization, and open shared computation across studies.

Invasive Electrophysiology Core

Under core leader Ignacio Saez, PhD, we conduct cognitive studies to understand the neurophysiological basis of human cognition and behavior leveraging neurosurgical interventions carried out in diverse patient populations, primarily intractable epilepsy patients. Invasive neurosurgical interventions provide unprecedented access to high-quality human electrophysiological data with high temporal and anatomical precision, and allow targeted stimulation of individual brain sites for development of new neurotherapeutical strategies.