Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation (NIBS) Facility
In this facility we use noninvasive brain stimulation to gain novel insights into the workings of the brain at both a neurophysiological level and also at higher cognitive levels.
The NIBS Facility was founded in 2009 to house the brain stimulation technologies that exist in the Department of Cognitive Science. We utilise a wide-variety of transcranial brain stimulation (TMS) and transcranial electrical stimulation (TES) protocols to investigate brain neurophysiology, brain-behaviour relationships, neuroplasticity, and potential treatments for some neurologic and psychiatric disorders.
We have designed and implemented NIBS protocols to study neurophysiology and brain-behaviour relationships in projects involving motor control, response inhibition, visual perception, language and impulsivity. Many of these are in collaboration with other research groups at Macquarie University as well as with collaborators at other institutions. Among patient populations, we use NIBS to study patients affected with stroke and Tourette syndrome and have projects underway which will look at the potential for NIBS to enhance poor reading skills.
Being in the Department of Cognitive Science at Macquarie University also provides a unique opportunity to combine NIBS protocols with imaging (MEG, fMRI and DTI) modalities since all are in close physical proximity to each other. Often, imaging studies are done first and then, using a frameless stereotaxy system, we can target pre-selected areas based on anatomical or functionally defined coordinates within the brain. Alternatively, a modulatory NIBS protocol can be implemented and a subsequent imaging study could be performed to assess the effects of NIBS on functional brain activations in parallel with behaviour.