Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an efficacious neurosurgical treatment for Parkinson's disease and essential tremor. The therapeutic benefit of DBS has led to it being applied to a wide spectrum of disorders, including psychiatric conditions, epilepsy, dystonia, restless legs syndrome, Alzheimer's disease, headache, Tourette syndrome and intractable pain. Despite this application expansion, the mechanisms of DBS are not clearly understood.
In their laboratory, Su-Youne Chang, Ph.D., and her colleagues focus on understanding the mechanism of DBS action systematically in the brain utilizing cutting-edge techniques in the areas of electrophysiology, electrochemistry, neuroimaging, pharmacology and optogenetics.
Dr. Chang and her team are particularly interested in the neurobiological balance within the brain network. DBS may reset the unbalanced pathologic condition into another stage or return it to the original stage. Thus, they investigate the cellular and molecular mechanism of DBS.
Dr. Chang is also interested in developing DBS instrumentation based upon the neurobiological mechanism of DBS. Present DBS devices use electrical stimulation to modulate the brain network system. Her team wants to develop novel ways (e.g., optic and/or laser, novel stimulation pattern) to treat abnormal brain activity.
Significance to patient care
The ultimate goal of Dr. Chang and her colleagues is to improve the therapeutic efficacy of DBS based upon their neurobiological research, focusing on individualized treatment paradigms through convergent physiology, neurochemistry and neuroimaging.