Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation

Flavio Frohlich, Ph.D.

UNC Department of Psychiatry

Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Cell Biology & Physiology
Director, Carolina Center for Neurostimulation

With the support of the Foundation of Hope, Dr. Frohlich and his team have taken a theoretical idea of how brain circuits can be restored to treat mental illness to promising clinical trials in schizophrenia, depression, and chronic pain.

The team has discovered how weak electric current can restore brain communication for treating medication-resistant psychiatric symptoms such as depressed mood and auditory hallucinations. They’ve also started the Carolina Center for Neurostimulation, which is globally unique in its tight integration of preclinical and clinical research together with clinical care in the field of non-invasive brain stimulation for the treatment of mental illness.

Dr. Frohlich’s team has been able to develop an animal model that shares essential features of human brain activity for the rapid preclinical development of novel preventative and therapeutic brain stimulation interventions. Through this research, the team has identified a promising brain network target in infants at risk for autism for non-invasive brain stimulation. They’ve developed an animal model of impaired social interactions such as eye contact with humans.

Advanced research has led to the successful start-up company Pulvinar Neuro that commercializes brain stimulation solutions for gold-standard, double-blind clinical trials of non-invasive brain stimulation, developing the first successful feedback brain stimulation system that targets and restores brain activity in real time in sleep.