Texas Biomedical Device Center


Vagus Nerve Stimulation
Special Announcement

We are excited to announce that we submitted to the Food and Drug Administration two Investigational Device Exemptions (IDE) for our wireless vagus nerve stimulator called ReStore. This implantable biomedical device, entirely developed at UT Dallas will allow us to perform clinical trials using Targeted Plasticity Therapy to restore functions lost as a result of neurological injuries and disease. READ MORE

Vagus Nerve Stimulation for Stroke Recovery
In the News
NIH Grant to Enhance Recovery After Stroke

TxBDC was awarded a grant worth up to $3.5 million from the National Institutes of Health to support wireless nerve stimulation to enhance recovery after stroke. This grant is part of the Translational Neural Devices program which provides support for translational activities and small clinical studies to advance the development of therapeutic or diagnostic devices that affect the nervous or neuromuscular systems. READ MORE

Crystal Engineer
Research Support
Dr. Crystal Engineer, 2018 Young Investigator Grantee

The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation awarded Crystal T. Engineer, Ph.D. the Young Investigator Grant to explore a potential treatment for auditory symptoms of autism spectrum disorder. She hopes to point toward better treatment for auditory deficits among people with autism, and to identify brain networks involved in the improvement of sound processing. READ MORE

Robert Morrison
Open Science Framework's Preregistration Challenge Winner

Robert Morrison, graduate student at the TxBDC was awarded $1,000 in the Open Science Framework's Preregistration Challenge. This education campaign was supported by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and included prizes for researchers who published the results of preregistered work. READ MORE

Graduate Students
Congratulations to our newest graduates!

(Clockwise from top left)
Elizabeth Buell, PhD — Spring 2019
Title of Dissertation: Targeting Auditory Cortex Plasticity Using Vagus Nerve Stimulation

Vishnou Sivaji, PhD — Fall 2018
Title of Dissertation: Wireless Devices for Peripheral Nerve Stimulation and Recording

Katy Millay, PhD — Fall 2018
Title of Dissertation: The RePlay System: A Novel Approach to Automate Measurement and Training of Hand and Wrist Motor Functions

Daniel Hulsey, PhD — Spring 2018
Title of Dissertation: Neuromodulatory Pathways Required for Targeted Plasticity Therapy

TxBDC Alumni

One Device, Unlimited Possibilities with ReStore
Tinnitus Relief
See how researchers at the Texas Biomedical Device Center are using the Restore vagus nerve stimulator to help brain injury patients fully reengage in life. This therapy uses stimulation of the vagus nerve during rehabilitation to rewire neural circuits, dramatically improving recovery. TxBDC researchers are at the forefront of investigations into neuroplasticity and its role in the development of a wide range of therapies for disorders such as tinnitus and chronic pain, stroke, traumatic brain injury, autism, PTSD, Alzheimer's disease and peripheral nerve injury. Watch the video

Enhancing Speech Processing In A Rat Model Of Autism Using Vagus Nerve Stimulation
Principal Investigator: Crystal T. Engineer, PhD
Funding Agency: NIH

One of the major obstacles facing individuals with autism is the inability to communicate effectively. Expensive, time-consuming behavioral interventions can improve behavioral outcomes, but many individuals undergo these interventions and still have trouble communicating. The development of new treatments that can improve communication is essential to improve the lives of individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). We have developed a new way to rewire the brain and improve communication using vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) paired with speech. Recent preclinical and clinical findings indicate that VNS paired with sensory or motor rehabilitation can enhance functional recovery compared to rehabilitative therapy alone. This proposal will evaluate whether VNS paired with auditory training can enhance rehabilitation in the context of autism.

Exploring a Potential Treatment for Auditory Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Principal Investigator: Crystal Engineer, PhD
Funding Agency: Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

Crystal T. Engineer, Ph.D., University of Texas at Dallas, will explore a potential treatment for auditory symptoms of autism spectrum disorder. People with autism often struggle to process speech, and experience hearing deficits even after training to strengthen their auditory skills. Dr. Engineer will test whether such training has stronger effects when paired with stimulation of the vagus nerve, which contributes to sensory processing. She hopes to point toward better treatment for auditory deficits among people with autism, and to identify brain networks involved in the improvement of sound processing.

Hearing Restoration Through Synaptic Plasticity Directed by Vagus Nerve Stimulation
Principal Investigator: Michael P. Kilgard, PhD
Funding Agency: CDMRP

Individuals with hearing loss are likely to struggle to communicate in noisy settings even if they have the most modern assistive devices. The mechanisms that the brain uses to turn up the volume after hearing loss often make the problem worse. Our team has strong animal and human evidence that appropriately targeted brain plasticity can be highly effective in treating serious clinical conditions. Our approach is based on fifty years of neuroscience research. Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is a safe and effective method to trigger release of neurotransmitters that increase brain plasticity. By pairing VNS with specific sounds, it is possible to direct highly-focused and long-lasting brain changes that can improve function.

Enhancing Recovery after Chronic Bilateral Cervical Spinal Cord Injury with Targeted Plasticity Therapy
Principal Investigator: Michael P. Kilgard, PhD and Robert L. Rennaker, PhD
Funding Agency: NIH

Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a major cause of disability, currently affecting 276,000 individuals in the U.S. alone and millions more worldwide. Cervical SCI (cSCI) accounts for 55% of all SCIs and typically results in impaired upper extremity motor function. The majority of cSCI patients have bilateral damage to the spinal cord. Identifying and developing rehabilitative therapies that promote recovery of upper extremity function after bilateral cSCI is of great clinical importance. This grant will allow TxBDC to test the utility of vagus nerve stimulation in increasing movement after spinal cord injury.


March 8, 2019 | Frontiers in Neuroscience
Targeted Vagus Nerve Stimulation for Rehabilitation After Stroke

March 5, 2019 | Journal of Neuroscience Methods
ReStore: a wireless peripheral nerve stimulation system

February 15, 2019 | Methods and Protocols
Protocol for Construction of Rat Nerve Stimulation Cuff Electrodes

March-April, 2019 | Brain Stimulation
Vagus Nerve Stimulation as a Strategy to Augment Auditory Rehabilitation

March-April, 2019 | Brain Stimulation
Vagus Nerve Stimulation as a Strategy to Augment Stroke Rehabilitation

More Publications

Texas Biomedical Device Center
© 2016 The University of Texas at Dallas
800 W. Campbell Road, BSB | Richardson, Texas 75080 [email protected]

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