Tim J. van Hartevelt
I am currently employed as a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford as a member of the Hedonia: Transnational Research Group. I am also an affiliated researcher at the Center for Music in the Brain (MIB), which is based at Aarhus University in Denmark.
Deep Brain Stimulation
One of my main research topics is studying Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) and how it works. DBS has proven very effective in alleviating symptoms for a range of disorders, including Parkinson’s disease (PD), essential tremor, dystonia and chronic pain. Although DBS has been increasingly used in the past decade and approximately 100.000 patients with PD have already been treated, the exact mechanisms underlying its efficacy are still largely unknown. My research mainly focuses on the effects of Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) in terms of changes occurring in the brain after long-term stimulation. To find out more about how exactly DBS works, we use structural and functional imaging methods to measure the whole-brain network. Additionally, together with some of my long-term collaborators, we use computational models to investigate the influence of structural changes on whole-brain dynamics. Using such advanced models, we have been able to narrow down the main contributing neural connections of continuous DBS leading to long-term structural changes. These whole-brain computational models may also help to predict the effects on functional connectivity and brain dynamics.
Another research area of mine is olfactory functioning. The sense of smell is an often-overlooked sense, both in the general public, as well as in science and medical professions. The sense of smell is however highly important for general well-being and as can be seen in most species, vital for species survival. Not only in terms of food, but also in terms of mate selection and procreation the sense of smell plays a crucial role. Olfactory dysfunction is quite common and is prevalent in almost all neuro-psychiatric disorders, including PD, depressions and schizophrenia. Even in healthy populations, the sense of smell has been shown to be highly correlated to general well-being and Quality of Life.