Who We Are

We are a unique transdisciplinary group of leaders in Psychiatry, Neurosurgery, Neurology, and Engineering who are developing novel individualized treatment approaches for psychiatric and neurological disorders. Please explore our site to learn more about the expanding field of neuromodulation.

Andrew Leuchter, M.D.
Nanthia Suthana, Ph.D.
Associate Director

Our Mission

The Neuromodulation Division of the Semel Institute integrates the work of experts from across the campus to develop new approaches to understanding the brain, and new treatments for psychiatric and neurological disorders.

What is Neuromodulation?

Neuromodulation is a process that modifies the natural signals sent among groups of neurons in the brain. Read More... Read Less...

Neuromodulation is distinct from neurotransmission, which is the direct transmittal of information from one neuron to another. Neuromodulation modifies neurotransmission: it changes the excitability of neurons, and therefore the how they will communicate in response to chemical or electrical input signals. Neuromodulation allows us to adapt to the environment, allocate cognitive resources, and regulate arousal, appetitive behaviors, movement, and mood.

What are Neuromodulation Treatments?

Neuromodulation treatments are an emerging class of technologies that apply magnetic or electrical energy to the brain to treat depression, epilepsy, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Parkinson's Disease, and other neuropsychiatric illnesses. Read More... Read Less...

Neuromodulation treatments can be used as either an alternative or an addition to medications for the treatment of illness. These cutting edge technologies modify the activity of neural networks, and include non-invasive methods that utilize electromagnets or small electrodes applied to the scalp, and invasive techniques that involve insertion of electrodes into the brain. Non-invasive treatments include repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS), transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS), Trigeminal Nerve Stimulation (TNS), transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation (tACS), and synchronized Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (sTMS). Invasive techniques include Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) and Electrocortical Stimulation. Treatments frequently are targeted to stimulate brain regions specific to individuals' illness, but also may be applied to the brain as a whole. Learn More...

Common to all methods of neuromodulation, the rapidly fired signals affect multiple brain networks beyond the targeted region. Similarly, this applied electromagnetic energy increases neuroplasticity, and alters brain connectivity and network function.


The transdisciplinary breadth of our faculty is unique. We bring together leading faculty from Psychiatry, Neurosurgery, Neurology, and Engineering to utilize and develop individualized treatment approaches for psychiatric and neurological disorders. Read More... Read Less...

The Neuromodulation Division of the UCLA Semel Institute:
  • Improves psychiatric treatments
  • Elucidates the mechanism of how treatments work
  • Develops and tests novel technology
  • Promotes dialogue among experts in the field of Neuromodulation
  • Educates the next generation clinician-scientists
  • Develops and shares tools to promote collaborative research

Frequently Asked Questions