Home

The Ghent Experimental Psychiatry Lab

Our GHEP lab was founded in 2012 with the main objective to perform translational research within the domain of psychiatric illnesses. From the beginning we aimed to integrate high quality research focusing on behavioral, psychological, and neurobiological topics. Therefore, we investigate both human and animal models related to brain functioning in the ‘healthy’ as well as in the ‘mentally’ affected brain.

Translational Research

The GHEP lab is closely connected to the psychiatric ward of the Ghent University Hospital, specialized in treating mood and anxiety disorders. Hence, there is a strong background and interest in finding more efficacious treatment options using non-invasive brain stimulation techniques. Working together with the veterinary department we created translational animal models to examine the effects of neurostimulation on the dogs’ brain. This knowledge can be incorporated in the treatment of psychiatric patients, with the goal to enhance healthcare.

Neuromodulation

We are specialized in non-invasive brain stimulation techniques, such as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), thetaburst stimulation (TBS), transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation (tVNS), but also invasive brain stimulation techniques such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). We have initiated and collaborated in numerous studies, aiming to find working mechanisms and biomarkers to understand, predict and enhance the effects of non-invasive brain stimulation.

Brain Imaging

To measure the effects of the non-invasive brain stimulation techniques, we make use of brain imaging techniques such as structural and functional (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET) and Electroencephalography (EEG). We are also interested in psychophysiological variables such as skin conductance, respiration, heart rate variability and cortisol.

Connected

We work closely together with many research groups both within Ghent University as international. We are part of a giant institute for neuroscience research connecting researchers using brain stimulation techniques. There is a close integration with the psychopathology and affective neuroscience lab and the faculty of veterinary medicine of Ghent university.