Bick Research Lab

About Our Research

The Bick neurophysiology lab at Vanderbilt University Medical Center is led by neurosurgeon scientist Sarah Bick, MD. The focus of the lab is using human neurophysiology and imaging methods to understand the neural signaling underlying cognitive and psychiatric processes with the ultimate goal of developing novel neuromodulation techniques.


Corticostriatal circuitry in Parkinson’s disease nonmotor symptoms

Parkinson’s disease motor symptoms are caused by decreased striatal dopaminergic input leading to abnormal activity in motor corticostriatal circuitry. Our hypothesis is that a similar mechanism in parallel cognitive and affective corticostriatal circuitry contributes to Parkinson’s nonmotor symptoms. We use intracranial recordings from patients undergoing deep brain stimulation surgery as well as imaging techniques such as fMRI and PET to study the neural activity underlying memory, impulsivity, and emotions, and how this is altered in Parkinson’s patients.

Neural networks underlying psychiatric disorders

This project seeks to use human intracranial EEG recordings to understand brain circuits involved in anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, and impulsive behaviors.

Clinical outcome studies

The lab is interested in understanding symptomatology of functional neurosurgery patients and how we can improve outcomes in functional neurosurgery procedures. Current projects include understanding factors underlying cognitive and psychiatric symptoms in movement disorders patients and better understanding the relationship between DBS surgery and cognitive and psychiatric symptoms.

Faculty & Staff

Sarah Bick, MD