Before my first blog entry I wanted to introduce myself. I am Lindsay Oberman. I am a Clinical Researcher. For the past 20 years, I have been studying the brain mechanisms that underlie the core and associated symptoms of Neuropsychiatric and Neurodevelopmental Disorders. I started on my journey as an undergraduate student at Emory University, in Atlanta Georgia where I worked at Yerkes Primate Research Center as well as the Psychiatry and Psychology departments studying the brain basis of alcohol addiction, schizophrenia, and depression. I graduated with a double major in Neuroscience and Psychology. I then continued my studies at the University of California, San Diego where I shifted focus to studying the brain basis of autism and other developmental disorders. Over the course of my graduate career I was able to identify a dysfunction in a brain network (namely “the mirror neuron system”) that related to the symptoms that characterized autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This was satisfying, academically, but seemed incomplete. If I was to tell a parent, “I have figured it out: your child behaves the way he does because he has a dysfunction in the mirror neuron system” the parent would likely respond, “Ok, but how did his mirror neuron system become dysfunctional? And how do we make it more functional?”
These questions led me to cross the country again, accepting a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School in 2007 to develop transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) studies to assess the mechanisms underlying mirror neuron and other network dysfunction in individuals with ASD and to modulate network functioning to improve the resulting symptoms. After a two year fellowship I joined the faculty at Harvard Medical School where I continued to use TMS to study and treat ASD. Between 2009 and 2013 I tested these protocols across different age groups and levels of severity to evaluate reliability and generalizability of these protocols.
On a personal level, during this time, I also had two children whose birth and subsequent development has had a great impact on my perspective on brain development and what factors may be influencing behaviors. In 2013 I moved to Brown University Medical School where I established my own lab and expanded my work to also explore protocols to study and treat children with ADHD and depression.
In 2017 I moved to the Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine, a congressionally funded Federal research center, where I serve as the Clinical Program Leader for TMS studies. In my current position I am developing TMS trials for the treatment of children with ASD, children with ADHD, and military service members who have sustained traumatic brain injuries at the National Institute of Mental Health and the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs.
In the forthcoming series of blog entries I hope to share my perspective on Neuroscience, and the potential for TMS in a variety of Neuropsychiatric and Neurodevelopmental Disorders. All the views I express are mine and do not represent the views of the Federal government or any other institution that I am or have been affiliated with. I welcome discussion and differing views. The truth is that many of the things I will discuss are still “works in progress” and like the brain, my views and the existing data to support various theories are plastic, constantly updating and changing. My ultimate goal is to use neuroimaging and neuromodulation techniques to develop treatments for the behavioral symptoms that characterize neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders. But as you will see this is an ambitious goal. I am not naïve to the complexities and challenges that face my team and others who are also working in this field. But these complexities and challenges are not insurmountable and with enough support, funding, and motivation, I believe it is an attainable and worthy goal and I am dedicated to it. I will appreciate and look forward to your feedback via [email protected]