Zhi-De Deng, PhD

Engineer | Physicist | Brain Stimulation Researcher

Full-Time Awesome Person

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About Zhi

Dr. Deng is Director of the Computational Neurostimulation Research Program within the Noninvasive Neuromodulation Unit at the National Institute of Mental Health. He earned the SB degree in physics, SB and MEng in electrical engineering and computer science, with a minor in economics, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He completed PhD and MPhil in electrical engineering, with a graduate minor in neuroscience, at Columbia University. He completed postdoctoral training at Duke University, followed by a research fellowship at NIMH.

Dr. Deng's research focuses on three principal areas: 1) understanding the physics and biophysics of neurostimulation, 2) optimizing therapeutic dosing and individualization, and 3) advancing noninvasive brain stimulation technology development via model-informed design. His pivotal work in electric field modeling for transcranial magnetic stimulation is widely cited and provided evidence that informed regulatory clearance of TMS therapeutic systems. Beyond his research program, Dr. Deng is an ardent proponent of multidisciplinary collaboration, actively engaging with international research institutions to advance the frontiers of neuromodulation research. He has received career development award from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and NARSAD Young Investigator Award, which supported his pioneering efforts in developing next-generation seizure therapy. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE and a Full Member of the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Honor Society. His vision is to transform psychiatry through engineering innovation.

When not working at one of his three jobs, he performs magic, and plays with his pets, who have their own Instagram page. Follow for updates. Or, you can do something productive with your life... but that's not recommended.



Electromagnetic modeling within a microscopically realistic brain – Implications for brain stimulation

Qi Z, Noetscher GM, Miles A, Weise K, Knösche TR, Cadman CR, Potashinsky AR, Liu K, Wartman WA, Nunez Ponasso G, Bikson M, Lu H, Deng ZD, Nummenmaa AR, Makaroff SN

bioRxiv, 2024. PMCID: PMC11030228. DOI: 10.1101/2024.04.04.588004


Electroconvulsive therapy modulates loudness dependence of auditory evoked potentials: A pilot MEG study

Dib M, Lewine JD, Abbott CC, Deng ZD

medRxiv, 2024. DOI: 10.1101/2024.04.26.24306462


An adaptive h-refinement method for the boundary element fast multipole method for quasi-static electromagnetic modeling

Wartman WA, Weise K, Rachh M, Morales L, Deng ZD, Nummenmaa AR, Makaroff SN

Phys Med Biol, 69(5): 055030, 2024. PMCID: PMC10902857. DOI: 10.1088/1361-6560/ad2638


Intermittent theta-burst stimulation to the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex may increase potentiated startle in healthy individuals

Teferi M, Gura H, Patel M, Casalvera A, Lynch KG, Makhoul W, Deng ZD, Oathes DJ, Sheline YI, Balderston NL

Neuropsychopharmacology, online ahead of print, 2024. PMID: 38740902. DOI: 10.1038/s41386-024-01871-w

Online TMS

Lessons learned from an fMRI-guided rTMS study on performance in a numerical Stroop task

Beynel L, Gura H, Rezaee Z, Ekpo EC, Deng ZD, Joseph JO, Taylor P, Luber B, Lisanby SH

PLOS ONE, 9(5): e0302660, 2024. PMCID: PMC11073721. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0302660


Electric field characteristics of transcranial rotating permanent magnetic stimulation

Robin PL, Makaroff SN, Dib M, Lisanby SH, Deng ZD

Bioengineering, 11(3): 258, 2024. PMCID: PMC10968657. DOI: 10.3390/bioengineering11030258

ECT Dosing

Amplitude-determined seizure-threshold, electric field modeling, and electroconvulsive therapy antidepressant and cognitive outcomes

Abbott CC, Miller J, Farrar D, Argyelan M, Lloyd M, Squillaci T, Kimbrell B, Ryman S, Jones TR, Upston J, Quinn DK, Peterchev AV, Erhardt E, Datta A, McClintock SM, Deng ZD

Neuropsychopharmacology, 49(4): 640–648, 2024. PMCID: PMC10876627. DOI: 10.1038/s41386-023-01780-4


Clinical outcomes of magnetic seizure therapy vs electroconvulsive therapy for major depressive episode: A randomized clinical trial

Deng ZD, Luber B, McClintock SM, Weiner RD, Husain MM, Lisanby SH

JAMA Psychiatry, 81(3): 240–249. PMCID: PMC10701670. DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2023.4599

ECT Review

How electroconvulsive therapy works in the treatment of depression: Is it the seizure, the electricity, or both?

Deng ZD, Robins PL, Regenold WT, Rohde P, Dannhauer M, Lisanby SH

Neuropsychopharmacology, 49(1): 150–162, 2024. PMCID: PMC10700353. DOI: 10.1038/s41386-023-01677-2

TMS Modeling Review

Electric field modeling in personalizing TMS interventions

Dannhauer M, Gomez LJ, Robins PL, Wang D, Hasan NI, Thielscher A, Siebner HR, Fan Y, Deng ZD

Biol Psychiatry, 95(6): 494–501, 2024. PMCID: PMC10922371. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2023.11.022

ECT Imaging

Electroconvulsive therapy-induced volumetric brain changes converge on a common causal circuit in depression

Argyelan M, Deng ZD, Ousdal OT, Oltedal L, Angulo B, Baradits M, Spitzberg AJ, Kessler U, Sartorius A, Dols A, Narr KL, Espinoza R, van Waarde JA, Tendolkar I, van Eijndhoven P, van Wingen GA, Takamiya A, Kishimoto T, Jorgensen MB, Jorgensen A, Paulson OB, Yrondi A, Péran P, Soriano-Mas C, Cardoner N, Cano M, van Diermen L, Schrijvers D, Belge J-B, Emsell L, Bouckaert F, Vandenbulcke M, Kiebs M, Hurlemann R, Mulders PC, Redlich R, Dannlowski U, Kavakbasi E, Kritzer MD, Ellard KK, Camprodon JA, Petrides G, Malhotra AK, Abbott CC

Mol Psychiatry, 29(2): 229–237, 2024. PMCID: PMC11116108. DOI: 10.1038/s41380-023-02318-2

TMS Meta-Analysis

The efficacy of transcranial magnetic stimulation in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder: An umbrella review of meta-analyses

Kar SK, Agrawal A, Silva-dos-Santos A, Gupta Y, Deng ZD

CNS Spectr, 29(2): 109–118, 2024. PMID: 38053347. DOI: 10.1017/S1092852923006387

TMS Modeling

A fast direct solver for surface-based whole-head modeling of transcranial magnetic stimulation

Makaroff SN, Qi Z, Rachh M, Wartman WA, Weise K, Noetscher GM, Daneshzand M, Deng ZD, Greengard L, Nummenmaa AR

Sci Rep, 13(1): 18657, 2023. PMCID: PMC10618282. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-023-45602-5

Closed-loop tACS

Alpha oscillatory activity is causally linked to working memory retention

Chen X, Ma R, Zhang W, Zeng GQ, Wu Q, Yimiti A, Xia X, Cui J, Liu Q, Meng X, Bu J, Chen Q, Pan Y, Yu NX, Wang S, Deng ZD, Sack AT, Mc Laughlin M, Zhang X

PLoS Biol, 21(2): e3001999, 2023. PMCID: PMC9983870. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3001999

TMS Modeling

Modelling the differential effects of age on transcranial magnetic stimulation induced electric fields

Alwai M, Lee PF, Deng ZD, Goh YK, Croarkin PE

J Neural Eng, 20(2): 026016, 2023. PMCID: PMC10278869. DOI: 10.1088/1741-2552/ac9a76

BMI and BD

The impact of body mass index on clinical features of bipolar disorder: A STEP-BD study

Kadriu B, Deng ZD, Kraus C, Johnston JN, Figtman A, Henter ID, Kasper S, Zarate CA Jr

Bipolar Disord, 26(2): 160–175, 2024. PMCID: PMC10839568. DOI: 10.1111/bdi.13370


Body mass index and clinical outcomes in individuals with major depressive disorder: Findings from the GSRD European Multicenter Database

Kraus C, Kautzky A, Watzal V, Gramser A, Kadriu B, Deng ZD, Bartova L, Zarate CA Jr, Lanzenberger R, Souery D, Montgomery S, Mendlewicz J, Zohar J, Fanelli G, Serretti A, Kasper S

J Affect Disord, 335: 349–357, 2023. PMCID: PMC10502963. DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2023.05.042

TMS Modeling

Optimizing TMS coil placement approaches for targeting the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in depressed adolescents: An electric field modeling study

Deng ZD, Robins PL, Dannhauer M, Haugen LM, Port JD, Croarkin PE

Biomedicines, 11(8): 2320, 2023. PMCID: PMC10452519. DOI: 10.3390/biomedicines11082320


Enhancing repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation effects for depression treatment: Navigare necesse est - and smart clinical trial designs

Brunoni AR, Deng ZD, Padberg F

Biol Psychiatry Cogn Neurosci Neuroimaging, 7(6): 527–529, 2022. PMID: 35680342. DOI: 10.1016/j.bpsc.2022.03.006

TMS Modeling

Computation of transcranial magnetic stimulation electric fields using self-supervised deep learning

Li H, Deng ZD, Oathes DJ, Fan Y

Neuroimage, 264: 119705, 2022. PMCID: PMC9854270. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2022.119705

ECT Imaging

Cerebro-cerebellar functional neuroplasticity mediates the effect of electric field on electroconvulsive therapy outcomes

Fu Z, Abbott CC, Miller J, Deng ZD, McClintock SM, Sendi MSE, Sui J, Calhoun VD

Transl Psychiatry, 13(1): 43, 2023. PMCID: PMC9902462. DOI: 10.1038/s41398-023-02312-w

TMS Modeling

Modeling transcranial magnetic stimulation coil with magnetic cores

Makaroff SN, Nguyen H, Meng Q, Lu H, Nummenmaa AR, Deng ZD

J Neural Eng, 20(1): 016028, 2023. PMCID: PMC10481791. DOI: 10.1088/1741-2552/acae0d


Electric field, ictal theta power, and clinical outcomes in electroconvulsive therapy

Miller J, Jones T, Upston J, Deng ZD, McClintock SM, Erhardt E, Farrar D, Abbott CC

Biol Psychiatry Cogn Neurosci Neuroimaging, 8(7): 760–767, 2023. PMCID: PMC10329999. DOI: 10.1016/j.bpsc.2023.03.001


Continuous theta burst stimulation to the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex may increases potentiated startle in healthy individuals

Teferi M, Wakhoul W, Deng ZD, Oathes DJ, Sheline YI, Balderston NL

Biol Psychiatry Glob Open Sci, 3(3): 470–479, 2023. PMCID: PMC10382694. DOI: 10.1016/j.bpsgos.2022.04.001

ECT Modeling

Impact of modeled field of view in electroconvulsive therapy current flow simulations

Guillen A, Abbott CC, Deng ZD, Huang Y, Pascoal-Faria P, Truong DQ, Datta A

Front Psychiatry, 14: 1168672, 2023. PMCID: PMC10232815. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyt.2023.1168672

ECT Imaging

Links between electroconvulsive therapy responsive and cognitive impairment multimodal brain networks in late-life major depressive disorder

Qi S, Calhoun VD, Zhang D, Miller J, Deng ZD, Narr KL, Sheline YI, McClintock SM, Jiang R, Yang X, Upston J, Jones T, Sui J, Abbott CC

BMC Med, 20(1): 477, 2022. PMCID: PMC9733153. DOI: 10.1186/s12916-022-02678-6


Ictal theta power as an electroconvulsive therapy safety biomarker: A pilot study

Miller J, Jones T, Upston J, Deng ZD, McClintock SM, Ryman S, Quinn D, Abbott CC

J ECT, 38(2): 88–94, 2022. PMCID: PMC10680084. DOI: 10.1097/YCT.0000000000000812


Using diffusion tensor imaging to effectively target TMS to deep brain structures

Luber B, Davis SW, Deng ZD, Murphy D, Martella A, Peterchev AV, Lisanby SH

Neuroimage, 249:118863, 2022. PMCID: PMC8851689. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.118863


Noninvasive neuromodulation of the prefrontal cortex in mental health disorders

Regenold WT, Deng ZD, Lisanby SH

Neuropsychopharmacology, 47(1): 361–372, 2022. PMCID: PMC8617166. DOI: 10.1038/s41386-021-01094-3


Electroconvulsive therapy, electric field, neuroplasticity, and clinical outcomes

Deng ZD, Argyelan M, Miller J, Quinn DK, Lloyd M, Jones TR, Upston J, Erhardt E, McClintock SM, Abbott CC

Mol Psychiatry, 27(3): 1676–1682, 2022. PMCID: PMC9095458. DOI: 10.1038/s41380-021-01380-y

TMS Coil

Angle-tuned coils: attractive building blocks for TMS with improved depth–spread performance

Bagherzadeh H, Meng Q, Deng ZD, Lu H, Hong E, Yang Y, Choa FSs

J Neural Eng, 19(2): 026059, 2022. PMCID: PMC10644970. DOI: 10.1088/1741-2552/ac697c

TMS Modeling

Proof of concept study to develop a novel connectivity-based electric-field modelling approach for individualized targeting of transcranial magnetic stimulation treatment

Balderston NL, Beer JC, Seok D, Makhoul W, Deng ZD, Girelli T, Teferi M, Smyk N, Jaskir M, Oathes DJ, Sheline YI

Neuropsychopharmacology, 47(2): 588–598, 2022. PMCID: PMC8674270. DOI: 10.1038/s41386-021-01110-6


Longitudinal neurocognitive effects of combined electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and pharmacotherapy in major depressive disorder in older adults: Phase 2 of the PRIDE study

Lisanby SH, McClintock SM, McCall WV, Knapp RG, Cullum M, Mueller M, Deng ZD, Teklehaimanot AA, Rudorfer MV, Bernhardt E, Alexopoulos G, Bailine SH, Briggs MC, Geduldig ET, Greenberg RM, Husain MM, Kaliora S, Latoussakis V, Liebman LS, Petrides G, Prudic J, Rosenquist PB, Sampson S, Tobias KG, Weiner RD, Young RC, Kellner CH

Am J Geriatr Psychiatry, 30(1): 15–28, 2022. PMCID: PMC8595359. DOI: 10.1016/j.jagp.2021.04.006



Symposium on Novel Neuromodulation

Zhi to present at the International Symposium on Novel Neuromodulation Techniques for Neurocognitive Disorders, on Model driven brain stimulation treatments.



OHBM, Seoul

Zhi presented at Organization for Human Brain Mapping annual meeting, on Characterizing hippocampal activation with magnetoencephalography using the mnemonic similarity task.



Advanced Research Institute

Zhi presented at ARI Grand Rounds in Mental Health and Aging Research, on Neurostimulation revolution: Advancing treatment optimization and technology innovation.



EMBC, Sydney

Zhi presented at the 45th Annual Internation Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, panel on Computational analysis of non-invasive neuromodulation constructs: Brain and spine.



NIMH Workshop

Zhi presented at the upcoming NIMH Placebo Workshop on Translational Research Domains and Key Questions, on Challenges and strategies in implementing effective sham stimulation for noninvasive brain stimulation trials.



ISMRM, Singapore

Zhi presented at International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine annual meeting, panel on MRI of neuromodulation using TMS and FUS.



BHBM, Boston

Zhi presented at Brain and Human Body Modeling Conference, on Effects of low intensity magnetic stimulation.



BRST, Lisbon

Zhi presented at the 6th International Brain Stimulation Conference, panel on Advanced computational modeling and optimization methods for noninvasive brain stimulation.


Keep in Touch

+1 301 594 0387

10 Center Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892


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