Zhi-De Deng, PhD

Engineer | Physicist | Brain Stimulation Researcher

Full-Time Awesome Person

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About Zhi

Dr. Deng is a Staff Scientist, Director of the Computational Neurostimulation Research Program, Noninvasive Neuromodulation Unit, at the National Institute of Mental Health. He is also Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Duke University School of Medicine. He received the SB degree in physics, SB and MEng in electrical engineering and computer science, with a minor in economics, from MIT. He received PhD and MPhil in electrical engineering, with a graduate minor in neuroscience, from Columbia University. He completed postdoctoral training at Duke and research fellowship at NIMH.

Zhi's research focuses on computational approaches 1) to understand the physics and biophysics of neurostimulation, 2) to optimize dosing and individualization, and 3) to advance noninvasive brain stimulation technology development via model-informed design. His work on electric field modeling of transcranial magnetic stimulation is widely cited and provided evidence that informed regulatory clearance of TMS therapeutic systems. He has received career development award from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and NARSAD Young Investigator Award to develop the next generation seizure therapy. His vision is to transform psychiatry through engineering innovation.

When not working at one of his three jobs, Zhi performs magic, cooks, and plays with his pets, who have their own Instagram page. Follow for updates. Or, you can do something productive with your life... but Zhi doesn't recommend it.



Enhancing rTMS effects for depression treatment: navigare necesse est - and also smart clinical trial designs

Brunoni AR, Deng ZD, Padberg F

Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, 7(6): 527–529, 2022. PMID: 35680342. DOI: 10.1016/j.bpsc.2022.03.006


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

Biological Psychiatry: Global Open Science, online ahead of print. DOI: 10.1016/j.bpsgos.2022.04.001


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

Miller J, Jones T, Upston J, Deng ZD, McClintock SM, Sephira R, Quinn D, Abbott CC

Journal of ECT, 38(2): 88–94, 2022. PMID: 35613008. 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

Molecular 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

Journal of Neural Engineering, 19(2): 026059. 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


Alpha oscillatory activity causally linked to working memory retention: insights from online phase-locking closed-loop transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS)

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

bioRxiv. DOI: 10.1101/2021.05.23.445322

ECT Imaging

Biophysical mechanisms of electroconvulsive therapy-induced volume expansion in the medial temporal lobe: a longitudinal in vivo human imaging study

Takamiya A, Bouckaert F, Laroy M, Blommaert J, Radwan A, Khatoun A, Deng ZD, Mc Laughlin M, Van Paesschen W, De Winter FL, Van den Stock J, Sunaert S, Sienaert P, Vandenbulcke M, Emsell L

Brain Stimul, 14(4): 1038–1047, 2021. PMCID: PMC8474653. DOI: 10.1016/j.brs.2021.06.011

Clinical Trial

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

ECT Modeling

Electric field strength induced by electroconvulsive therapy may be associated with clinical outcome: a pilot study

Fridgeirsson, EA, Deng ZD, Denys D, van Waarde JA, van Wingen GA

Neuroimage Clin, 30: 102581. PMCID: PMC7895836. DOI: 10.1016/j.nicl.2021.102581

TMS Protocol

A generalized method for conducting electric-field optimized, fMRI-guided, transcranial magnetic stimulation

Balderston NL, Roberts C, Beydler EM, Deng ZD, Radman T, Luber B, Lisanby SH, Ernst M, Grillon

Nat Protoc, 15(11): 3595–3614. PMCID: PMC8123368. DOI: 10.1038/s41596-020-0387-4

Cover Art

Blind Researchers and the Pathologic Brain

Deng ZD

National Academy of Neuropsychology Bulletin, Spring 2020. e-digitaleditions.com/i/1241418-spring-issue


Not so fast: recent successes and failures in treating depression

Kadriu B, Deng ZD, Kraus C, Henter ID, Lisanby SH, Zarate CA Jr

J Clin Psychiatry, 81(4): 19ac13138, 2020. PMCID: PMC7681914. DOI: 10.4088/JCP.19ac13138

Clinical Trial

Electroconvulsive therapy pulse amplitude and clinical outcomes

Abbott CC, Quinn D, Miller J, Ye E, Iqbal S, Lloyd M, Jones TR, Upton J, Deng ZD, Erhardt E, McClintock SM

Am J Geriatr Psychiatry, 29(2): 166–178, 2021. PMCID: PMC7744398. DOI: 10.1016/j.jagp.2020.06.008

tDCS Modeling

Association between tDCS computational modeling and clinical outcomes in depression: data from the ELECT-TDCS trial

Suen PJC, Doll S, Batistuzzo MC, Busatto G, Razza LB, Padberg F, Mezger E, Bulubas L, Keeser D, Deng ZD, Brunoni AR

Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci, 271(1): 101–110, 2021. PMCID: PMC8100980. DOI: 10.1007/s00406-020-01127-w


Precision non-implantable neuromodulation therapies: a perspective for the depressed brain

Borrione L, Bellini H, Razza LB, Avila AG, Baeken C, Brem AK, Busatto G, Carvalho AF, Chekroud A, Daskalakis ZJ, Deng ZD, Downar J, Gattaz W, Loo C, Lotufo PA, Martin MDGM, McClintock SM, O'Shea J, Padberg F, Passos IC, Salum GA, Vanderhasselt MA, Fraguas R, Benseñor I, Valiengo L, Brunoni AR

Braz J Psychiatry, 42(4): 403–419, 2020. PMCID: PMC7430385. DOI: 10.1590/1516-4446-2019-0741

TMS Anxiety

Low-frequency parietal repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation reduces fear and anxiety

Balderston NL, Beydler EM, Goodwin M, Deng ZD, Radman T, Luber B, Lisanby SH, Ernst M, Grillon C

Transl Psychiatry, 10(1): 68, 2020. PMCID: PMC7026136. DOI: 10.1038/s41398-020-0751-8

TMS Anxiety

Mechanistic link between right prefrontal cortical activity and anxious arousal revealed using transcranial magnetic stimulation in healthy subjects

Balderston NL, Beydler EM, Roberts C, Deng ZD, Radman T, Lago T, Luber B, Lisanby SH, Ernst M, Grillon C

Neuropsychopharmacology, 45(4): 694–702, 2020. PMCID: PMC7021903. DOI: 10.1038/s41386-019-0583-5


Device-based modulation of neurocircuits as a therapeutic for psychiatric disorders

Deng ZD, Luber B, Balderston NL, Velez Afanador M, Noh MM, Thomas J, Altekruse WC, Exley SL, Awasthi S, Lisanby SH

Ann Rev Pharmacol Tox, 60: 591–614, 2020. PMCID: PMC8100981. DOI: 10.1146/annurev-pharmtox-010919-023253


Transcranial direct current stimulation applied to the dorsolateral and ventromedial prefrontal cortices in smokers modifies cognitive circuits implicated in the nicotine withdrawal syndrome

Aronson Fischell S, Ross TJ, Deng ZD, Salmeron BJ, Stein EA

Biol Psychiatry Cogn Neurosci Neuroimaging, 5(4): 448–460, 2020. PMCID: PMC7150637. DOI: 10.1016/j.bpsc.2019.12.020


The kynurenine pathway and bipolar disorder: intersection of the monoaminergic and glutamatergic systems and immune response

Kadriu B, Farmer CA, Yuan P, Park LT, Deng ZD, Henter ID, Shovestul B, Ballard ED, Kraus C, Machado-Vieira R, Zarate CA Jr, Moaddel R, Gold PW

Mol Psychiatry, 26(8): 4085–4095, 2021. PMCID: PMC7225078. DOI: 10.1038/s41380-019-0589-8

Clinical Trial

Neurocognitive effects of combined electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and venlafaxine in geriatric depression: Phase 1 of the PRIDE study

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

Am J Geriatr Psychiatry, 28(3): 304–316, 2020. PMCID: PMC7050408. DOI: 10.1016/j.jagp.2019.10.003


Neural and psychological predictors of cognitive enhancement and impairment due to neurostimulation

Yang LZ, Zhang W, Wang W, Yang Z, Wang H, Deng ZD, Li C, Qiu B, Zhang DR, Cohen Kadosh R, Li H, Zhang X

Adv Sci, 7(4): 1902863, 2020. PMCID: PMC7029648. DOI: 10.1002/advs.201902863

Clinical Trial

Utilizing transcranial direct current stimulation to enhance laparoscopic technical skills training: a randomized controlled trial

Cox ML, Deng ZD, Palmer H, Watts A, Beynel L, Young JR, Lisanby SH, Migaly J, Appelbaum LG

Brain Stimul, 13(3): 863–872, 2020. PMCID: PMC8474665. DOI: 10.1016/j.brs.2020.03.009



ECBSP, Zagreb. Croatia

Zhi presented at the 5th European Conference on Brain Stimulation in Psychiatry, panel on Beyond clinical syndromes: understanding mechanisms of neuromodulation from a dimensional perspective.



Brown University Butler Hospital

Zhi presented on Computational Model Driven Design for Brain Stimulation.



ECBSP, Virtual

Zhi presented at the 4th European Conference on Brain Stimulation in Psychiatry, panel on What can we learn from ECT: Insights from the GEMRIC consortium.



VA Boston

Zhi presented at the VA Boston-BU School of Medicine-Harvard Neuropsychiatry Translational Research Fellowship Seminar, on Precision Neurostimulation: History, Physics, Computational Modeling, and Engineering.



National Center of Neuromodulation for Rehabilitation, MUSC

Zhi presented on Model-Driven Design for Brain Stimulation Therapies.



University of Pennsylvania, Center for Neuromodulation in Depression and Stress

Zhi presented on Electromagnetic Brain Stimulation From Low to High Intensity.



University of Minnesota

Zhi presented at the Computational Modeling in Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation (NIBS) Workshop.

Youtube videos: here



Medical University of Vienna

Zhi presented at the MUV Neuroimaging Lab on Precision Seizure Therapy.


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+1 301 594 0387

10 Center Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892


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