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, 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, Ryman S, 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, 2022. 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 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. PMCID: PMC9983870. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3001999

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, 2021. PMCID: PMC7895836. DOI: 10.1016/j.nicl.2021.102581

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


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


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



Sydney, Australia

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.



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.



Lisbon, Portugal

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



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.


Keep in Touch

+1 301 594 0387

10 Center Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892


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