Gillick Pediatric Neuromodulation Lab

The Gillick Pediatric Neuromodulation Laboratory focuses on cortical plasticity and recovery from neurologic insult across the lifespan. The Laboratory research encompasses the use of different forms of non-invasive brain stimulation (transcranial magnetic stimulation and transcranial direct current stimulation), in combination with behavioral training, for improved motor function after brain injury.

  • Current Studies
  • Publications
  • Awards
  • Videos
  • Funding
  • Associated Facilities
  • Resources
  • Publications

    Gillick BT, Gordon AM, Feyma T, Krach LE, Carmel J, Rich TL, Bleyenheuft Y, Friel K. "Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation in Children with Unilateral Cerebral Palsy: A Protocol and Risk Mitigation Guide", Frontiers in Pediatrics, 2018, 6(56).

    Gillick B, Rich T, Nemanich S, Chen CY, Menk J, Mueller B, Chen M, Ward M, Meekins G, Feyma T, Krach L, Rudser K. Transcranial direct current stimulation and constraint-induced therapy in cerebral palsy: A randomized, blinded, sham-controlled clinical trial. Eur J Paediatr Neurol. 2018 May;22(3):358-368. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpn.2018.02.001. Epub 2018 Feb 11. PubMed PMID: 29456128; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5899638.

    Rich TL, Menk JS, Rudser KD, Feyma T, Gillick BT. Less-affected hand function in children with hemiparetic cerebral palsy: A comparison study to typically developing peers. Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2017 Oct-Nov;31(10-11):965-976.

    Rich T, Menk J, Rudser KD, Chen M, Meekins GD, Pena E, Feyma T, Bawroski K, Bush C, Gillick BT. “Determining electrode placement for transcranial direct current stimulation: A comparison of electroencephalogram versus transcranial magnetic stimulation-guided methods”. Clinical EEG and Neuroscience. 2017 Nov;48(6):367-375.

    Bikson M, Grossman P, Zannou AL, Kronberg G, Truong D, Boggio P, Brunoni AR, Charvet L, Fregni F, Fritsch B, Gillick B, Hamilton RH, Hampstead BM, Kirton A, Knotkova H, Liebetanz D, Liu A, Loo C, Nitsche MA, Reis J, Richardson JD, Rotenberg A, Turkeltaub PE, Woods AJ. Response to letter to the editor: Safety of transcranial direct current stimulation: Evidence based update 2016. Brain Stimul. 2017 Sep - Oct;10(5):986-987. doi: 10.1016/j.brs.2017.06.007. Epub 2017 Jul 12. PubMed PMID: 28734680.

    Chen CY, McGee C, Rich T, Prudente C, Gillick BT. “Reference Values of Intrinsic Muscle Strength of the Hand of Adolescents and Young Adults”. Journal of Hand Therapy, 2017 Aug 12. pii: S0894-1130(17)30016-9.

    Chen CY, Georgieff M, Elison J, Chen, M, Stinear J, Mueller, B, Rao, R, Rudser K, Gillick B. Understanding Brain Reorganization in Infants with Perinatal Stroke through neuroexcitability and Neuroimaging: Study Protocol. Pediatric Physical Therapy. 2017 April; 29(2): 173-178.

    Froehle E, Gillick B. "Research" what you say: I did not suffer a stroke., I survived one. Journal of Humanities in Rehabilitation. November 30, 2016.

    Chen CY, Rich TR, Cassidy JM, Gillick BT. Corticospinal Excitability in Children with Congenital Hemiparesis. Brain Sci. 2016 Oct; 20; 6(4).

    Bikson M, Grossman P, Thomas C, Zannou AL, Jiang J, Adnan T, Mourdoukoutas AP, Kronberg G, Truong D, Boggio P, Brunoni AR, Charvet L, Fregni F, Fritsch B, Gillick B, Hamilton RH, Hampstead BM, Jankord R, Kirton A, Knotova H, Liebetanz D, Liu A, Loo C, Nitsche MA, Reis J, Richardson JD, Rotenberg A, Turkeltaub PE, Woods, AJ. Safety of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation: Evidence Based Update 2016. Brain Stimulation,  2016 Sep-Oct; 9(5):641-61.

    Rich T, Cassidy J, Menk J, Heest AV, Krach L, Carey J, Gillick BT. Stability of stereognosis after pediatric repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation and constraint-induced movement therapy clinical trial. Developmental Neurorehabilitation. 2016 Mar. 17:1-4.

    Rich TL, Menk J, Krach LE, Feyma T, Gillick BT. Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation/Behavioral Intervention Clinical Trial: Long-Term Follow-Up of Outcomes in Congenital Hemiparesis. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology. 2016 Sep. 26(7); 598-605.

    Gillick BT, Rich T, Chen M, Meekins GD. Case report of vasovagal syncope associated with single pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation in a healthy adult participant. BMC Neurol. 2015 Dec 1;15:248. doi: 10.1186/s12883-015-0510-2. PubMed PMID: 26627895; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4666029.

    Gillick B, Menk J, Mueller B, Meekins G, Krach LE, Feyma T, Rudser K. Synergistic Effect of Combined transcranial Direct Current Stimulation/Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy in Children and Young Adults with Hemiparesis: Study Protocol. BMC Pediatrics. 2015. 15(178); 1-10.

    Cassidy JM, Carey JR, Lu C, Krach LE, Feyma T, Gillick BT.  Ipsilesional Motor-Evoked Potential Absence in Pediatric Hemiparesis Impacts Tracking Accuracy of the Less Affected Hand, Research in Developmental Disabilities, 2015;47: 154-164.

    • Summary: In this study, we evaluated the children from our repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS)/Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT) clinical trial using MRI, a finger tracking task, and TMS testing.  TMS testing allows us a “window into the brain” to learn if the child has preserved corticospinal tract input to the more-affected hand.  We learned that the group of children who had preserved corticospinal tract input (identified with a motor evoked potential on their lesioned hemisphere), had greater volumes in brain structures as compared to the group of children who did not have preserved corticospinal tracts. The difference in volumes was associated with reduced ability to accurately complete a finger tracking task with their less-affected hand. 

    Gillick BT, Feyma T, Menk J, Usset M, Vaith A, Wood, T. Worthington R, Krach LE. Safety and Feasibility of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in Pediatric Hemiparesis: A Randomized, Controlled Pilot Study. Physical Therapy. 2015; 95(3):337-349.

    • Summary: Pilot study incorporating our computerized modeling outcomes to investigate safety and feasibility using a form of non-invasive brain stimulation called transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS). TDCS has not previously been investigated in children with hemiparesis. No serious adverse events occurred, and no decline in cognitive or motor function was found. Minor adverse events are described.

    Gillick BT, Kirton A, Carmel J, Minhas P, Bikson M. Pediatric Stroke and transcranial Direct Current Stimulation: Methods for Rational Individualized Dose Optimization. Frontiers of Neuroscience. 2014 sep. 19; 8:739.

    • Summary: Study which created a computerized model of a brain in order to establish optimal safety for the dose of non-invasive brain stimulation called transcranial direct current stimulation

    Gillick, BT, Krach LE, Feyma T, Rich TR, Moberg KJ, Menk J, Cassidy J, Kimberley T, Carey JR. Safety of primed repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation and modified constraint-induced movement therapy in a randomized controlled trial in pediatric hemparesis. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2015 Apr; 96(4 Suppl):S104-13.

    • Summary: Expansion of description from our original publication, specific to safety. No serious adverse events occurred in our rTMS/CIMT study which used a form of non-invasive brain stimulation called repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation combined with constraint--induced therapy. The procedures we used to work with establishing and analyzing safety in our study and minor adverse events which are further described.

    In response: A commentary article - Hoare, B. Putting some excitement into constraint-induced movement therapy. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology. 2014; 56(1)5-6 doi:10.1111/dmcn.12272

    • Summary: Comments from an international expert on the novelty and outcomes related to our work.

    Gillick BT, Krach LE, Feyma T, Rich TL, Moberg K, Thomas W, Cassidy JM, Menk J, Carey JR. Primed Low-Frequency Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy Randomized Trial for Pediatric Hemiparesis. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology. 2014; 56(1):44-52 PMID: 23962321.

    • Summary: Description of the changes in hand function and other measures in our rTMS/CIMT study. This study used a form of non-invasive brain stimulation called repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) combined with constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT). We found that this intervention was well-tolerated and that 8 of 10 children in the intervention group showed significant improvements in hand function. No serious adverse events occurred, with the most common minor adverse events being headache and cast irritation which resolved within 24 hours.

    Gillick, BT, Zirpel L. Neuroplasticity: An Appreciation From Synapse to System. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2012; 93(10): 1846-55. PMID: 22613094.

    • Summary: Discussion of neuroplasticity (the brain's ability to change).
  • Awards

    McKnight Land-Grant Professor (2017-2019)
    New Mexico Brain Injury Conference, Plenary Speaker
    American Physical Therapy Association, Eugene Michels New Investigator Award
    Representative, Global Professional Education Committee, Int'l Alliance of Academies of Childhood Disability

    President Kaler/MnDRIVE Press Conference Speaker to MN Legislature
    MN Governor Dayton Pediatric Stroke Awareness Month May 2016 Proclamation Co-Author
    Australian Consulate Cerebral Palsy Alliance Award, NYC, NY

    NIH Fellowship: Randomized Behavioral Clinical Trials
    American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine 2015 Plenary Speaker

    AAMC Early Career Women Faculty Professional Development Seminar - University of Minnesota Medical School Representative
    Developmental Medicine Child Neurology Journal - Editor's Choice Manuscript

    American Physical Therapy Association Section on Pediatrics - Best Dissertation Award
    Keynote 2013 Graduation Speaker - Doctor of Physical Therapy

    Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation - Top 25 Article Summer 2012
    University of Minnesota Clinical and Translational Science Institute - Best Poster Award

  • Funding

    Novel Neuromodulatory Intervention in the Rehabilitation of Pediatric Hemiparesis

    Funding: NIH K01 Career Development Award from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
    Timeline: September 2014- June 2019
    Project Goals: Evaluate the safety and efficacy of combined tDCS/CIMT in children with hemiparesis; and examine the influence of combined tDCS/CIMT on brain excitability and reorganization
    Dr. Gillick's role: Principal Investigator

    The Alberta Perinatal Stroke Program: Neuromodulation to Optimize Outcomes

    Funding: Canadian Institutes of Health Research
    Timeline: July 2015-June 2022
    Dr. Gillick's role: Co-investigator

    Comparing Two Montages of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in Pediatric Stroke

    Funding: National Center of Neuromodulation for Rehabilitation Pilot Project Program
    Timeline: July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019
    Project Goals: This study will examine the effects of two different applications of transcranial direct current stimulation on brain excitability in children with unilateral cerebral palsy
    Dr. Gillick's Role: Principal Investigator

    Rehabilitation Early for Congenital Hemiplegia (REACH) Study

    Funding: Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12615000180516)
    Dr. Gillick's Role: Co-I (PI:Boyd)

    Comparing two montages of transcranial direct current stimulation in unilateral cerebral palsy
    UMN Medical School Faculty Research Award
    June 1, 2018-May 31, 2019
    Project Goals: This study will examine the effects of two different applications of transcranial direct current stimulation on brain excitability in children with unilateral cerebral palsy
    Dr. Gillick's Role: Principal Investigator

    Establishing a computational noninvasive neuromodulation consortium at the U of Minnesota
    UMN Institute for Engineering in Medicine
    May 14, 2018-May 14, 2019
    Dr. Gillick' Role: Co-I (PI:Opitz)

    Development of Interactive Software for use in Pediatric Stroke Rehabilitation
    UMN Office of Discovery and Translation Community Discovery Program for Child Health Innovation
    January 1, 2018-December 31, 2018
    Dr. Gillick's Role: Co-I, Clinical Research Advisor (PI: John Ferguson)

    Previous Funding

  • Associated Facilities

    Gillick Lab (map)
    Room 320
    426 Church St. SE
    Minneapolis, MN 55455-0222

    Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (map)
    2021 Sixth Street SE
    Minneapolis, MN 55455

    Center for Neurobehavioral Development (map)
    717 Delaware Street SE, Ste. 333
    Minneapolis, MN 55414

    Clinical & Translational Science Institute (map)
    Masonic Memorial Building
    424 Harvard Street SE
    Minneapolis, MN 55455

  • Resources

    Calgary Pediatric Stroke Program provides children with cerebrovascular disease and their families with state-of-the-art diagnosis, treatment, and support while providing the opportunity to participate in leading clinical research initiatives.

    Cerebral Palsy Research Registry is a multi-institutional collaborative effort whose primary mission is to improve our understanding of cerebral palsy.

    Children's Hemiplegia and Stroke Association exists to help children who have survived an early brain injury that results in hemiplegia or hemiparesis (weakness on one side of the body. is a registry and results database of publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants conducted around the world. is a service of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

    International Alliance for Pediatric Stroke offers the needed resources, support, inspiration, knowledge and information that will empower you to better understand pediatric stroke.

    Research Match is a free and secure registry developed by major academic institutions across the country who want to involve you in helping today's research studies make a real difference for everyone's health in the future.


Spark For Autism's Sensory Friendly Santa and Family Photos - Sharing an event from the Suma Jacob Lab at the Center for Neurobehavioral Development. The event is being held on Dec. 9th and 16th, 12-4pm. See the flyer here for more information. 

National Institutes of Health (NIH) - The NIH highlighted Dr. Gillick's NIH K01 research project Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation and Constraint-Induced Therapy in Cerebral Palsy  Over 50 investigators and collaborators contributed to this research, with the dedication of 20 enrolled children and their families from across the United States.

NEW STUDY! “Brain Stimulation and Function” for children and young adults 7-21 years. Click HERE for more details.

Dr. Gillick, McKnight Land-Grant Professor, has been named a Representative on the Global Professional Education Committee for the International Alliance of Academies of Childhood Disability. This Alliance represents the American/Canadian, Australasian and European Academies of Cerebral Palsy, Developmental Medicine and Childhood Disability. Her role will involve promoting a global standard of multi-disciplinary education and dissemination surrounding interventions for children with disabilities and their families. In addition, Dr. Gillick has been awarded the Eugene Michels Outstanding New Investigator Award from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). This national award recognizes outstanding contributions to research related to the physical therapy profession.

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