Who are we and what do we do?

The Woods Lab is an interventional cognitive neuroscience lab that specializes in discovery and implementation of novel non-invasive interventions to treat age-related conditions and disorders. Our lab is a part of the Center for Cognitive Aging and Memory Clinical Translational Research (CAM) in the McKnight Brain Institute at the University of Florida. The lab is based on a clinical translational science model, taking science from bench to bedside. Using basic science to discover and understand the mechanisms of action underlying new interventions, we then translate this work into human application in the form of Phase I, II and III randomized clinical trials. Over the past ten years, much of our work has focused on methods of non-invasive neuromodulation. At present, the Woods Lab oversees 9.1 million dollars in research funding, primarily from the National Institutes of Health. The lab currently runs not only the first ever Phase III multisite randomized clinical trial for transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), but also several ongoing Phase II tDCS trials focused on remediating age-related cognitive decline, altering the trajectory of decline leading to dementia and addressing age-related conditions (e.g., chronic pain). In addition, our current work extends to interventions using transcranial photobiomodulation (tPBM), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) as novel methods for remediating cognitive aging. Other facets of our work involve the investigation of intermittent hypoxia as a method for inducing neuroplastic change in brain tissue as well as nutraceuticals targeting mitochondrial function and neuroinflammation in the aging brain. Central to both the mechanistic and clinical trial work in the Woods Lab, multimodal neuroimaging provides not only important insight in the mechanism of intervention effects, but also predictors of treatment outcome and critical markers of intervention efficacy on brain health. The lab maintains expertise in structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging, diffusion weighted imaging, fluid attenuated inversion recovery, and proton and phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Leveraging the HiperGator super-computing infrastructure, our lab maintains a high-throughput framework for semi-automated parallelized processing of multimodal neuroimaging data. Finally, the lab also maintains a state-of-the-art human electrophysiology suite to provide precise temporal resolution for mechanistic and trial outcome insight using both electroencephalography (EEG) and event-related potential (ERP) methods. Pairing these tools with an exceptional team of researchers, students and staff, we are working to identify and implement cutting-edge interventions to make a meaningful impact on public health.