Computational modelling of the effects and side-effects of transcranial magnetic stimulation

Maria Drakaki

Research focus 
The project goal is to develop and validate the first quantitative computational model to commonly estimate the physiological effects and side-effect of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). The model will be used to objectively compare commercial products and their suitability for selected applications.

TMS uses electromagnetic induction via a coil to create an electric field that stimulates nerve cells in the brain through the intact skull. It has several established and many emerging applications in the diagnostic and treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders. However, the optimization of TMS systems for specific medical applications still relies mainly on experience and intuition, hampering systematic product development and evaluation.

The spatial extent of the created electric field and its temporal waveform are two key parameters of TMS systems. Prior research has focused on how to determine the physiological effect on brain activity, but little is known about how undesired side-effects relate to them.

The project is a collaboration between DTU and Magventure A/S (, which is a medical device company. Established in 2007, Magventure specializes in non-invasive magnetic stimulation systems for depression treatment as well as for clinical examination and research in the areas of neurophysiology, neurology, cognitive neuroscience, rehabilitation and psychiatry. A third partner is Danish Research Centre for Magnetic Resonance at Hvidovre Hospital ( which provides important infrastructure to the project.

TMS has many important applications in clinical diagnostics and treatment as well as in brain research. Examples include the treatment of Major Depressive Disorders (FDA approved) and neuropathic pain, or the mapping of motor and language brain areas before tumor resection.

In neuroscience research, TMS is an important complement to functional neuroimaging methods in humans, as it can be used to causally test whether a brain region contributes to a specific behavioral function, which would otherwise require invasive experiments in animals. 

Scientific output 
Find Maria's publications at DTU's online research database ORBIT

The Industrial PhD project is funded by Innovation Fund Denmark. 

Assoc Prof Axel Thielscher, Assoc Prof Kristoffer Hougaard Madsen, Franz Bødker.

Project period 
October 2018 - September 2021





Maria Drakaki
PhD student
DTU Health Tech