Brain stimulation

Maximilian Kiebs M.Sc., M.Sc.
Mag. Clemens Mielacher
Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Silke Lux
Dr. med. Margaretha Klein

The brain stimulation working group is concerned with research into various brain stimulation methods for the treatment of mental illness. Primarily studies are carried out on electroconvulsive treatment, transcranial magnetic stimulation, transcranial direct current stimulation and vagus nerve stimulation in patients suffering from depression.

Fields of activity

  • Investigation of neuro- and electrophysiological changes (in particular neuroplasiticity and functional brain activity) caused by non-invasive brain stimulation as a treatment for depression and in particular their relation to clinical effect and potential adverse effects
  • Cognitive effects of non-invasive brain stimulation
  • Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in non-therapy refractory patients
  • Longitudinal study of physical and anaesthesiological parameters and their role in the success of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)

Current clinical studies

  • Vagus Nerve Stimulation Therapy (VNS Therapy®) for Patients with Difficult-to-Treat Depression (RESTORE-LIFE Study; Identifier: NCT03320304)
  • Prediction of the Cognitive Effects of Electroconvulsive Therapy Via Machine Learning and Neuroimaging (CoEffECT Study; Identifier: NCT03490149)
  • Resting-state Functional Connectivity Throughout a Course of iTBS in Major Depression (DepRest-Study; Identifier: NCT03944213)
  • Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in Pharmaco-naïve Patients With Major Depression (NAIV Study, Identifier: NCT04000022)

Other current research projects

  • Cognitive effects of non-surgical brain stimulation for major depressive disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis (PROSPERO registration number: CRD42018118850)
  • Longitudinal review of anesthesiological and physical parameters of electroconvulsive therapy and their relation to clinical development and undesired effects (in cooperation with Dr. Nils Freundlieb, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy - UKE Hamburg)
  • Comparison of the structural consequences of seizure events in epilepsy with the structural consequences of electroconvulsive therapy (in cooperation with Prof. Dr. med. Rainer Surges, MHBA & Dr. Theo Rüber; Clinic for Epileptology - UK Bonn)


  • NEMO Research Group - Karl-Jaspers Clinic Oldenburg (Prof. Dr. med. René Hurlemann, M.Sc. Ph.D.)
  • GEMRIC - The Global ECT-MRI Research Collaboration
    • Current Project: The role of brain plasticity and functional connectivity in altered memory performance after a course of electroconvulsive therapy
  • Department of MR Physics - DZNE Bonn (Prof. Dr. Tony Stöcker; Dr. Rüdiger Stirnberg)
  • Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre - Kings College London (Julian Mutz, M.Sc, M.Sc.)
  • Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy - UK Hamburg-Eppendorf (Dr. Nils Freundlieb)
  • Clinic for Epileptology - UK Bonn (Prof. Dr. med. Rainer Surges, MHBA & Dr. Theo Rüber)


  • Maximilian Kiebs, M.Sc., M.Sc. (
  • Clemens Mielacher (
  • Dr. Margaretha Klein (
  • Jessica Warnusz (medical thesis)
  • Luisa Wiedemann (medical thesis)
  • Max von Bargen (medical thesis)
  • Katleen Breede (medical thesis)
  • Tabea Stölting (medical thesis)
  • Nora Jakoby (medical thesis)
  • Max Kayser (medical thesis)
  • Akasha Runge (medical thesis)
  • Carolina Buchmann (medical thesis)
  • Andreas Bilo (medical thesis)
  • Larissa Graute (medical thesis)
  • Lea Köster (medical thesis)
  • Anna Metzner (medical thesis)
  • Laura Schmitt (medical thesis)


  • C Mielacher, J Schultz, M Kiebs, T Dellert, A Metzner, L Graute, H Hoegenauer, W Maier, C Lamm, R Hurlemann (2020). Individualized theta-burst stimulation modulates hippocampal plasticity in patients with major depressive disorder. Submitted.
  • M Kiebs, R Hurlemann, J Mutz (2019). Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation in non-treatment-resistant depression. In British Journal of Psychiatry 1-2 DOI: 10.1192/bjp.2019.75
  • M Kiebs, R Hurlemann, J Mutz (2019). Cognitive effects of non-surgical brain stimulation for major depressive disorder: Protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis. In BMJ Open 9(2). DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-023796
  • AK Brem, R Hurlemann, J Mutz, M Kiebs, AK Brem (2019). New avenues in brain stimulation treatments for major depression: Efficacy, acceptability, and translation of novel treatments into clinical practice. In L'Encéphale Volume 45, Supplement 2, S62, DOI: 10.1016/j.encep.2019.04.061.

Conference contributions

  • (no) rTMS in non-treatment refractory patients with depression. Findings from a meta-analysis. Lecture by M Kiebs at the ECBSP 2018 - 3rd European Conference on Brain Stimulation in Psychiatry (Lyon)
  • Once daily versus twice daily theta-burst stimulation in the treatment of major depressive disorders C Mielacher, M Kiebs, T Dellert, A Metzner, H Hoegenauer, J Schultz, C Lamm & R Hurlemann. Poster presented at 3rd International Brain Stimulation Conference 2019. Brain Stimulation 12(2):397. DOI: 10.1016/j.brs.2018.12.276
  • (no) rTMS in non-treatment refractory patients with depression. Findings from a meta-analysis M Kiebs, R Hurlemann, C H Y Fu & J Mutz. Poster presented at ECNP Congress 2018, European Neuropsychopharmacology Volume 29, Supplement 1, 2019, Pages S533-S534 DOI: 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2018.11.790

Possibilities for participation in the study

For our studies we are currently looking for patients and control subjects affected by depression. You can find an article about our treatment offer for rTMS as a depression treatment here:
Please click on the following link to find a list of all studies currently in progress at the clinic for which prospective students are still being sought.

Opportunities for internships and dissertations

Students who would like to write their master's or doctoral thesis on a topic in the field of clinical brain stimulation are welcome to contact