Waters Laboratory

Waters Laboratory

Psychophysiology & Neuromodulation


The mission of the Waters Lab is to make brains more accessible to themselves through the development of individualized brain read-outs to enhance treatment for patients, and to promote wellness in non-clinical populations. Our primary method of inquiry is brain electrophysiology and related analytic strategies, applied to brain circuit dysfunction and associated psychiatric symptoms. Our group is embedded in the Center for Advanced Circuit Therapeutics where the shared mission is to advance treatment with deep brain stimulation for psychiatric and neurological indications, including treatment resistant depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Tourette syndrome, Parkinson’s disease and other conditions.

Join our team: Job Opportunities


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Allison C. Waters, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry,
Assistant Professor of Neuroscience


Electrophysiological biomarkers to optimize deep brain stimulation (DBS) for treatment resistant depression

The goal of this project is to refine and optimize DBS of the subcallosal cingulate white matter for patients with treatment resistant depression.  We pair non-invasive electroencephalography with a newly available bi-directional neuromodulation system that allows live streaming of brain electrical activity at the site of stimulation. This research will provide evidence-based strategies for target identification and stimulation initiation, as well as long-term monitoring and management of patients receiving this treatment.

Individualized brain mapping with deep brain stimulation evoked potentials

Some treatments with DBS target specific neuronal pathways (i.e., white matter fibers). Electric fields generated by the cortical response to brain stimulation can be used as a measure of “effective connectivity” in the brain. We are investigating how these stimulation-induced connectivity measures can be used to confirm DBS target engagement in white matter architecture and to instruct optimal DBS programming for individual patients

Divergent attitudes about brain implants for movement, mentation or mood: rational concern or thinking error?

Misunderstanding of moral concerns about the application of DBS to psychiatric problems is a critical barrier to effective dissemination, construction of relevant policy and development of rehabilitative services that surround the DBS experience. Our research seeks to understand the mechanisms (e.g., dualistic thinking errors) that give rise to discrepancies in comfort with DBS for motor, mood or cognitive symptoms, as well demographic moderators of concern (i.e., consumer / public). Particularly as we build regulations around closed-loop systems, policies guiding DBS for movement disorders may not be sufficient to address public concerns about neurotechnology-mediated changes in mood and cognition.

Human electrophysiological mechanisms of the rapid antidepressant response to ketamine

Treatment resistant depression (TRD) represents a severe and disabling condition characterized by significant functional impairment, non-response to conventional antidepressants, and a high risk for suicide. Complementary mechanisms of action are attributed to successful treatment of TRD with deep brain stimulation (DBS) or ketamine. The proposed research will test if an EEG-derived biomarker of the antidepressant response to DBS also predicts outcomes following ketamine infusion. Results will provide critical rationale for a novel treatment approach that enhances DBS efficacy with a combined ketamine-DBS approach.

Electrophysiological Read-Out of Interoceptive Processing in the Insula

Interoception, or sensation from inside the body, is involved in a variety of clinical symptoms, such as tics, compulsive urges and pervasive negative mood. This study uses invasive recordings of brain activity and brain stimulation to better understand basic neural mechanisms of interoception and related behaviors. Outcomes of this study provide critical tools for future investigation into clinical symptoms that implicate interoceptive brain circuits.   


We are looking for volunteers for an EEG (electroencephalography) study located at Mount Sinai West. The purpose of this research study is to create a measure of brain activity in the insula. The insula is the part of the brain that is responsible for the way we feel sensations inside our body. An example of an internal body sensation is our heartbeat. In total, 40 adult individuals will be recruited to participate in this study.

YOU are eligible to participate in this study, if you… 
• Are between ages of 18 -60 years old
• Are right-handed
• Are a fluent English speaker
• Are not allergic to latex or shampoo
• Have normal to corrected normal vision
• Do not have hair weaves, braids, deadlocks or other hair styles 
that will limit electrode contact with your head surface

Participant Benefits:
• You may not see any direct benefit from your participation in this study
• We will gladly show you your brain waves!
• Your EEG recording is for research purposes, there will be no medical diagnosis or treatment

If interested, this study will take no more than 90 minutes of your time and you will be compensated $15. Research takes place at Mount Sinai West, 1000 10th Avenue, 10th floor Room 10G-42. The principal investigator for this study is Dr. Allison Waters. Contact mountsinaieeg@gmail.com for more information.



Elisa Xu, B.A.
Lab Manager

Jacqueline A Overton, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Researcher

Laureen Pagan
Program Manager

Samantha Pitts, B.S. BME
Signal Analyst

Allison C. Waters, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Assistant of Professor Neuroscience


R21MH126968-02, PI
Electrophysiological Read-Out of Interoceptive Processing in the Insula

R01MH123542, Co-I
Connectomic deep brain stimulation for obsessive compulsive disorder

R01MH102238, Co-I
Pathway specific targeting in subcallosal cingulate deep brain stimulation for depression

Nash Family Research Scholar Award, PI
How we feel inside (and out): decoding interoceptive inputs to mood with simultaneous depth and surface recording of human brain electrophysiology

Nash Family Research Scholar Award, PI
Ketamine plus deep brain stimulation for severe treatment-resistant depression: Identifying synergistic brain mechanisms to advance novel treatment discovery

NARSAD Young Investigator Grant, PI
A personalized cortical read-out of deep brain stimulation for obsessive-compulsive disorder

UH3 NS103550-01, Co-I
Electrophysiological biomarkers to optimize deep brain stimulation for depression

UH3 NS103550-01 S1, Co-I
Divergent concerns over deep brain stimulation for treatment of motor, mood, or cognitive symptoms