Mindfulness has many potential benefits, but it is often difficult to maintain a practice to reach those rewards.

At SEMA Lab, we are investigating a way to modulate the brain networks associated with mindfulness skills to enhance equanimity and deepen practice. Our research has given us a better understanding of how a novel modulation technique called transcranial focused ultrasound (tFUS) can modulate the Default Mode Network and alter subjective experience.

Our work is furthered through new research on long-term meditators, meditation training protocols paired with tFUS, and, soon to come, an application of tFUS in a naturalistic retreat setting.




Crowdfunding Supports Groundbreaking Research

Many of you donated to the $68,000 crowdfunding campaign, which resulted in SEMA Lab being the first lab to non-invasively modulate the Default Mode Network (DMN) activity, an area involved in learning mindfulness.

Our researchers used a new form of non-invasive brain stimulation called transcranial focused ultrasound (tFUS). We were the first lab to modulate (temporarily change) DMN activity in human participants with non-invasive brain stimulation. Our hypothesis was that temporarily reducing DMN connectivity with ultrasound would enhance state mindfulness. SEMA Lab successfully and safely reduced DMN activity (n = 30), and those participants who had a change in DMN connectivity (figure below) also reported increased mindfulness. This exciting finding serves as the foundation for using low-energy focused ultrasound to safely enhance mindfulness training. SEMA’s first graduate student, Brian Lord, presented these findings at the Focused Ultrasound Neuromodulation (FUN) conference in Mainz, Germany. The manuscript is in preparation for submission in a major peer-reviewed journal.