Research Profile: Jeffrey Arle, MD, PhD

Jeffrey Arle, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School


Associate Chief, Neurosurgery

Research Group

Kristen Carlson
LZ Mei, MS
Jay Shils, PhD

Research Focus

Our research efforts have focused on computational modeling of neural stimulation and circuitry related to devices and therapies used in neuromodulation. These therapies include deep brain stimulation (DBS), spinal cord stimulation (SCS), vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), motor cortex stimulation (MCS), and other related aspects of neural processing. Modeling has included circuitry models of the basal ganglia in Parkinson’s disease and the DBS electrode in a discrete solution, M1 and S1 regions of cortex with cortico-thalamic processing, three-dimensional modeling of the activating function and fibers of passage, and patterns of stimulation and power in tremor control.

More recently, we have focused on mechanisms of action to treat chronic pain using high frequency and burst type spinal cord stimulation as well as work showing how computational models of neural circuitry can be used to help streamline new drug development in major depressive disorder. We have also worked on a new analysis of theoretical changes in information processing in axons of passage through regions using deep brain stimulation in Parkinson’s disease and other disorders. Our work has been presented this past year at the International Neuromodulation Society meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland, the Neuromodulation Society of New Zealand and Australia in Adelaide, Australia, the International Society of Intraoperative Neurophysiology in Seoul, South Korea, the North American Neuromodulation Society meeting in Las Vegas, NV, and the Spine Intervention Society meeting in San Francisco, CA.

In these recent efforts, we have further developed and refined our hypothesis on how high frequency stimulation systems modulate axons, both in suppressing or blocking them as well as in stimulating them. We continue to examine the fundamental mechanisms of neuromodulation therapies, an area of rapidly developing technology and innovation. This work has also been, and continues to be, generously funded by the Sydney Family Foundation in addition to internal funding through the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Department of Surgery.

Accomplishments 2016-2017

Organizational and Academic Work
  • Appointed Co-chair of the Research and Scientific Policy Committee for the International Neuromodulation Society
  • Appointed Board Member of the International Society of Intraoperative Neurophysiology
  • Continued as a member of the North American Neuromodulation Society (NANS) Policy and Advocacy Committee
  • Appointed as member of the Epilepsy Foundation of New England Patient Advisory Board
  • Continued as Associate Editor at Neurosurgery
  • Appointed Associate Editor at Neuromodulation
Invited Presentations and Meetings
  • International Neuromodulation Society meeting, Edinburgh, Scotland, 2017
  • Neuromodulation Society of New Zealand and Australia, Adelaide, Australia, 2017
  • International Society of Intraoperative Neurophysiology, Seoul, South Korea, 2017
  • North American Neuromodulation Society meeting, Las Vegas, NV, 2017
  • Spine Intervention Society meeting, San Francisco, CA, 2017

Selected Research Support

The Sydney Family Foundation

Selected Publications

Lytton WW, Arle J, Bobashev G, Ji S, Klassen TL, Marmarelis VZ, Schwaber J, Sherif MA, Sanger TD. Multiscale modeling in the clinic: Diseases of the brain and nervous system. Brain Inform 2017;4(4):219-230.

Arle JE and Carlson KW. The use of dynamic computational models of neural circuitry to streamline new drug development. Drug Discovery Today 2016;19:69-75.

Deer TR, Lamer TJ, Pope JE, Falowski SM, Provenzano DA, Slavin K, Golovac S, Arle J, Rosenow JM, Williams K, McRoberts P, Narouze S, Eldabe S, Lad SP, De Andrés JA, Buchser E, Rigoard P, Levy RM, Simpson B, Mekhail N. The Neurostimulation Appropriateness Consensus Committee (NACC) safety guidelines for the reduction of severe neurological Injury. Neuromodulation 2017;20(1):15-30.

Arle JE, Carlson KW, Mei L. Investigation of mechanisms of vagus nerve stimulation for seizure using finite element modeling. Epilepsy Res 2016;126:109-18.

Arle JE, Mei L, Carlson KW, Shils JL. High-frequency stimulation of dorsal column axons: Potential underlying mechanism of paresthesia-free neuropathic pain relief. Neuromodulation 2016;19(4):385-97.

Arle JE, Mei LZ, Carlson KW and Shils JL. Theoretical effect of DBS on axonal fibers of passage: Firing rates, entropy, and information content. Stereo Funct Neurosurg 2018;96(1):1-12.