Dr. Seth Hays, PhD

The research of Dr. Hays, a neuroscientist and research manager at the Targeted Neuroplasticity Lab at the University of Texas Biomedical Device Center, includes use of the neural portal of the ear for rehabilitative therapies via Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) applied by electro-neuromodulatory stimulation devices.


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WATCH VIDEO on discussion of Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) to compare and contrast neuromodulatory approaches, and how VNS research may further support the clinical observations made over decades of Auricular Medicine practice.


Dr. Hays is leading neuroscientific research into the wandering nerve and neuroplasticity...

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VNS to enhance rehabilitative therapies

Mounting evidence from pilot clinical trials show the promise of VNS-based targeted plasticity therapies, discusses current uses and potential future applications of VNS-based targeted plasticity therapies, and outlines challenges for clinical implementation.
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Award-winning investigator in stroke

“My research is mostly focused on using the ability of the brain to change,” says Dr. Hays. “We’re trying to…capitalize on that ability to drive changes in the treat a variety of neurological disorders...from stroke to traumatic brain injuries...and hopefully autism”
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Targeted neural plasticity has potential to transform the ways in which neurological diseases are treated, but the complex dynamics of plasticity processes make it challenging to control. New techniques to harness plasticity using VNS may overcome this.
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Potential adjuvant to behavioral therapy

VNS paired with behavioral therapy may represent a potential new approach to enhance rehabilitation that could significantly improve the outcomes of individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorders.

Bio | Dr. Seth Hays, PhD

Managing researcher at the Targeted Neuroplasticity Lab at the Texas Biomedical Device Center
Dr. Hays received his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 2007. In 2012, he completed his Ph.D. in neuroscience from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center under the direction of Dr. Kimberly Huber and Dr. Jay Gibson. Dr. Hays is a member of the Society for Neuroscience and the American Heart Association.
Assistant professor • Neuroscientist • Researcher

In the words of Dr. Hays, “The targeted neuroplasticity lab employs elements of neuroscience and biomedical engineering to develop treatments for human disease. My primary research focus is enhancing neuroplasticity, or the ability of the brain to change, in order to treat neurological disease. The majority of current studies evaluate the ability of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), a putative targeted plasticity therapy, to improve recovery in models of motor dysfunction. We are rigorously testing VNS to enhance recovery in models of ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke bearing complicating factors observed in the clinical population of stroke patients, such as advanced age. With our collaborators, VNS therapy is currently under investigation in stroke patients.

In addition to further development of targeted plasticity therapy, we are investigating the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie this recovery. These experiments employ biochemical, histological, and electrophysiological methods to probe cellular and synaptic reorganization within relevant circuitry. We are also beginning to apply targeted plasticity therapy to additional models of motor and cognitive dysfunction, including traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury.”[1]
[1] Seth Hays bio. UT Dallas Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science Department of Bioengineering. Accessed Nov 14, 2023.