Skip to main content
Menu
Tim Dension

Professor

Tim Denison DPhil

RAE Chair in Emerging Technologies

Department of Engineering Science

Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences

Biography

Professor Denison holds a Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Emerging Technologies. At Oxford, he explores the fundamentals of physiologic closed-loop systems. Prior to Oxford, Tim was the Vice President of Research & Core Technology for the Restorative Therapies Group of Medtronic, where he helped oversee the design of next generation neural interface and algorithm technologies for the treatment of neurological disorders.

In 2012, he was awarded membership to the Bakken Society, Medtronic’s highest scientific honor, and in 2014 he was awarded the Wallin leadership award (only the second person in Medtronic history to receive both awards). In 2015, he was a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering.

Tim received an A.B. in Physics from The University of Chicago, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from MIT. Recently, he completed his MBA as a Wallman Scholar at Booth, The University of Chicago.

He is a Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Emerging Technologies for his work on brain engineering.

Other Roles

  • Director: Amber Therapeutics (2021-), Bioinduction Ltd (2023-), Finetech Medical Ltd (2023-)
  • Advisory Board, Cortec Neuro (2022-2025); Non-executive Chairman, MINT Neurotechnologies (2022-)
  • Member, British Standards Institute, 60601-1-10 (Physiologic Control Systems) Committee
  • Chair, Knowledge Transfer Network Neurotechnology Working Group (2019-2021)
  • Royal Society Working Group on Neurotechnology (2018-2023)
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Neural Engineering (2016-present); International Advisory Board, Lancet Digital Health (2020-present)

Most Recent Publications

A platform for brain network sensing and stimulation with quantitative behavioral tracking: Application to limbic circuit epilepsy.

A platform for brain network sensing and stimulation with quantitative behavioral tracking: Application to limbic circuit epilepsy.

Altmetric score is

Acute to long-term characteristics of impedance recordings during neurostimulation in humans

Acute to long-term characteristics of impedance recordings during neurostimulation in humans

Altmetric score is

Pre-existing oscillatory activity as a condition for sub-harmonic entrainment of finely tuned gamma in Parkinson's disease.

Pre-existing oscillatory activity as a condition for sub-harmonic entrainment of finely tuned gamma in Parkinson's disease.

Altmetric score is

Definition of Implanted Neurological Device Abandonment: A Systematic Review and Consensus Statement.

Definition of Implanted Neurological Device Abandonment: A Systematic Review and Consensus Statement.

Altmetric score is

Multi-night cortico-basal recordings reveal mechanisms of NREM slow-wave suppression and spontaneous awakenings in Parkinson's disease

Multi-night cortico-basal recordings reveal mechanisms of NREM slow-wave suppression and spontaneous awakenings in Parkinson's disease

Altmetric score is
View all

Research Interests

We are creating a new generation of physiology-inspired devices for restoring functionality to the nervous system. Our team works at the intersection of microelectronics, control systems, systems physiology, and health economics to advance bioelectronic therapies for neurological disorders. Our mission is to design and deploy pioneering instrumentation that enables first-in-human clinical neuroscience. These research instruments also serve as prototypes for therapy translation, enabling an assessment of the risks and economic factors to support successful approval by regulators and adoption by health services. Our work mostly falls within the “technology demonstration” (TRL5 to 6) of technology readiness levels in the NASA framework.

Our vision is to provide pragmatic therapies for intractable conditions such as generalized epilepsy, chronic pain, and disorders of consciousness, and make them available to the UK’s National Health Service and the world.

Our current research falls into three broad themes:

“Smart” Implants: improving the efficacy of implantable bioelectronic therapy systems in the central and peripheral nervous system through novel physiologic closed-loop control methods. We are currently supporting four active clinical studies*;

Non-invasive therapies: minimising therapy invasiveness through advancing transcranial magnetic stimulation, and probing and modulating brain activity with headsets that enable targeted memory reactivation; and

Resource-limited Neurotech: the development of hardware and algorithms for deployment in resource-limited healthcare ecosystems in partnership with universities across the globe. Researchers interested in joining our laboratory should take a “systems perspective” for tackling problems that are hard, but important. A clinician-partner is involved in every project we undertake.

The research group is based at the Institute for Biomedical Engineering in the Department of Engineering Science. We maintain connections with many other research groups across Oxford, in the United Kingdom and internationally. Our current collaborations include the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences and the Surgical Intervention Trials Unit in Oxford, Imperial College London, The Surrey Sleep Research Centre, University College London – Great Ormond Street Hospital, King’s College London, and the Mayo Clinic in the USA. We are also founding members of the NIH-funded OpenMind consortium, where we support open-source quality management systems and deployment of first-in-human class 3 devices for the NIH BRAIN initiative. The group carries out this distinct programme of research within the MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit at Oxford, where we support translational bioengineering. The lab’s activities are funded by organisations including The Royal Academy of Engineering, DARPA, MRC, NIH, Wellcome Trust, LifeArc, Moulton Trust, and industry collaborators.

* Active and completed clinical trials:

Active:

Efficacy of Pain Intervention With Deep Brain Stimulation Neuromodulation (EPIONE), NCT06387914

Children’s Adaptive Deep Brain Stimulation for Epilepsy Trial (CADET): Pilot (CADET Pilot), NCT05437393

MotIoN aDaptive Deep Brain Stimulation for MSA (MINDS), NCT05197816

Technical advice: Simpler and Safer Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson’s Disease (SPARKS), NCT03837314

Completed:

Manipulating and Optimising Brain Rhythms for Enhancement of Sleep (MORPHEUS), NCT05011773

Current Projects

  • Open Mind: A collaboration supporting a bi-directional brain-machine-interface research tool for the BRAIN initiative.
  • MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit: Programme leader in translational bioengineering
  • Picostim DyNeuMo: Research Device and Ecosystem (Implantable, bi-directional, algorithm-enabled neural interface)
  • xTMS: Digital Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation System
  • MORPHEUS: Sleep-based, wearable therapy system
  • Oxford Martin School Programme for Global Epilepsy

Key Papers

As a collaborator for translational work (focus is on deployment of tools for first-in-human and large-animal research):

  • Walking naturally after spinal cord injury using a brain–spine interface, Lorach, H., Galvez, A., Spagnolo, V. et al.Nature 618, 126–133 (2023).
  • Assessment of Safety of a Fully Implanted Endovascular Brain-Computer Interface for Severe Paralysis in 4 Patients: The Stentrode with Thought-Controlled Digital Switch (SWITCH) Study, Mitchell, P., Lee, S.C.M., Yoo, P.E., et al., JAMA Neurol. 2023;80(3):270–278. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2022.4847
  • Towards network-guided neuromodulation for epilepsy, Piper, R.J., Richardson, M., Worrell, G., Carmichael, D.W., Baldeweg, T., Litt, B., Denison, T., Tisdall, M.M., Brain, 2022.
  • Diurnal modulation of subthalamic beta oscillatory power in Parkinson’s disease patients during deep brain stimulation, van Rheede, J.J., Feldmann, L.K., et. al. (In press, npj Parkinson’s Disease)
  • Activity-dependent spinal cord neuromodulation rapidly restores trunk and leg motor functions after complete paralysis, Rowald, A., Komi, S., Demesmaeker, R. et al.Nat Med 28, 260–271 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-021-01663-5
  • Neuroprosthetic baroreflex controls hemodynamics after spinal cord injury, Courtine, G. et. al., Nature, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-03180-w
  • Motor neuroprosthesis implanted with neurointerventional surgery improves capacity for activities of daily living tasks in severe paralysis: first in-human experience, OxleyTJ, Yoo PE, Rind GS, et al, Journal of NeuroInterventional Surgery  doi: 10.1136/neurintsurg-2020-016862
  • Chronic embedded cortico-thalamic closed-loop deep brain stimulation for the treatment of essential tremor, Opri, E. et al., Science Translational Medicine, 2020. doi: 1126/scitranslmed.aay7680
  • Targeted neurotechnology restores walking in humans with spinal cord injury FB Wagner, et. al., Nature 563 (7729), 65-71, 2018. doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0649-2
  • Stimulating at the right time: phase-specific deep brain stimulation. Cagnan, H., Pedrosa, et. al., Brain 140, 132-145 (2017).
  • Fully Implanted Brain–Computer Interface in a Locked-In Patient with ALS, Mariska J. Vansteensel, Ph.D., Elmar G.M. Pels, M.Sc., et. al., New England J Medicine, 375:2060-2066, 2016. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1608085

As a lead/senior author for technical work (generation of bioelectronic modules and research tools for translation):

  • Pulse width modulation based TMS: Primary motor cortex responses compared to conventional monophasic stimuli, Memarian Sorkhabi, M., Wendt, K., O'Shea, J., Denison, T, Brain Stimulation, Jul-Aug;15(4) 980-983,
  • Concurrent stimulation and sensing in bi-directional brain interfaces: a multi-site translational experience, Ansó J, Benjaber M, et. al., Journal of Neural Engineering, 2022. https://doi.org/10.1088/1741-2552/ac59a3
  • Embedding digital chronotherapy into bioelectronic medicines, Fleming, J.E., Kremen, V., Gilron, R., Gregg, N.M., Zamora, M., Dijk, D.J., Starr, P.A., Worrell, G.A., Little, S., Denison, T.J., iScience 25(4):104028, 2022.
  • DyNeuMo Mk-1: Design and pilot validation of an investigational motion-adaptive neurostimulator with integrated chronotherapy, Zamora M, Toth R, et al, Experimental Neurology, 2022. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.expneurol.2022.113977
  • Chronic wireless streaming of invasive neural recordings at home for circuit discovery and adaptive stimulation, Gilron, R. et. al., Nature Biotechnology, 2021.
    https://doi.org/10.1038/s41587-021-00897-5
  • The sensitivity of ECG contamination to surgical implantation site in brain computer interfaces, Wolf-Julian Neumann, Majid Memarian Sorkhabi, et. al., Brain Stimulation, Volume 14, Issue 5, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brs.2021.08.016,
  • DyNeuMo Mk-2: An Investigational Circadian-Locked Neuromodulator with Responsive Stimulation for Applied Chronobiology, Toth, R. et. al., 2020 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics (SMC), 2020. doi: 10.1109/SMC42975.2020.9283187
  • Developing Collaborative Platforms to Advance Neurotechnology and Its Translation, Borton, D.A., Dawes, H.E., Worrell, G.A., Starr, P.A., Denison, T.J., Neuron, 108:2, 2020. doi: 1016/j.neuron.2020.10.001
  • Physiological Artifacts and the Implications for Brain-Machine-Interface Design, Sorkhabi, M. et al, 2020 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics (SMC), doi: 10.1109/SMC42975.2020.9283328
  • Programmable Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation- A Modulation Approach for the Generation of Controllable Magnetic Stimuli, Sorkhabi, M. et al, IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, 2020. doi: 1109/TBME.2020.3024902
  • A Chronically-Implantable Neural Coprocessor for Investigating the Treatment of Neurological Disorders, Stanslaski S et al; IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Circuits and Systems, 2019. doi: 10.1109/TBCAS.2018.2880148

Most Recent Publications

A platform for brain network sensing and stimulation with quantitative behavioral tracking: Application to limbic circuit epilepsy.

A platform for brain network sensing and stimulation with quantitative behavioral tracking: Application to limbic circuit epilepsy.

Altmetric score is

Acute to long-term characteristics of impedance recordings during neurostimulation in humans

Acute to long-term characteristics of impedance recordings during neurostimulation in humans

Altmetric score is

Pre-existing oscillatory activity as a condition for sub-harmonic entrainment of finely tuned gamma in Parkinson's disease.

Pre-existing oscillatory activity as a condition for sub-harmonic entrainment of finely tuned gamma in Parkinson's disease.

Altmetric score is

Definition of Implanted Neurological Device Abandonment: A Systematic Review and Consensus Statement.

Definition of Implanted Neurological Device Abandonment: A Systematic Review and Consensus Statement.

Altmetric score is

Multi-night cortico-basal recordings reveal mechanisms of NREM slow-wave suppression and spontaneous awakenings in Parkinson's disease

Multi-night cortico-basal recordings reveal mechanisms of NREM slow-wave suppression and spontaneous awakenings in Parkinson's disease

Altmetric score is
View all

DPhil Opportunities

We have opportunities for doctoral studies with Prof. Tim Denison in Bioelectronics, Medical Device Design, Physiologic Interfaces and Controls. Please send an email for current positions.

Most Recent Publications

A platform for brain network sensing and stimulation with quantitative behavioral tracking: Application to limbic circuit epilepsy.

A platform for brain network sensing and stimulation with quantitative behavioral tracking: Application to limbic circuit epilepsy.

Altmetric score is

Acute to long-term characteristics of impedance recordings during neurostimulation in humans

Acute to long-term characteristics of impedance recordings during neurostimulation in humans

Altmetric score is

Pre-existing oscillatory activity as a condition for sub-harmonic entrainment of finely tuned gamma in Parkinson's disease.

Pre-existing oscillatory activity as a condition for sub-harmonic entrainment of finely tuned gamma in Parkinson's disease.

Altmetric score is

Definition of Implanted Neurological Device Abandonment: A Systematic Review and Consensus Statement.

Definition of Implanted Neurological Device Abandonment: A Systematic Review and Consensus Statement.

Altmetric score is

Multi-night cortico-basal recordings reveal mechanisms of NREM slow-wave suppression and spontaneous awakenings in Parkinson's disease

Multi-night cortico-basal recordings reveal mechanisms of NREM slow-wave suppression and spontaneous awakenings in Parkinson's disease

Altmetric score is
View all

Teaching

C23: Introduction to Bioelectronic Medicines and Prosthetics

3YP: Physiologic Control Systems (Project Class)

Taster Lecture

Watch my taster lecture from the University of Oxford 2023 Open Days to discover more about biomedical engineering and what it is like to be an Engineering Science Undergraduate Student at Oxford.

Most Recent Publications

A platform for brain network sensing and stimulation with quantitative behavioral tracking: Application to limbic circuit epilepsy.

A platform for brain network sensing and stimulation with quantitative behavioral tracking: Application to limbic circuit epilepsy.

Altmetric score is

Acute to long-term characteristics of impedance recordings during neurostimulation in humans

Acute to long-term characteristics of impedance recordings during neurostimulation in humans

Altmetric score is

Pre-existing oscillatory activity as a condition for sub-harmonic entrainment of finely tuned gamma in Parkinson's disease.

Pre-existing oscillatory activity as a condition for sub-harmonic entrainment of finely tuned gamma in Parkinson's disease.

Altmetric score is

Definition of Implanted Neurological Device Abandonment: A Systematic Review and Consensus Statement.

Definition of Implanted Neurological Device Abandonment: A Systematic Review and Consensus Statement.

Altmetric score is

Multi-night cortico-basal recordings reveal mechanisms of NREM slow-wave suppression and spontaneous awakenings in Parkinson's disease

Multi-night cortico-basal recordings reveal mechanisms of NREM slow-wave suppression and spontaneous awakenings in Parkinson's disease

Altmetric score is
View all

Awards and Prizes

  • Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrumentation Makers, 2023
  • The Annual BCI Award (team award): 1St Place 2022, 2nd Place 2020
  • IET Awards: Small Idea, Big Impact: Global Challenge for 2020 (OxVent)
  • MRC Investigator, 2020-2025 (MRC Brain Networks Dynamic Unit)
  • Oxford Martin School, Investigator (Global Epilepsy Programme), 2020-2023
  • Senior Research Fellow, Green Templeton College – 2019-
  • Graham Clarke Oration, Melbourne Australia, July 2019.
  • Chair in Emerging Technology, Royal Academy of Engineering, 2018-2028
  • Distinguished Fudan Scholar, 2018
  • Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society, 2018
  • College of Fellows, American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers, 2015
  • Global Innovation Fellow, Medtronic programme for chronic disease in Ghana, 2014
  • Medtronic Wallin award, 2014 (Medtronic’s highest leadership recognition)
  • Medtronic Bakken Society, 2012 (Medtronic’s highest scientific award)
  • Medtronic Technical Fellow, 2010
  • Medtronic Technical Contributor of the Year [team], 2008 and [individual], 2006

Most Recent Publications

A platform for brain network sensing and stimulation with quantitative behavioral tracking: Application to limbic circuit epilepsy.

A platform for brain network sensing and stimulation with quantitative behavioral tracking: Application to limbic circuit epilepsy.

Altmetric score is

Acute to long-term characteristics of impedance recordings during neurostimulation in humans

Acute to long-term characteristics of impedance recordings during neurostimulation in humans

Altmetric score is

Pre-existing oscillatory activity as a condition for sub-harmonic entrainment of finely tuned gamma in Parkinson's disease.

Pre-existing oscillatory activity as a condition for sub-harmonic entrainment of finely tuned gamma in Parkinson's disease.

Altmetric score is

Definition of Implanted Neurological Device Abandonment: A Systematic Review and Consensus Statement.

Definition of Implanted Neurological Device Abandonment: A Systematic Review and Consensus Statement.

Altmetric score is

Multi-night cortico-basal recordings reveal mechanisms of NREM slow-wave suppression and spontaneous awakenings in Parkinson's disease

Multi-night cortico-basal recordings reveal mechanisms of NREM slow-wave suppression and spontaneous awakenings in Parkinson's disease

Altmetric score is
View all