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.
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.