Alexander Rotenberg

Alexander Rotenberg, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Neurology
Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School

Education History:
B.A., Johns Hopkins
M.D., PhD, State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center

Alexander Rotenberg, M.D., Ph.D. is a practicing neurologist and epileptologist at Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, where he is the Director of the Neuromoduation Program within the department of Neurology.  He received his undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University and combined graduate degrees from State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center, before completing the residency in Child Neurology and fellowship in Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology at Children’s Hospital.  Dr. Rotenberg leads local efforts to adapt methods for TMS and other forms of noninvasive brain stimulation to the pediatric population, particularly to children with epilepsy.  He also heads a basic science laboratory where experiments focus on translational applications of noninvasive brain stimulation in animal models of epilepsy and brain injury.
In the basic science laboratory, Dr. Rotenberg and his staff have developed novel methods for TMS and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) in vivo in rodents and in vitro in isolated brain slice preparations. TMS and tDCS have in common the capacity to safely induce durable changes in neuronal activity. Limited experience with human patients, including those treated at Children's Hospital and the Berenson-Allen Center, show that TMS and tDCS have realistic prospects for suppressing seizures. Yet TMS and tDCS mechanisms of action are incompletely understood, and whether these techniques can prevent the onset of epilepsy after various forms of brain injury has not been tested. To characterize the cellular mechanisms by which TMS and tDCS exert their effect, and ultimately to optimize their clinical efficacy, Dr. Rotenberg’s laboratory studies them in rat epilepsy models, including models of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic epilepsy.  Also, to determine how best to match noninvasive brain stimulation mechanisms to those of brain injury and epilepsy, his laboratory studies the molecular changes associated with TBI in rats.  

In parallel to Dr. Rotenberg’s basic science experiments, he and his staff are enrolling subjects into ongoing clinical trials aimed to further develop techniques for noninvasive brain stimulation, particularly TMS, as diagnostic and therapeutic tools in child neurology.
Children’s Hospital website: http://childrenshospital.org/cfapps/research/data_admin/Site2825/mainpageS2825P0.html

Selected Publications

  1. Kabakov A, Muller PA, Pascual-Leone A, Jensen FE, Rotenberg A.  Contribution of axonal orientation to pathway-dependent modulation of excitatory transmission by direct current stimulation in isolated rat hippocampus.  Journal of Neurophysiology 2012; [Epub ahead of print]
  2. Hsieh TH, Dhamne SC, Chen JJ, Pascual-Leone A, Jensen FE, Rotenberg A.  A new measure of cortical inhibition by mechanomyography and paired-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation in unanesthetized rats. Journal of Neurophysiology2012;107(3):966-72.
  3. Rotenberg A. Prospects for transcranial magnetic stimulation combined with online EEG in epilepsy. Brain Topography 2010; 22:257-25.
  4. Rotenberg A, Muller PA, Vahabzadeh-Hagh AM, Navarro X, Lopez-Vales R, Pascual-Leone A, Jensen FE. Lateralized forelimb motor-evoked potentials by transcranial magnetic stimulation in rat. Clin Neurophysiol 2010 Jan; 121(1):104-8.
  5. Rotenberg A, Bae E, Muller PA, Riviello JJ, Bourgeois BF, Blum AS, Pascual-Leone A. In-session seizures during low frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation in patients with epilepsy. Epilepsy and Behav 2009; 16:353-5.
  6. Rotenberg A, Bae E, Takeoka M, Tormos J, Scachter S, Pascual-Leone A. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation in treatment of epilepsia partialis continua. Epilepsy and Behav 2009; 14:253-7.
  7. Rotenberg A, Muller P, Birnbaum D, Harrington MJ, Riviello JJ, Pascual-Leone A, Jensen FE. Seizure suppression by EEG-guided repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation in the rat. Clinical Neurophysiology 2008; 119:2697-702.
  8. Bae EH, Schrader LM, Machii K, Alonso-Alonso M, Riviello JJ, Pascual-Leone A, Rotenberg A. Safety and tolerability of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in patients with epilepsy: a review of literature. Epilepsy Behav 2007; 10:521-28.
  9. Rotenberg A, Abel T, Kandel ER, Muller RU. Parallel instabilities of long-term potentiation, place cells, and learning caused by decreased protein kinase A activity. J Neurosci 2000; 21:8096-102.
  10. Rotenberg A, Mayford M, Hawkins RD, Kandel ER, Muller RU. Mice expressing activated CaMKII lack low frequency LTP and do not form stable place cells in the CAI region of the hippocampus. Cell 1996; 87:1351-61.