Innovator in the Spotlight

Ayda Golahmadi EngD trainee Smart Cities and Buildings

Improving indoor air quality in schools in the Netherlands

My research is focused on improving indoor air quality (IAQ) in schools in the Netherlands as part of the ECOS-IAQ project.

Empowering Epilepsy Care: Decoding Transcranial Electric Stimulation

Hi all, my name is Steven Beumer (30 years old) and for the last four years I’ve been doing my PhD at the TU/e, specifically the Electromagnetics group of Electrical Engineering. I was born and raised in Geldrop, a small village next to Eindhoven, so studying at this university was almost a no-brainer.


My research is focused on using transcranial electric stimulation for epilepsy patients that cannot be treated using medicine or surgery and is part of the PerStim project. This project was conceived from the wish to be able to reduce the treatment gap in epilepsy and thus lower the burden of this disease on the patients and society.  

Electrical stimulation is simple, but very complex

Together with the Ghent University Hospital, Kempenhaeghe and Philips we started to research the use of electrical stimulation for epilepsy treatments. Through extensive literature studies, we found that the working mechanism of this technology is still poorly understood. Thus, we set out to answer a fundamental question using clinical studies: “Are we stimulating the brain with currents that go straight through the skull, or is it taking a more complicated route like the facial nerves?”

This method holds great promise for the future because of its affordability, simplicity, and potential for home use, which could ultimately reduce the need for frequent hospital visits.

Steven Beumer
PhD candidate PerStim project

To support these studies, I was tasked with making patient models, optimizing the electrode positions as well as analyzing the data. Together with students from Fontys and the TU/e, we built a full workflow to do this in a very quick and efficient manner. Eindhoven Engine enabled us to cooperate with the students from the Fontys. Their working mentality and different way of approaching problems were fundamental to significant parts of this work. Our clinical studies are still running, but preliminary results have shown that the answer to the abovementioned question might be that the stimulation works via both the direct and the indirect paths.

Looking into the future

Even though the use of transcranial electric stimulation is more complex than initially assumed, we have just started to unravel the actual working mechanism and I wholeheartedly believe that as we gain a deeper understanding, we can improve the methods and their efficacy. This method holds great promise for the future because of its affordability, simplicity, and potential for home use, which could ultimately reduce the need for frequent hospital visits.

My time at the university is running out, but I am still as fascinated by the world of brain stimulation as I was when starting this project and I’ll keep working in this field to improve the understanding of these techniques and unlock their potential for patients.

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Start year 2018

A non-invasive approach to treatment

Using EEG- and MR-imaging based transcranial electrical stimulation, the Eindhoven Engine project PerStim (Personalized neurostimulation) investigates how treatments for patients with refractory focal epilepsy and prevalent co-morbid disorders can be personalized effectively. Via transcutaneous direct/alternating current stimulation (tDCS/tACS), the overall aim is to develop personalized, non-invasive neurostimulation protocols to provide (non-)refractory epilepsy patients with a better quality of life. This non-invasive approach to treatment is a method whereby an operation is not needed and treatment outside the body, as it were, is made possible.

Tight technical-clinical cooperation

To realize these ambitions, TU/e has teamed up with Philips Electronics Nederland B.V. and Kempenhaeghe, the Academic Center for Epileptology. UZ Ghent is also involved through the part-time neuromodulation chair of Professor Paul Boon. PPP Allowance co-funding has been made available to Epilepsiefonds by Health~Holland’s Top Sector Life Sciences & Health in order to stimulate public-private partnerships. Project partner meetings take place approximately once per month, with Fontys and TU/e student projects expected to be held in Eindhoven Engine’s building Disruptor. Such close collaboration and the integration of their results in clinical trials will allow for direct testing of PerStim’s neurostimulation hypothesis.


Rob Mestrom – Project Leader

Steven Beumer – PhD candidate