Dr. Lenz is a neuroscientist neurosurgeon with extensive training and experience in human forebrain neurophysiology. He was educated as an M.D. and Ph.D. at the University of Toronto, and is a board qualified neurosurgeon in Canada and the USA. He is currently the A. Earl Walker Professor of Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins with a joint appointment in the Department of Neuroscience . He has carried out a series of studies of pain, somatosensory function, motor disorders, and plasticity in humans based upon analysis of neuronal spike trains and local field potentials (LFPs). These signals are recorded from the human brain during wakefulness by making use of the opportunities afforded by a neurosurgical practice.
The studies of his lab (Functional Neurosurgery Lab) currently test whether neural activity related to the experimental vigilance and conditioned expectation toward pain can be described by interrelated networks in the brain. These two psychological dimensions play important roles in chronic pain syndromes, but their neuroscience is poorly understood. Our studies of spike trains and LFPs in neurosurgical patients with movement disorders (e.g. tremor) and epilepsy utilize these anatomically focused platforms to obtain high temporal resolution recordings. The results complement fMRI studies which survey the whole brain at lower resolution. These recordings can be used to calculate the oscillatory power of structures in the brain, and functional connections between these structures. We ae currently studying behaviors related to vigilance and expectation are related to electrical signals in the cortex and subcortical structures.
These projects are based upon the combined expertise of Dr. Nathan Crone in recordings and clinical management of the patients studied, Dr. Anna Korzeniewska in the analyses of signals recorded from the brain, Drs. Campbell, Colloca and Gracely in the clinical psychology and cognitive neurology of acute and chronic pain. Dr. Joel Greenspan contributes expertise in quantitative sensory testing and, Dr. Martin Lindquist in the statistical techniques. Dr. Lenz has conducted studies of this type for more than thirty years with continuous NIH funding.