In recent years, it has been become clear that modulating the autonomic nervous system has great potential for treating diseases.

Neuromodulation of the vagus nerve has shown potential to treat several diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, epilepsy, hypertension, obesity, heart failure, and coma. Neuromodulation devices potentially have several advantages over pharmaceuticals including reduced side effects and more spatially targeted treatment. Neuromodulation is typically achieved with electrodes, but the development of alternative or complementary neuromodulation devices that produce unique physiologic responses are needed to realize the full potential.

We have recently shown that infrared neuromodulation (IRN) induces unique patterns of physiological responses that cannot be elicited by electrical current or drugs when applied to peripheral and central structures (e.g., ganglia, brainstem). We are currently investigating the mechanisms of action and determining whether IRN has the potential to map/decode autonomic circuitry, and as a clinical device.

A congenital heart defect (CHD) is an evident structural anomaly of the heart or thoracic great vessels with real or potential functional impact. Among all birth defects, CHDs are one of the most common and devastating, afflicting 32,000 babies born in the United States each year and over 1 million Americans alive today. Our group develops new technology to study structure/function relationships in the developing heart.

For more information, visit

Publications (Select)

Entire publication list can be found here.

  • Menon V, Eberth JF, Junor L, Potts AJ, Belhaj M, Dipette DJ, Jenkins MW, Potts JD. Removing vessel constriction on the embryonic heart results in changes in valve gene expression, morphology, and hemodynamics. Dev Dyn. 2018 Mar;247(3):531-541. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.24588. Epub 2017 Oct 4. PubMed PMID: 28884516; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5814323.
  • Ford SM, Watanabe M, Jenkins MWA review of optical pacing with infrared light. J Neural Eng. 2018 Feb;15(1):011001. doi: 10.1088/1741-2552/aa795f. PubMed PMID: 28612757; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6002813.
  • S. Elahi, S. Gu, L. Thrane, A. M. Rollins, and M. W. Jenkins, “Complex regression Doppler OCT,” submitted
  • M. Ganguly, M. W. Jenkins, E. D. Jansen, and H. J. Chiel, “Thermal block in squid giant axons is due to activation of voltage-dependent potassium currents,” submitted
  • V. Menon, J. Eberth, L. Junor, M. Belhaj, M. Jenkins, and J. Potts, “Removing vessel constriction on the embryonic heart results in changes in valve gene expression, morphology, and hemodynamics,” Dev Dyn in press DOI:10.1002/dvdy.24588
  • M. Ford, M. Watanabe, and M. W. Jenkins, “Optical Pacing, “A review of optical pacing with infrared light,” Neural Eng 15, 011001 (2017) DOI:10.1088/1741-2552/aa795f
    • Invited paper
  • G. Karunamuni, M. Sheehan, Y. Doughman, S. Gu, J. P. Strainic, A. M. Rollins, M. W. Jenkins, M. Watanabe, “Supplementation with the methyl donor betaine prevents congenital defects induced by prenatal alcohol exposure,” Alcohol Clin Exp Res 41(11), 1917-1927 (2017) DOI:10.1111/acer.13495
  • M. T. McPheeters, Y. T. Wang, M. W. Jenkins, K. R. Laurita, “An infrared optical pacing system for high-throughput screening of cardiac electrophysiology for human cardiomyocytes,” PLoS One12(8), e0183761 (2017) DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0183761
  • L. Thrane, S. Gu, B. J. Blackburn, K. V. Damodaran, A. M. Rollins, and M. W. Jenkins, “Complex decorrelation averaging in optical coherence tomography: A way to reduce the effect of multiple scattering and improve image contrast in dynamic scattering medium,” Opt Lett 42(14), 2738-2741 (2017) DOI:10.1364/OL.42.002738
  • E. H. Lothet, H. Lu, Y. T. Wang, C. C. Horn, E. D. Jansen, H. J. Chiel and M. W. Jenkins, “Selective inhibition of small-diameter axons using infrared light,” Sci Reports 3, 2600 (2017) DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-03374-9
  • S. M. Ford, M. T. McPheeters, Y. T. Wang, P. Ma, S. Gu, J. Strainic, C. Snyder, A. M. Rollins, M. Watanabe, and M. W. Jenkins, “Increased regurgitant flow causes endocardial cushion defects in an avian embryonic model of congenital heart disease,” Congenit Heart Dis 12(3), 322-331 (2017) DOI:10.1111/chd.12443.
  • L. M. Peterson, S. Gu, G. Karunamuni, M. W. Jenkins, M. Watanabe, and A. M. Rollins, “Embryonic aortic arch hemodynamics are a functional biomarker for ethanol-induced congenital heart defects,” Biomed Opt Express 8(3), 1823-1837 (2017) DOI:10.1364/BOE.8.001823
    • Invited paper


Cleveland FES Center

Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Case Western Reserve University Professor, Department of Pediatrics
Case Western Reserve University


Program Contact
Michael Jenkins

Contact Number
(216) 844-1370

Contact Email