Steele Lab

The Steele Lab combines transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and neuroimaging research techniques with the goal of developing novel treatments for substance use disorders (SUDs).

Current studies involve targeting dysregulated circuits in SUD with TMS to elicit neuroplastic change and identify malleable circuits that, with chronic treatment, could lead to positive long-term outcomes treating SUDs. Acute and chronic neuroplasticity is assessed with both electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). 

Steele Lab Director

Vaughn R Steele, PhD

Steele Lab
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry,
Yale University School of Medicine

Team Members

Hanxiao Lu

Research Assistant I

Hanxiao obtained her BA in neuroscience from Smith College in 2019. Hanxiao is passionate about translating experimental lab findings into real-life applications that can improve our understanding of psychiatric disorders and provide guidance for better mental health care. At Steele Lab, she assists studies that involve the application of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) as a treatment intervention for patients with substance use disorders. Outside the lab, Hanxiao indulges herself in the great outdoors doing MTB, road cycling, backpacking and swimming.


Seba Gabali

Research Assistant I

Seba received her B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Philosophy of Law from Michigan State University in 2019 and MSc in Clinical Health Psychology from University of Strathclyde in 2021. She joined the Steele lab in 2021, with aims to gain the knowledge and experience in hopes of obtaining her PhD in Clinical Psychology sometime in the future to better her community. When not working, Seba likes to enjoy her free time playing video games, trying out new recipes, painting and reading!


Current Research Projects

Neuroplastic Change Induced by Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

This study examines whether TMS can modulate activity in executive functioning circuits in the brains of healthy people as well as those with opioid use disorder (OUD) in order to assess the potential of these circuits as targets for treatment of OUD with TMS. [Funded by NIH/NIDA and HHC] . To participate click here.

Modulation of Circuits in an Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) sample

This study uses fMRI and TMS to explore how intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS) induces neuroplastic change in individuals with OUD. Results could inform future studies of iTBS as a treatment for OUD. [Funded by NIH/NIDA and HHC]. To participate click here.

Recent Publications


Steele, V. R. (2020). Transcranial magnetic stimulation as an interventional tool for addiction. Frontiers in Neuroscience: Neural Technologies, 14, 592343

Steele, V. R. (2020). Transcranial magnetic stimulation and addiction: Toward uncovering known unknowns. EBioMedicine, 57, 102839

Lee, M. R., Caparelli, E. C., Leff, M., Steele, V. R., Maxwell, A. M., McCullough, K., & Salmeron, B. J. (2020). Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation delivered with an H-coil to the right insula reduces functional connectivity between insula and medial prefrontal cortex. Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface, 23(3), 384-392.


Maurer, J. M., Steele, V. R., Vincent, G. M., Rao, V., Calhoun, V. D., & Kiehl, K. A. (2019). Adolescent psychopathic traits negatively related to hemodynamic activity within the basal ganglia during error-related processing. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 47(12), 1917-1929.

Steele, V. R., Maxwell, A. M., Ross, T. J., Stein, E. A., & Salmeron, B. J. (2019). Accelerated intermittent theta-burst stimulation as a treatment for cocaine use disorder: A proof-of-concept study. Frontiers in Neuroscience: Neural Technologies, 13, 1147.

Liu, Y., van den Wildenberg, W. P. M., de Graaf, Y., Ames, S. L., Baldacchino, A., Bø, R., Cadaveira, F., Campanella, S., Christiansen, P., Claus, E. D., Colzato, L. S., Filbey, F. M., Foxe, J. F., Garavan, H., Hendershot, C. S., Hester, R., Jester, J. R., Karoly, H. C., Kräplin, A., Kreusch, F., Landrø, N. I., Littel, M., Steins-Loeber, S., London, E. D., López-Caneda, E., Lubman, D. I., Luijten, M., Marczinski, C. A., Metrik, J., Montgomery, C., Papachristou, H., Park, S. M., Paz, A. L., Petit, G., Prisciandaro, J. J., Quednow, B. B., Ray, L. A., Roberts, C. A., Roberts, G. M. P., de Ruiter, M. B., Rupp, C. I., Steele, V. R., Sun, D., Takagi, M., Tapert, S. F., van Holst, R. J., Verdejo-Garcia, A., Vonmoos, M., Wojnar, M., Yao, Y., Yücel, M., Zack, M., Zucker, R. A., Huizenga, H. M., & Wiers, R. W. (2019). Is (poly-) substance use associated with impaired inhibitory control? A mega-analysis controlling for confounders. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 105, 288-304.

Ekhtiari, H., Tavakoli, H., Addolorato, G., Baeken, C., Bonci, A., Campanella, S., Castelo-Branco, L., Challet-Bouju, G., Clark, V. P., Claus, E. D., Dannon, P. N., Del Felice, A., den Uyl, T., Diana, M., di Giannantonio, M., Fedota, J. R., Fitzgerald, P., Gallimberti, L., Grall-Bronnec, M., Herremans, S. C., Herrmann, M. J., Jamil, A., Khedr, E., Kouimtsidis, C., Kozak, K., Krupitsky, E., Lamm, C., Lechner, W. V., Madeo, G., Malmir, N., Martinotti, G., McDonald, W., Montemitro, C., Nakamura-Palacios, E., Nasehi, M., Noël, X., Nosratabadi, M., Paulus, M., Pettorruso, M., Pradhan, B., Praharaj, S. K., Rafferty, H., Sahlem, G., Salmeron, B. J., Sauvaget, A., Schluter, R. S., Sergiou, C., Shahbabaie, A., Sheffer, C., Spagnolo, P. A., Steele, V. R., Yuan, T-F., van Dongen, J., Van Waes, V., Venkatasubramanian, G., Verdejo-García, A., Verveer, I., Welsh, J., Wesley, M. J., Witkiewitz, K., Yavari, F., Zarrindast, M-R., Zawertailo, L., Zhang, X., Cha, Y-H., George, T. P., Frohlich, F., Goudriaan, A. E., Fecteau, S., Daughters, S., Stein, E. A., Fregni, F., Nitsche, M. A., Zangen, A., Bikson, M., Hanlon, C. A. (2019). Transcranial electrical and magnetic stimulation (tES and TMS) for addiction medicine: A consensus paper on the present state of the science and the road ahead. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 104, 118-140.

*For a full list of publications, see Google Scholar. Email Dr. Steele or the Steele Lab to request PDFs. 

Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center

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