Tony Wilson, PhD

Dr. Tony W WilsonAssociate Professor, Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Neuroscience
Associate Professor, Department of Neurological Sciences (Joint Appointment)
Scientific Director, Center for Magnetoencephalography (MEG)

Academic Office:  Clinic Practice Location: 
988422 Nebraska Medical Center
Omaha, NE 68198-8422
Phone: 402-559-6444
Fax: 402-559-5747 

Midwestern State University, B.S., Psychology & Biology (2001 – Summa cum laude)
University of Minnesota, Ph.D., Cognitive Neuroscience (2005)
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Post-doctoral Fellowship, Cognitive Neuroscience (2005-2007) 

Hospital Appointments:


Interests: Pharmaco-MEG; functional connectivity; neural oscillatory dynamics; motor control; attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND); pathophysiology of Parkinson’s disease

Biographical Sketch:
Dr. Tony W Wilson attended the University of Texas and Midwestern State University, where he graduated summa cum laude with majors in psychology and biology. As a NICHD pre-doctoral fellow, he completed his Ph.D. training in cognitive neuroscience in the laboratory of renowned neurophysiologist Dr. Apostolos Georgopoulos at the University of Minnesota.  At the time, this work utilized the only high-density MEG instrument (200+ sensors) in the United States.  Dr. Wilson completed a NIMH postdoctoral traineeship in clinical cognitive neuroscience under Drs. Donald Rojas (primary) and Martin Reite in the Department of Psychiatry’s Neuromagnetic Imaging Center at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver. As a postdoctoral fellow, Tony developed high-density MEG techniques that could be applied to patients with neurodevelopmental and neurocognitive disorders. 

Tony joined the Department of Neurological Sciences at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) in late 2008 to oversee the University’s new Magnetoencephalography program.  He now has a joint appointment in Neurological Sciences, with his primary appointment being in the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience.  Dr. Wilson is also the Scientific Director of the Center for Magnetoencephalography (MEG) at UNMC, which houses a state-of-the-art 306-sensor whole-brain neuromagnetometer.  Tony is an expert in brain imaging analysis techniques and has had extensive experience working in this context with challenging populations.

Current work in Dr. Wilson’s Laboratory focuses on the application of neurophysiological imaging methods for understanding disease pathophysiology, and for quantifying neuronal changes that accompany pharmacotherapies and/or behavioral interventions directed at these diseases. The primary neurophysiological focus is on high-frequency cortical oscillations due to their known role in information processing and network level inter-regional communication.  At present, major effort is directed toward using these methods to further understand the pathophysiology of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and the primary mechanisms that underlie stimulant-mediated symptom suppression. Amphetamines are widely recognized as an effective treatment option for patients with ADHD, and by understanding their mechanism of action one can extract key insights on the basic pathophysiology. Another line of work in Dr. Wilson’s Laboratory evaluates the impact that dopaminergic treatments have on cortical function and cortical-subcortical oscillatory activity in patients with mild to moderate Parkinson’s disease.  Currently, it is widely recognized that Parkinson’s is associated with pathological levels of cortical-subcortical synchronization, and work in Dr. Wilson’s Laboratory focuses on how such neuronal synchronization is affected by dopamine-based treatments and disease progression. Finally, Dr. Wilson’s Laboratory investigates candidate biomarkers for HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND).  Between 35-70% of HIV-infected patients will develop cognitive impairments and the pathophysiology is not well understood. Currently, diagnoses are made by exclusion of other potential causes, as there are no diagnostic tests or specific biomarkers that can precisely pinpoint HAND. Thus, the goal of this work is to develop objective biomarkers of HAND that can be used for diagnoses, monitoring disease progression, and for testing new candidate treatments.

Selected Publications (since 2012):                                             **= Mentored Student/Fellow

1.    Wilson TW, Heinrichs-Graham E, & Becker KM. (2014). Circadian modulation of motor-related beta oscillatory responses. NeuroImage, 102:531-539. PMID: 25128712

2.    **Heinrichs-Graham E, Kurz MJ, Becker KM, Santamaria PM, Gendelman HE, & Wilson TW. (in press). Hyper-synchrony despite pathologically-reduced beta oscillations in patients with Parkinson's disease: A pharmaco-magnetoencephalography study. Journal of Neurophysiology, 2014 Jul 9. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 25008416

3.    Kurz MJ, Becker KM, Heinrichs-Graham E, & Wilson TW. (in press). Neurophysiological abnormalities in the sensorimotor cortices during the motor planning and movement execution stages of children with cerebral palsy. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 2014 Jun 14. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 24931008

4.    Kurz MJ, Heinrichs-Graham E, Arpin DJ, Becker KM, Wilson TW. (2014). Aberrant synchrony in the somatosensory cortices predicts motor performance errors in children with cerebral palsy. Journal of Neurophysiology, 111(3):573-579. PMID: 24225536

5.    **Heinrichs-Graham E, Franzen JD, Knott NL, White ML, Wetzel MW, & Wilson TW. (2014). Pharmaco-MEG evidence for attention related hyper-connectivity between auditory and prefrontal cortices in ADHD. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 221:240-245. PMID: 24495532.

6.    Wilson TW, Kurz MJ, & Arpin DJ. (2014). Functional specialization within the supplementary motor area: A fNIRS study of bimanual coordination. NeuroImage, 85:445-450. PMID: 23664948

7.    Kurz MJ, Wilson TW, Arpin DJ. (in press). An fNIRS exploratory investigation of the cortical activity during gait in children with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy. Brain & Development, 2014 Feb 5. PMID: 24508407

8.    **Becker KM, Heinrichs-Graham E, Fox HS, Robertson KR, Sandkovsky U, O'Neill J, Swindells S, & Wilson TW. (2013). Decreased MEG beta oscillations in HIV-infected older adults during the resting state. Journal of Neurovirology, 19(6):586-94. [Cover Article]. PMID: 24297500

9.    **Heinrichs-Graham E, Wilson TWCA, Santamaria PM, Heithoff SK, Torres-Russotto D, Hutter-Saunders JA, Estes KA, Meza JL, Mosley RL, & Gendelman HE. (2014). Neuromagnetic evidence of abnormal movement-related beta desynchronization in Parkinson's disease. Cerebral Cortex, 24:2669-2678.  PMID: 23645717

10.  Wilson TW, Heinrichs-Graham E, Robertson KR, Sandkovsky U, O’Neill J, Knott NL, Fox HS, & Swindells S. (2013). Functional brain abnormalities during finger-tapping in HIV-infected older adults: A magnetoencephalography study. Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, 8:965-974. PMID: 23749418

11.  Wilson TW, Fox HS, Robertson KR, Sandkovsky U, O’Neill J, Heinrichs-Graham E, Knott NL, & Swindells S. (2013) Abnormal MEG oscillatory activity during visual processing in the prefrontal cortices and frontal eye-fields of the aging HIV brain.  PLoS One 8(6):e66241. PMID: 23840428

12.  Wilson TW, Heinrichs-Graham E, White ML, Knott NL, Wetzel MW. (2013). Estimating the passage of minutes: Deviant oscillatory frontal activity in medicated and un-medicated ADHD.  Neuropsychology, 27:654-665.  PMID: 24040925

13.  Madhavan D, Heinrichs-Graham E, Wilson TW. (2013). Whole-brain functional connectivity increases with extended duration of focal epileptiform activity. Neuroscience Letters, 542:26-29. PMID: 23506687

14.  **Franzen JD, Heinrichs-Graham E, White ML, Wetzel MW, Knott NL, & Wilson TW.  (2013). Atypical coupling between posterior regions of the default-mode network in ADHD: A pharmaco-MEG study. Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, 38:333-340. PMID: 23611175

15.  Wilson TW, Franzen JD, Heinrichs-Graham B, White ML, Knott NL, & Wetzel MW. (2013). Broadband neurophysiological abnormalities in the prefrontal region of the default-mode network in adults with ADHD. Human Brain Mapping, 34:566-574. PMID: 22102400

16.  Wilson TW, Wetzel MW, White ML, & Knott NL. (2012).  Gamma-frequency neuronal activity is diminished in adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: A pharmaco-MEG study. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 26(6):771-777.   PMID: 22219219

17.  **Franzen JD, Wilson TW. (2012). Amphetamines modulate prefrontal γ oscillations during attention processing. NeuroReport, 23(12):731-735. PMID: 22776904

18.  Wilson TW, Heinrichs-Graham E, Aizenberg MR. (2012). Potential role for magnetoencephalography in distinguishing low- and high-grade gliomas: A preliminary study with histopathological confirmation. Neuro-Oncology, 14(5):624-630. PMID: 22447561

19.  **Heinrichs-Graham E, & Wilson TW. (2012). Presence of strong harmonics during visual entrainment: A MEG study. Biological Psychology, 91:59-64.  PMID: 22569101

20.  Kurz MJ, Wilson TW, Corr B, Volkman KG. (2012). Neuromagnetic activity of the somatosensory cortices associated with body-weight-supported treadmill training in children with cerebral palsy. Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy,36(4):166-172. PMID: 22743850

21.  Kurz MJ, Wilson TW, & Arpin D.  (2012). Stride-time variability and sensorimotor cortical activation during walking. NeuroImage, 59:1602-1607.  PMID: 21920441


Other Publications of Importance to the Field:


1.    Wilson TW, Godwin DW, Czoty PW, Nader MA, Kraft RA, Buchheimer NC, & Daunais JB. (2009). An MEG investigation of somatosensory processing in the rhesus monkey. NeuroImage, 46:998-1003. PMCID: PMC2692724

2.    Wilson TW, Hernandez OO, Asherin RM, Teale PD, Reite ML, & Rojas DC.  (2008). Cortical gamma generators suggest abnormal auditory circuitry in early-onset psychosis. Cerebral Cortex, 18:371-378.  PMCID: PMC2648842

3.    Wilson TW, Rojas DC, Reite ML, Teale PD, & Rogers SJ. (2007). Children and adolescents with autism exhibit reduced MEG steady-state gamma responses. Biological Psychiatry, 62:192-297.  PMCID: PMC2692734   Also see: Uhlhaas PJ, & Singer W. (2007).  What do disturbances in neural synchrony tell us about autism?  Biological Psychiatry, 62:190–191. [Editorial that highlights our primary findings]