ASEF Young Minds

Vesna van Midden: Exploration of the mechanism and effect of noninvasive vagal nerve stimulation in Parkinsons disease

June 20, 2024 | 12:17 pm |

The American Slovenian Educational Foundation is organizing a popular science lecture on Thursday, December 14, at 7 p.m., which will be held by Vesna Marija van Midden, ASEF Junior Fellow 2020 and a young researcher at the Neurology Clinic in Ljubljana, where she is working on her PhD in Neuroscience. The lecture is entitled “Exploration of the mechanism and effect of noninvasive vagal nerve stimulation in Parkinsons disease”  and will be held in Srednja predavalnica Medicinske fakultete Univerze v Ljubljani (Korytkova ulica 2, 1000 Ljubljana). 


To attend the lecture, please register by December 14, no later than 6 p.m.


The 10th cranial nerve (CN X) or the vagus nerve gets its name from the Latin word ‘vagus’, which translates to “wandering”. The nerve leaves the head and travels into the thoracic and abdominal cavities, innervating most of our abdominal and thoracic organs. It is an important branch of our autonomic nervous system and has therefore the propensity to modulate diffuse neuromodulatory networks in the brain. Since these networks are impaired in Parkinson’s disease, electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve could theoretically access these networks and alleviate the problems caused by their dysfunction. This lecture will present the challenges and (partial) results of investigating the mechanism and effect of vagus nerve electrical stimulation in Parkinson’s disease.


Vesna Marija van Midden, MD, PhD, joined the Neurology Clinic in Ljubljana as a young researcher after completing her studies at the Faculty of Medicine in Ljubljana. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Neuroscience and researching the mechanism and effect of non-invasive vagal stimulation in Parkinson’s disease under the mentorship of Prof. Zvezdan Pirtošek and Assoc. Prof. Maja Kojović. During her PhD, she also completed an ASEF research visit at Northwestern University in Chicago under the mentorship of Prof. Dimitri Krainc, where she worked on sleep disorders in Parkinson’s disease as well as neurogenetics.


ASEF Young Minds is a series of popular science lectures, which encourages young people to present their research work and experience gained within the framework of the ASEF fellowship program in a way that is accessible and understandable to the general public. In the project, ASEF connects with local organizations that operate in the places where the lecturers come from. The aim of cooperation is to connect and integrate young learners into the local Slovenian environment.

ASEF connects and unites Slovenian scientists and academics all over the world.

SiNAPSA, the Slovenian Neuroscience Association, was founded at the end of July 2003 as an expression of the desire of researchers and clinical professionals who work with the nervous system to establish contact with each other, facilitate networking and encourage the implementation of multidisciplinary projects in Slovenian neuroscience. SiNAPSA has also set as its objectives to promote education in neuroscience and to raise public awareness of the nervous system and its function in health and disease. Every year, under the auspices of the Association, a Slovenian campaign of the international Brain Awareness Week project is organised to raise awareness among the general public and professionals about the benefits of research and knowledge of the nervous system for individuals and society.

The project is supported by the Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Youth and the Government Office for Slovenians Abroad.

ASEF Junior Fellows ASEF Young Minds