Sarah Hollingsworth Lisanby
Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Sarah Hollingsworth “Holly” Lisanby, MD, is an experienced translational researcher and innovator of neuromodulation technologies to study and treat psychiatric disorders. Dr. Lisanby is Director of the Division of Translational Research at NIMH, which funds research on the discovery of preventions, treatments, and cures for mental illness across the lifespan. She is Founder and Director of the Noninvasive Neuromodulation Unit in the NIMH Intramural Research Program, a multi-disciplinary clinical research program specializing in the innovation of new brain stimulation tools to measure and modulate neuroplasticity to improve mental health. Dr. Lisanby is former Chair of the Duke Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, and JP Gibbons Endowed Professor at Duke University. She founded and directed both the Duke and the Columbia University Divisions of Brain Stimulation, where she built interdisciplinary research programs specializing in the convergence of Psychiatry, Neuroscience and Engineering. She co-led the NIH BRAIN Initiative Team focused on large-scale neural recording and modulation devices. Dr. Lisanby has been principal investigator on a series of federally funded grants on the development of novel neuromodulation technologies, including the rational design of magnetic and electrical seizure therapies. Her team pioneered magnetic seizure therapy (MST) as a novel depression treatment from the stages of animal testing, first-in-human, and international clinical trials. She led a series of studies involving transcranial magnetic stimulation, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), MST, vagus nerve stimulation, and deep brain stimulation. She has received numerous international recognitions, including the Max Hamilton Memorial Prize of the Collegium Internationale Neuro-Psychopharmacologicum, the Gerald Klerman Award from the National Depression and Manic Depression Association, and the Eva King Killam Research Award from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. She has been a member of the NIMH Board of Scientific Counselors. Dr. Lisanby served on the FDA Neurological Devices Advisory Panel and has held key leadership positions with numerous professional associations, including serving as President for the Association for Convulsive Therapy/International Society of Neurostimulation, and the International Society for Transcranial Stimulation, and Chair of the American Psychiatric Association Task Force to Revise the Practice on ECT.
Appointments and Affiliations
- Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
- Faculty Network Member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences
- Office Location: Room 5-4232. Red Zone, Box 3620 DUMC, Durham, NC 27710
- Office Phone: (919) 613-9344
- Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
- M.D. Duke University School of Medicine, 1991
Awards, Honors, and Distinctions
- Eva King Killam Award. American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP). 2014
In the News
- Anderson Cooper: Is Shock Therapy Making a Comeback? (May 13, 2018 | 60 Minutes)
- Dr. Sarah Lisanby: The return of electroshock therapy (Nov 18, 2015 | The Atlantic)
- Lisanby named Director of Translational Research for NIMH (Mar 4, 2015 | Duke Today)
- Dr. Sarah Lisanby comments: Technology can't make you fall asleep (Jan 22, 2015 | Marketplace)
- Dr. Sarah Lisanby comments: Williams' death shines spotlight on depression (Aug 13, 2014 | WRAL)
- Dr. Sarah Lisanby: Stimulation treatment uses mild electric current to jump-start your brain (Oct 31, 2013 | CBS This Morning)
- Dr. Sarah Lisanby urges caution: Jump-starter kits for the mind (Oct 29, 2013 | The New York Times)
- Dr. Sarah Lisanby comments: Electro-convulsive therapy makes medical comeback (Aug 28, 2013 | CBS This Morning)
- Oberman, LM; Francis, SM; Lisanby, SH, The use of noninvasive brain stimulation techniques in autism spectrum disorder., Autism Res (2023) [10.1002/aur.3041] [abs].
- Darrow, SM; Pizzagalli, DA; Smoski, M; Mathew, SJ; Nurnberger, J; Lisanby, SH; Iosifescu, D; Murrough, JW; Yang, H; Weiner, RD; Sanacora, G; Keefe, RSE; Song, A; Goodman, W; Whitton, AE; Potter, WZ; Krystal, AD, Using latent profile analyses to classify subjects with anhedonia based on reward-related measures obtained in the FAST-MAS study., J Affect Disord, vol 339 (2023), pp. 584-592 [10.1016/j.jad.2023.07.081] [abs].
- Deng, Z-D; Robins, PL; Regenold, W; Rohde, P; Dannhauer, M; Lisanby, SH, How electroconvulsive therapy works in the treatment of depression: is it the seizure, the electricity, or both?, Neuropsychopharmacology (2023) [10.1038/s41386-023-01677-2] [abs].
- Lisanby, SH, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in Psychiatry: Historical Reflections and Future Directions., Biol Psychiatry (2023) [10.1016/j.biopsych.2023.05.001] [abs].
- Davis, SW; Beynel, L; Neacsiu, AD; Luber, BM; Bernhardt, E; Lisanby, SH; Strauman, TJ, Network-level dynamics underlying a combined rTMS and psychotherapy treatment for major depressive disorder: An exploratory network analysis., Int J Clin Health Psychol, vol 23 no. 4 (2023) [10.1016/j.ijchp.2023.100382] [abs].