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Lisanby Chosen to Lead NIMH Division of Translational Research

Duke University psychiatrist Sarah Hollingsworth Lisanby, M.D. will join NIMH in Fall 2015

Science Update

Dr. Sarah H. Lisanby, M.D.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has selected Sarah Hollingsworth Lisanby, M.D. as the director for its Division of Translational Research. She will join NIMH in the fall, pending final NIH approval.

Dr. Lisanby is currently serving as Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University School of Medicine, and holds the J.P. Gibbons Professor of Psychiatry endowed chair.

Dr. Lisanby is one of the leading researchers in the area of neuromodulatory interventions for treating major depression, serving as a principal investigator on studies that range from basic research through clinical trials.

A prolific author with approximately 200 scientific articles and book chapters, she has also received national and international recognition, including a Distinguished Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD), the Max Hamilton Memorial Prize of the Collegium Internationale Neuro-Psychopharmacologicum (CINP), the Gerald Klerman Award from the National Depression and Manic Depression Association (NDMDA), and the Eva King Killam Research Award from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP).  

Dr. Lisanby’s prodigious research life has been matched by extensive service to NIMH and beyond. She has been a member of the NIMH Board of Scientific Counselors since 2013, and has chaired or been a member of a variety of NIH Study Sections since 2004.

Dr. Lisanby also serves on the FDA Neurological Devices Advisory Panel, is on five editorial boards, 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 Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT). Dr. Lisanby also has a strong record of mentoring, personally nurturing over 50 individuals in the past 10 years.

Hailing from Arlington, VA, Dr. Lisanby received dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Mathematics and Psychology from Duke University in 1987, where she went on to receive an M.D. and complete a residency in Psychiatry, serving as Chief Resident. In 1995 Dr. Lisanby joined Columbia University for a postdoctoral fellowship, and became an Assistant Professor in 1998. She was named Director of the Division for Brain Stimulation and Neuromodulation at Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute in 2005, and Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University in 2007, before returning to her alma mater as Chair for the Department of Psychiatry at Duke University in 2010.

As Director for the Division of Translational Research at NIMH, Dr. Lisanby will oversee a research funding portfolio of approximately $400 million and help set a national agenda for research on mental illness. She will also be working with Dr. Carlos Zarate and colleagues in the Division of Intramural Research Programs, creating an important bridge between the Institute’s extramural and intramural research efforts.