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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

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Noninvasive Neuromodulation Unit (NNU) Noninvasive Neuromodulation Unit (NNU)

Meet the Team

Principal Investigator (PI)

Sarah Hollingsworth “Holly” Lisanby, MD

Sarah Hollingsworth “Holly” Lisanby, M.D. - Principal Investigator

Sarah Hollingsworth “Holly” Lisanby, M.D., is Director of the Division of Translational Research at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), which funds research on the discovery of preventions, treatments, and cures for mental illness across the lifespan. She founded and directs the NIMH Noninvasive Neuromodulation Unit which specializes in the use of brain stimulation tools to measure and modulate neuroplasticity. She is JP Gibbons Professor Emeritus at Duke University and was the first woman to serve as Chair of the Duke Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. She founded and directed the Duke University 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’s team pioneered magnetic seizure therapy (MST) as a novel depression treatment from the stages of animal testing, first-in-human, and now international trials. She has received international recognition including the Distinguished Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, the Max Hamilton Memorial Prize of the Collegium Internationale Neuro-Psychopharmacologicum, and the Eva King Killam Research Award from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.

Dr. Sarah H. Lisanby - Investigator Page

The Team

Our interdisciplinary team, spanning the fields of psychiatry, engineering, neuroscience, and psychology, has expertise in electric field modeling, device and coil design for transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), cognitive neuroscience trials employing image-guided neuromodulation, and the translational development of novel treatments in preclinical models, healthy volunteers, and clinical populations.


Zhi-De Deng, Ph.D. - Staff Scientist, Director of the Computational Neurostimulation Research Program at the Noninvasive Neuromodulation Unit of the Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch

Bruce Luber, Ph.D. - Staff Scientist at the Noninvasive Neuromodulation Unit of the Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch

Lindsay M. Oberman, Ph.D. - Staff Scientist, Director, Developmental Clinical Neurophysiology and Neurostimulation Research at the Noninvasive Neuromodulation Unit of the Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch

William T. Regenold, MDCM - Medical Director of the Noninvasive Neuromodulation Unit of the Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch


Eudora Jones, DNP - Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Zeynab Rezaee, Ph.D. - Contract Scientist


Lysianne Beynel, Ph.D. - Research Fellow

Sunday M. Francis, Ph.D. - Research Fellow

Tyler Torrico, MD - Clinical Fellow

IRTAs (Postbaccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award )

Neil Baker, IRTA

Ekaete Ekpo, BS in Psychology, IRTA

Pei Robins, BA in Physics, IRTA

Ethan Greenstein, IRTA

Eva Wiener, BA in Neuroscience, IRTA

Alumni & Summer Interns


Melbaliz Velez Afanador
Kevin Akhlaghi, IRTA
William Altekruse, IRTA
Shriya Awasthi, IRTA
Nicholas Balderston, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow
Cristina Abboud Chalhoub, IRTA
Moritz Dannhauer, PhD, Research Fellow
Shannon Exley, IRTA
Elyssa Feuer, IRTA
Brian Gindoff, MD, Special Volunteer
Hannah Gura, IRTA
Megan Hynd, IRTA
Miguel Jaime, IRTA
Ogeneitsega Janet Joseph, IRTA
Valerie Martinez-Kaigi, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow-IRTA
Shannon Liberty, Special Volunteer
Sahit Menon, MSRP Fellow 
Fahad Mukhtar, MD, Clinical Fellow
Nadia Mustafa, IRTA
Michelle Noh, IRTA
Thomas Radman, Ph.D.
Pei Robins, IRTA
Paul Rohde, IRTA
Aakash Sathappan, MD, Medical Fellow
Jeena Thomas
Caroline Ugoaru, IRTA

Summer Interns

Rachel Noorani – 2022
Michael Dib – 2018
Eunice Chung – 2017
Alexandra Haiberstadt – 2017
Gabriela Asturias – 2016