Dr. Sarah Hollingsworth Lisanby MD

Director, Noninvasive Neuromodulation Unit, NIMH Division of Intramural Research Programs (IRP)

Sarah Hollingsworth “Holly” Lisanby, MD, is an internationally renowned innovator of neuromodulation technologies. She directs the Noninvasive Neuromodulation Unit, a pioneering translational research program in the NIMH Division of Intramural Research Programs (IRP) specializing in the use of brain stimulation tools to measure and modulate neuroplasticity to improve mental health. She was the first woman to serve as Chair of the Duke University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, a department she led for 5 years before being recruited to NIMH. She founded and directed both 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. 

Dr. Lisanby’s research has been continuously federally funded for over 20 years. She has been principal investigator on a series of NIH and DARPA funded studies on the development of novel neuromodulation technologies, including studies on the rational design of magnetic and electrical seizure therapies. A prolific author with over 280 scientific publications, she has received numerous awards including a Distinguished Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, the Max Hamilton Memorial Prize of the Collegium Internationale Neuro-Psychopharmacologicum, the Gerald Klerman Award from the National Depression and Manic Depression Association, the Eva King Killam Research Award from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP), and holds the title of JP Gibbons Professor Emeritus at Duke University. 

Dr. Lisanby is a fellow of the ACNP, a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and was elected to membership in the Association of American Physicians. She serves on the FDA Neurological Devices Advisory Panel and has held key leadership positions with numerous professional associations. She also directs the Division of Translational Research, an extramural funding Division at NIMH.


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