Biography of Helen Mayberg

Helen S. Mayberg, M.D. is Professor of Psychiatry, Neurology and Radiology and the Dorothy Fuqua Chair in Psychiatry Imaging and Therapeutics at Emory University School of Medicine. She heads a multidisciplinary research program studying brain mechanisms mediating depression pathogenesis and antidepressant treatment response using multimodal neuroimaging and pioneered the development of deep brain stimulation for treatment resistant depression.

Dr. Mayberg is a Board Certified Neurologist, trained at Columbia's Neurological Institute in New York, with fellowship training in nuclear medicine at Johns Hopkins. She received a BA in Psychobiology from UCLA and an MD from University of Southern California. She has held previous academic appointments in Neurology, Psychiatry and Radiology at John Hopkins School of Medicine, The University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio and the University of Toronto, where she was also the first Sandra Rotman Chair in Neuropsychiatry before moving to Emory in 2004.

She is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine, the American Neurological Association and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology and is active in the Society for Neuroscience, The Organization for Human Brain Mapping and the Society of Biology Psychiatry where she previously served as President.

She serves on a wide variety of editorial and advisory boards across multiple fields in neuroscience. Among various honors, she is the recipient of the Falcone Prize in Mood Disorders Research from NARSAD, the Arnold Pfeffer Prize from the NY Psychoanalytic Institute, the Raymond Adams Award from the American Neurological Association and Roche-Nature Medicine Senior Award for Translational Neuroscience.

The Mayberg lab studies human neural systems mediating mood and emotions in health and disease with a primary focus on major depression and its recovery. All studies use neuroimaging (PET, sMRI, fMRI, DTI) as the core methodologies, although all projects are trans-disciplinary (clinical trials, neurophysiology, psychophysics, genetics, functional neurosurgery).

Defining brain mechanisms underlying major depression and mediating its treatment are the primary goals, with an emphasis on development of algorithms and biomarkers that will discriminate patient subgroups and optimize treatment selection for individual patients. This work is also the foundation for ongoing testing and refinement of deep brain stimulation of the subcallosal cingulate (Area 25) for treatment resistant depressed patients. This work, originally piloted at the University of Toronto has expanded to a multi-disciplinary research program at Emory with ongoing studies examining DBS efficacy in various depression subgroups (unipolar and bipolar depressed patients).

Longitudinal clinical assessments are complemented by a range of mechanism-of-action and biometric studies (fMRI, sMRI, DTI, PET, resting/task EEG, intra-operative LFP/EEG; autonomic reactivity; emotional response processing, facial EMG, immune markers, gene expression) as well as collaborations involving animal models. Active collaborators include psychiatrists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, psychologists, and cognitive neuroscientists as well as neuroanatomists, neurophysiologists, biomedical engineers and biostatisticians.