Mark S. George, M.D.
(Scientific Advisory Board)
Dr. George began studying the relationship between mind and brain as an undergraduate philosophy student at Davidson College. He has continued this interest throughout his career with a focus on using brain imaging and brain stimulation to understand mood regulating circuits and how they go awry in depression and then using this knowledge to devise new treatments.
He received his MD from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston in 1985, where he continued with dual residencies in both neurology and psychiatry. Following his residency training, he did a research fellowship in brain imaging at the Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London, England. While there, he learned about transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). He then moved to Washington, DC, working with Dr. Robert Post in the Intramural National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). During his 4 years at NIMH he used functional brain imaging (first oxygen PET, then fMRI) and discovered that specific brain regions change activity during normal emotions. This led to work using imaging to understand brain changes that occur in depression and mania. This directly led to his pioneering use of a TMS as a probe of neuronal circuits regulating mood, and to clinical trials using TMS as an antidepressant. In 1993, he discovered that daily prefrontal rTMS over several weeks could treat depression. He has since continuously worked to grow the science of TMS, both in terms of how it works in the brain, and in critically evaluating its therapeutic applications, especially in the area of treating depression. In 1998 he and the group at MUSC showed that one could actually non-invasively stimulate the brain with TMS inside an MRI scanner, effectively pushing and pulling brain circuits in awake alert adults, while imaging the activity in the brain.
Dr. George thus brings substantial expertise in using brain stimulation and imaging to help understand the neural correlates of consciousness. He is a world expert in brain stimulation, and depression, and is the editor-in-chief of a new journal he launched with Elsevier in 2008 called, Brain Stimulation: Basic, Translation and Clinical Research in Neuromodulation. He has been continuously funded by NIH and other funding agencies since his fellowships. He has received both a NARSAD Young Investigator and Independent Investigator Award to pursue TMS research in depression. He has received numerous international awards including the NARSAD Klerman Award (2000), NARSAD Falcone Award (2008) and the WFSBP Lifetime Achievement Award (2007). In 2009 US News and World Report named him one of 14 ‘medical pioneers who are not holding back’. He is on several editorial review boards and NIH study sections, has published over 400 scientific articles or book chapters, and has written or edited 6 books.