Helen S Mayberg, MD Email Helen Mayberg
- PROFESSOR | Neurosurgery
- PROFESSOR | Neurology
- PROFESSOR | Neuroscience
- PROFESSOR | Psychiatry
- Hospital Affiliations
- The Mount Sinai Hospital
- Mount Sinai Morningside and Mount Sinai West
Helen S. Mayberg, MD, is a neurologist renowned for her study of brain circuits in depression and for her pioneering deep brain stimulation research, which has been heralded as one of the first hypothesis-driven treatment strategies for a major mental illness. She is the founding Director of Mount Sinai Health System's The Nash Family Center for Advanced Circuit Therapeutics, a center which advances precision surgical treatments for neuropsychiatric disorders through the rapid conversion of neuroscience and neuroengineering innovations that correct brain circuit abnormalities to restore mood as well as motor and cognitive functioning.
As a behavioral neurologist, Dr. Mayberg has established an international reputation for her pioneering research to map the brain circuits implicated in depression. Early in her career, she developed one of the first “network” models for mood disorders—incorporating fundamentals of neuroanatomy and brain connections with imaging technologies—to propose an alternative neurological view of this classical psychiatric condition that extended beyond the neurochemical models that had dominated for decades. This circuit approach has evolved over the years and continues to anchor many contemporary studies of mood disorders, including the development and latest refinements of deep brain stimulation, a procedure for treatment-resistant depression that involves placing electrodes deep in the brain and turning them on at an amplitude and frequency that disrupts the activity between various brain regions.
Using positron emission topography (PET) scans and later, functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), combined with keen neuropsychiatric evaluation, Dr. Mayberg identified Brodmann area 25 (BA25), a brain area strategically positioned to impact the frontal lobes as well as deep regions in the amygdala, hippocampus, basal ganglia, and brainstem, which together regulate emotion, motivation, memory, self-reflection, sleep, and other basic drives, all of which can be disrupted in depressed patients. She found that the wiring of BA25 to these other regions proved critical to understanding the normal interactions of emotions and thought. Subsequent pivotal studies demonstrated that when BA25 was activated by intense sadness, higher centers in the frontal cortex shut down; similarly, when depression was treated, BA25 activity was reduced and frontal regions returned to normal functioning. While at the University of Toronto in the early 2000s, Dr. Mayberg led a research team that tested the first use of deep brain stimulation of BA25 in patients who had become unresponsive to all available antidepressant treatments. The surgical technique uses activation of electrodes placed in the brain to adjust and correct the abnormal communication between BA25 and other regions of the brain.
Dr. Mayberg received an MD from the University of Southern California. She trained at the Neurological Institute of New York at Columbia University and was a post-doctoral fellow in nuclear medicine at Johns Hopkins Medicine. Immediately prior to joining Mount Sinai, Dr. Mayberg was Professor of Psychiatry, Neurology, and Radiology and held the inaugural Dorothy C. Fuqua Chair in Psychiatric Neuroimaging and Therapeutics at Emory University School of Medicine. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, The American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Inventors.
As Director of The Center for Advanced Circuit Therapeutics at Mount Sinai, Dr. Mayberg builds a cross-disciplinary platform for collaborative translational research that will bring together clinical colleagues in neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry with experts from neuroscience, imaging, engineering, bioinformatics, neuro-engineering, and computational neuroscience to foster the development of new circuit-based strategies and delivery of state-of-the art individualized treatments for patients with advanced neuropsychiatric disorders.
A close partnership between Dr. Mayberg and Brian H. Kopell, MD, Director of the Center for Neuromodulation within the Department of Neurosurgery at Mount Sinai, is the core of the program. Dr. Mayberg will also establish ties between the Center and the many basic and clinical researchers across the Mount Sinai Health System focused on neuropsychiatric disorders. In particular, she will work closely with experts from the Depression and Anxiety Center; Movement Disorders Center, The Epilepsy Center; The BioMedical Engineering and Imaging Institute (BMEII); The Friedman Brain Institute; and many departments and divisions across the Icahn School of Medicine and within the Mount Sinai Health System and many departments and divisions across the Icahn School of Medicine and within the Mount Sinai Health System.
Neurology, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
- Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)
Depression, Imaging, Neurology, Neuromodulation, Neuroscience, Psychiatry
Multi-Disciplinary Training Area
MD, University of Southern California
Internship, Internal Medicine
LAC-USC Medical Center
Columbia Pres/Neurological Institute NY
3nd Annual Frances and Kenneth Eisenberg Research Prize, University of Michigan
University of Michigan
39th TS Srinivasan Endowment Orator, Chennai, India
Johns Hopkins University Society of Scholars, elected
Johns Hopkins University
Steven E. Hyman Award for Distinguished Service to the Field of Neuroethics, International Neuroethics Society
International Neuroethics Society
American Academy of Arts and Sciences, elected member
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
V. Sagar Sethi Mental Health Research Award
Psychiatric Foundation of North Carolina
National Academy of Inventors, elected member
National Academy of Inventors
Distinguished Service Award, American Psychiatric Association
American Psychiatric Association
Robert Wartenberg Award and Lecturer, American Academy of Neurology
American Academy of Neurology
Paul MacLean Award, American Psychosomatic Society
American Psychosomatic Society
Cura Personalis Award, Georgetown University Medical Center
Georgetown University Medical Center
Gold Medal Award, Society of Biological Psychiatry
Society of Biological Psychiatry
American Association for the Advancement of Science, AAAS, elected fellow
American Association for the Advancement of Science, AAAS
Joan and Stanford Alexander Annual Award in Psychiatry, Houston, Texas
25th Annual Pasarow Foundation Award, Neuropsychiatry
research in Neuropsychiatry
Senior Award for Translational Neuroscience, Roche-Nature Medicine
The Raymond Adams Lecturer & Award, American Neurological Association
American Neurological Association, Baltimore
Frontiers in Clinical Neuroscience, Speaker and Award, American Academy of Neurology
Academy of Neurology
Dorothy C. Fuqua Chair of Psychiatric Neuroimaging and Therapeutics, Emory University
National Academy of Medicine, elected member
Institute of Medicine
Centenary Lecturer, University of Toronto
University of Toronto, Dept of Psychiatry
Falcone Prize in Mood Disorders Research, NARSAD
Arnold Pfeffer Prize, Society of Neuropsychoanalysis
Society of Neuropsychoanalysis
American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, Elected Member
American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
Distinguished Investigator Award, NARSAD
American Neurological Association, Elected Member
American Neurological Association
Litchfield Lecturer, Oxford College UK
Oxford College, England
Sandra Rotman Chair in Neuropsychiatry, University of Toronto
University of Toronto
Gerald Klerman Memorial Award runner-up, NARSAD
Deep Brain Stimulation
Pioneering research which has been heralded as one of the first hypothesis-driven treatment strategies for a major mental illness.
Electrophysiological Biomarkers to Optimize Deep Brain Stimulation for Depression
The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is running a single-center experimental trial of deep brain stimulation (DBS) to the subcallosal cingulate region (Area 25) for treatment resistant depression (TRD). The goal of this study is to refine and optimize this treatment approach using a newly available neuromodulation system (the Medtronic Summit RC+S) that allows brain activity during ongoing therapeutic DBS to be recorded from the brain in real-time. This study will further define brain readouts that track depression recovery, providing novel strategies to monitor and guide treatment and device programming decisions in patients receiving DBS for TRD.
Participating Mount Sinai Programs:
- Depression and Anxiety Center for Discovery and Treatment (DAC)
- Center for Neuromodulation
- Nash Family Center for Advanced Circuit Therapeutics
For more information visit Mount Sinai Clinical Trials.
Electrophysiological biomarkers to Optimize DBS for Depression
Using a newly available bi-directional neuromodulation system that allows live streaming of oscillatory activity at the site of stimulation,
this study will define novel control strategies to guide programming for DBS delivery.
Hope for Depression Research Foundation
Multimodal Assessment of Deep Brain Stimulation Effects in Treatment Resistant Depression Phase IV
Continued studies of psychophysiological changes during acute and chronic DBS.
CRCNS Collaborative Research: Modeling and Manipulating Dynamic Network Activity in the Brain
This study using Connectome-based Dynamic Network Modeling (CDNM) to examine how interactions between brain macroscale structure and the dynamics of local neural populations leads to the emergence of complex functional networks and the rich repertoire of brain states. The developed CDNMs will be evaluated on abnormal connectomes obtained from patients MDD and subsequently tested in patients undergoing DBS treatment.
Shella Keilholz (PI, Emory)
Physicians and scientists on the faculty of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai often interact with pharmaceutical, device and biotechnology companies to improve patient care, develop new therapies and achieve scientific breakthroughs. In order to promote an ethical and transparent environment for conducting research, providing clinical care and teaching, Mount Sinai requires that salaried faculty inform the School of their relationships with such companies.
Below are financial relationships with industry reported by Dr. Mayberg during 2020 and/or 2021. Please note that this information may differ from information posted on corporate sites due to timing or classification differences.
- Abbott Laboratories
- licensed to Abbott Labs (prev St Jude Inc) I am paid by Functional Neuroscience
Scientific Advisory Board:
- Dana Foundation
- Esther A. and Joseph Klingenstein Fund
- Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry
- The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, formerly NARSAD
Service on Board of Directors: Service in a fiduciary capacity, such as an officer or director, for the following companies:
- International Neuroethics Society
Mount Sinai's faculty policies relating to faculty collaboration with industry are posted on our website. Patients may wish to ask their physician about the activities they perform for companies.
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