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Professional Profile: Mark S. George, M.D.

Mark S. George, M.D., the McCurdy Endowed Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Radiology, and Neurology and Director of the Brain Stimulation Laboratory at MUSC’s Institute of Psychiatry, is a world expert in brain stimulation and depression. He has grown the science of brain stimulation, both in terms of understanding how the treatments work in the brain and in critically evaluating their therapeutic applications, especially in treating depression. He may be unique in being the only living neuroscientist to have two treatments stemming from their work approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was FDA approved for treating depression in October 2008. Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), which Dr. George pioneered at MUSC in June 1998 as a new treatment for resistant depression, was approved by the FDA in 2006.

In 2009 U.S. News & World Report named him one of fourteen ”medical pioneers who are not holding back” His work has been widely profiled in the national media, including the New York Times, Scientific American, NOVA,  NOVA scienceNOW, and Discover. He has received numerous national and international awards.

Dr. the editor-in-chief of a new journal he launched with Elsevier in 2008 called Brain Stimulation: Basic, Translational and Clinical Research in Neuromodulation. He has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health and other funding agencies throughout his career. He has published more than 400 scientific articles or book chapters and has written or edited six books.

 As an undergraduate student in philosophy at Davidson College, Dr. George began studying the relationship between brain and behavior. He has continued this interest throughout his career with a focus on using brain imaging and brain stimulation to understand depression and devise new treatments. He received his medical degree from MUSC in 1985, where he continued with dual residencies in both neurology and psychiatry. He is board certified in both areas. Following his residency training, he worked for one year (1990-91) at the Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London, England. He then moved to Washington, DC, working in the Intramural National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).  He was one of the first to use functional brain imaging during normal emotions as well as in depression and mania. In 1995, Dr. George, a South Carolina native, returned to Charleston and built a campus-wide research brain imaging division and the brain stimulation laboratory in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.