Katherine Scangos: Personalized brain stimulation in psychiatry

Event Details:

Thursday, February 3, 2022
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12:00pm to 1:00pm PST
Event Sponsor
Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute
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Katherine Scangos

University of California, San Francisco


Hosted by Rob Malenka

co-hosted by Stanford Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Personalized brain stimulation in psychiatry


Major depression (MDD) is a common psychiatric condition and a leading cause of disability worldwide. While psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy are effective treatments for the majority of people, a substantial number of patients remain refractory to all available treatments. Neuromodulation such as deep brain stimulation (DBS), is a promising solution for these people. However, results from randomized controlled trials of DBS for depression have been inconsistent, suggesting novel strategies for neuromodulation are needed. One such strategy is personalized closed-loop neurostimulation. It addresses the challenge posed by the etiological and diagnostic heterogeneity of depression. Personalized closed-loop neurostimulation involves individualized target selection, customized biomarker driven stimulation, and continuous neural sensing so that treatment is both spatially and temporally individualized. In this talk, I will discuss efforts toward personalizing brain stimulation. I will then present interim findings from a safety and feasibility study of personalized closed-loop DBS at UCSF.


Katherine Scangos, MD, PhD, is a psychiatrist and neuroscientist with an interest in developing novel therapies for neuropsychiatric conditions. She is an Assistant Professor at the University of California, San Francisco Department of Psychiatry. There she conducts quantitative circuit-based neuroscience research to identify electrophysiologic biomarkers of mood disorders and new forms of responsive brain stimulation therapies. She led a clinical trial of personalized closed-loop deep brain stimulation for treatment resistant depression. Clinically, she co-directs the Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and Neuromodulation clinic and research program at UCSF. She is currently a Medical Director at Neumora Therapeutics, where she works to integrate multimodal biomarker development into clinical trials on a large scale.

Katherine is a recipient of the National Institute of Mental Health’s Outstanding Resident Award Program (2017) and the 1907 Trailblazer Award (2020). She received funding from the Brain and Behavioral Research Foundation NARSAD Young Investigator Grant, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and National Institute of Mental Health. Her published work was featured on National Public Radio and in the New York Times.

Katherine received her undergraduate degree from Amherst College and her medical degree and a doctorate in neuroscience from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She subsequently completed psychiatry residency at University of California, Davis and a fellowship in Interventional Psychiatry and Neuroengineering at University of California, San Francisco.