Renowned MUSC neuropsychiatric disorders researcher recognized for scientific excellence by SC Governor

June 11, 2024

Gov. Henry McMaster has honored Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) researcher Mark George, M.D., with the 2024 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Scientific Research. Established in 1985, this award is presented yearly to individuals who have made significant contributions to science in South Carolina. The S.C. Governor’s Office and South Carolina Academy of Science jointly sponsor the award.

“MUSC is proud to have a researcher of Dr. George’s caliber at the institution and on our research team,” said Lisa Saladin, PT, Ph.D., executive vice president for Academic Affairs and provost at MUSC. “This award is recognition of Dr. George’s achievements in pushing the boundaries of scientific understanding. His exceptional career in brain imaging, brain stimulation and research into the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders has led to groundbreaking discoveries that impact patient care today.”

George, the Layton McCurdy Endowed Chair in Psychiatry, is a Distinguished University Professor of Psychiatry, Radiology and Neurosciences at MUSC and the director of the MUSC Brain Stimulation Division. A native of Columbia, George graduated from Davidson College and was one of the first graduates of a combined residency program at MUSC in neurology and psychiatry in 1989. After his residency program, he began his career as a visiting research fellow at the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology in London, England, in 1990. During his residency, he gained experience with PET scanning and began to study how the brain deals with emotion, using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Over the next four years, George used new functional imaging tools to map brain activity, discovering circuits and roadmaps that now serve as guides for therapeutic stimulation to treat brain disorders.

Recruited from the prestigious National Institutes of Health (NIH), George returned to MUSC in 1995 to establish cutting-edge research imaging facilities. During his career at MUSC, George founded the MUSC Brain Research Imaging Center, launched a new field of neuropsychiatric treatments and trained future leaders pursuing careers in this field. One of his key achievements has been building South Carolina’s research infrastructure for brain imaging and stimulation, establishing the state as a hub for advanced brain research while simultaneously growing many statewide, national and global collaborations. In a landmark partnership with Gordon Baylis, D.Phil., D.V.M., of the University of South Carolina (USC) in Columbia, George pioneered the establishment of the first endowed chairs through the SmartState program. Embracing a collaborative approach over competition, they envisioned a joint statewide research center, laying the groundwork for the SmartState program’s adoption of this innovative model.

“Dr. George’s work has not only revolutionized our understanding of the human mind, but his collaborative spirit has helped to advance research in the field even further,” said Terrence Steyer, M.D., dean of the College of Medicine and vice president for Medical Affairs at MUSC. “His dedication to sharing his invaluable knowledge and expertise is an inspiration to us all.”

His unwavering determination has not only formed new collaborations for MUSC research, it also has led to the acquisition of state-of-the-art research scanners, propelling MUSC to the forefront of medical imaging research today. Overall, George has more than 500 publications, 60,000 citations, four patents, four FDA-approved treatments, countless potential lives saved and a dozen former students who have now established related research at other institutions.


About MUSC 

Founded in 1824 in Charleston, MUSC is the state’s only comprehensive academic health system, with a unique mission to preserve and optimize human life in South Carolina through education, research and patient care. Each year, MUSC educates more than 3,200 students in six colleges – Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy – and trains more than 900 residents and fellows in its health system. MUSC brought in more than $300 million in research funds in fiscal year 2023, leading the state overall in research funding. MUSC also leads the state in federal and National Institutes of Health funding. For information on academic programs, visit

As the health care system of the Medical University of South Carolina, MUSC Health is dedicated to delivering the highest-quality and safest patient care while educating and training generations of outstanding health care providers and leaders to serve the people of South Carolina and beyond. Patient care is provided at 16 hospitals (includes owned or governing interest), with approximately 2,700 beds and four additional hospital locations in development, more than 350 telehealth sites and nearly 750 care locations situated in all regions of South Carolina. In 2023, for the ninth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health University Medical Center in Charleston the No. 1 hospital in South Carolina. To learn more about clinical patient services, visit

MUSC has a total enterprise annual operating budget of $5.9 billion. The 31,000 MUSC family members include world-class faculty, physicians, specialty providers, scientists, students, contract employees, affiliates and care team members who deliver groundbreaking education, research, and patient care.