Kafui Dzirasa


What if we diagnosed and treated mental illness as a brain electrical circuit malfunction? 


As the first African American to complete a PhD in Neurobiology at Duke University, psychiatrist Kafui Dzirasa is pushing the limits in more ways than one. His research is focused on rethinking the framework that currently dictates the way we diagnose, view, and treat mental illness. Through his work, Kafui hopes to reveal links between brain circuit malfunction and symptoms of mental illness, with the ultimate goal of producing neuroelectrical stimulation remedies for these diseases. Kafui is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at the Duke University School of Medicine. In 2008, he was recognized as one of Ebony Magazine’s 30 Young Leaders of the Future and his laboratory has been featured on CBS 60 Minutes. Kafui was a TEDMED Speaker in 2016 and currently serves on the Editorial Advisory Board.


Duke Psychiatrist and Neuroscientist Discusses the Next Big Idea in Brain Research
Duke Today. 2016.

Daytime spikes in dopaminergic activity drive rapid mood-cycling in mice.
Sidor MM, Spenser SM, Dzirasa K, Parekh PK, Tye KM. Mos Psychiatry. 2015;20(11):1406-19. 
New study identifies why some deal with stress better
Chason R. USATODAY. 2014.

Reaching above the ceiling
60 Minutes. CBS News. 2011. 

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Brain Engineer