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Graduate Education Advancement Board member Leah Townsend ’11 (’17 Ph.D.) is the CEO of UNC-Chapel Hill affiliated startup, Pulvinar Neuro. The start-up’s novel treatment for mental illness – a technology that uses closed-loop, non-invasive stimulation of brain waves – offers hope to a rising tide of patients and recently led to the company’s acquisition by medical device leader Electromedical Products International. 

Between the pandemic, international unrest, natural disasters and the mounting underlying pressures of daily life, the challenges of mental health and mental illness are surfacing more than ever. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, more than one in five adults in the U.S. experience mental illness, and more than one in 15 experienced both a substance abuse disorder and mental illness. For those seeking treatment, solutions can be limited and unaffordable on a personal level – and unable to scale to meet the growing mental health needs across society at large.

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