Department of Neurosurgery

Neurosurgery Funded Projects


Active Grants


Role of POT1 mutations in glioma initiation
NIH Grant number: NS110976
Individuals with germline POT1 mutations have a higher risk of developing gliomas, which comprise the majority of malignant primary brain tumors. This project aims to identify the biological mechanisms underlying this risk by studying the role of POT1 mutations in glioma initiation, incorporating a multitude of important parameters such as cell cycle and telomere biology. 

Principal Investigator
Ali Jalali, M.D., Ph.D.

Percutaneous Cordotomy for Pain Palliation in Advanced Cancer
In this proposal, we will study spinothalamic lesioning for cancer-related pain. We will perform a randomized double-blinded trial, and use imaging and quantitative sensory testing data to determine the effectiveness of this intervention in reducing pain.

Principal Investigator
Ashwin Viswanathan, M.D.                                                                

Mapping and Modulating the Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Socio-affective Processing
The goals of this project are to define the structural and effective connectivity of the affective salience network, create spatiotemporal circuit signatures of socio-affective function, and establish the causality of affective salience network stimulation modulating function. Progress toward these goals will pave the way toward closed-loop neuromodulation approaches for affective networks in human participants.

Principal Investigator
Kelly Bijanki, Ph.D.                                                                                

The human amygdala in social processing: circuits, physiology, behavior, and neuromodulation.
The goal of this project is to provide critical training in electrophysiology, and to test the scientific premise that the amygdala is directly and causally involved in depression and social processing.

Principal Investigator
Kelly Bijanki, Ph.D.                                                                            

Administrative supplement to the human amygdala in social processing: circuits, physiology, behavior, and neuromodulation.NIH
The goal of this project is to provide training in electrophysiological analysis and examine the role of the amygdala in depressive phenomenology leveraging the intracranial recording infrastructure to probe real-time neural activity in human subjects.

Principal Investigators
Kelly Bijanki, Ph.D. and Willie (MPI)

Novel strategies for mapping the emotional neural circuitry using human brain stimulation.
This research seeks to gain a better understanding of the emotional correlates to limbic brain stimulation. We aim to use this information to help develop better methods to anticipate and prevent neuropsychiatric complications following brain surgery for epilepsy.

Principal Investigator
Sameer Sheth, M.D., Ph.D.

Mapping Algorithmic State Space in the Human Brain
The goal of this project is to test the hypothesis that human medial temporal lobe and ventral prefrontal cortex encode representations that enable navigation through not just physical but also algorithmic state spaces.

Principal Investigator
Sameer Sheth, M.D., Ph.D.

Deep Brain Stimulation for Depression Using Directional Current Steering and Individualized Network Targeting
Major Goals: We use novel DBS technology with current steering, coupled to an innovative network-based approach with intracranial recordings, to individualize targeting and improve DBS therapy for treatment-resistant depression.

Principal Investigator
Sameer Sheth, M.D., Ph.D.

Investigating the Role of Medial and Lateral Prefrontal Cortex in Human Decision-Making Effort
Dana Foundation
The goal of this project is to study interactions between human dACC and dlPFC in cognitive control processes using fMRI and intracranial recordings.

Principal Investigator
​​​​​​​Sameer Sheth, M.D., Ph.D.

Sharing Data in BRAIN Initiative Studies
The objective of this proposal is to engage key stakeholders in a deliberative process to identify challenges and concerns specific to sharing human data from BRAIN Initiative studies and generate empirically informed policy and practice options to facilitate responsible sharing of human data within the BRAIN Initiative.

Primary Investigator
Sameer Sheth, M.D., Ph.D.

Adaptive DBS in Non-Motor Neuropsychiatric Disorders: Regulating Limbic Circuit Imbalance
Major Goals: Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is an experimental treatment used in some patients with treatment resistant Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Electrodes are placed in the brain and connected to pacemaker-like device that produces electrical stimulation. This proposal aims to develop a prototype DBS system that would adjust stimulation automatically in response to the patient’s changing clinical needs.

Sameer Sheth, M.D., Ph.D.

TBI Endpoints Development (TED)
DoD: W81XWH-14-1-0176
Funded as a direct collaboration with FDA, This unique public-private partnership will examine data from thousands of athletes, soldiers, and the broader civilian population to identify and validate effective measures or “endpoints” of brain injury and recovery.

Overall PI: Geoffrey Manley, M.D., Ph.D.; Site PI: Claudia Robertson, M.D.

Non-invasive Intracranial Pressure Assessment Using a Compact, Portable Monitor
Vivonics/DoD: W81XWH-17-C-0006
This project is developing a non-invasive monitor of intracranial pressure using near-infrared spectroscopy technology

Site PI: Claudia Robertson, M.D.

Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge in Traumatic Brain Injury Network (TRACK-TBI NET)
DoD/MTEC: W81XWH-15-9-0001
TRACK-TBI NET is a multi-faceted Phase 2 TBI clinical trial network that builds on the well-established infrastructure of its foundation: the longitudinal, observational TRACK-TBI study. Based on developments in outcome assessment, blood-based biomarkers, and advanced MRI imaging from the observational TRACK-TBI study, the TRACK-TBI NETWORK will perform phase 2 clinical trials of drugs that may improve outcome from traumatic brain injury.

Overall PI: Geoffrey Manley, M.D., Ph.D.; Site PI and Co-director of Clinical Core: Claudia Robertson, M.D.

Biomarker-Based Precision Medicine Approach to Traumatic Brain Injury Subphenotypes
DoD: W81XWH-19-2-0012
This study will evaluate potential biomarkers of traumatic brain injury.

PI: Richard Rubenstein, Ph.D.; Co-investigator: Claudia Robertson, M.D.

Clinical Evaluation of the i-STAT TBI Test
Abbott POC/DoD: SUBK-A133407- 1210-4SC
This study will test Abbott’s prototype TBI point-of-care device. The i-STAT handheld blood analyzer and blood test under development can be used at the patient’s bedside to detect elevated levels of TBI biomarkers like GFAP and UCHL-1. The study aims to enroll ~1100 subjects over two years across the TRACK-TBI Network sites who present with a suspected TBI within 12 hours of the injury and who have a CT scan.

Overall PI: Geoffrey Manley, M.D., Ph.D.; Site PI: Claudia Robertson, M.D.

TRACK-TBI Precision Medicine – Pathomechanistic Classification of Traumatic Brain Injury: The Bridge to Targeted Therapies
DoD: W81XWH-18-2-0042
TRACK-TBI Precision Medicine project will utilize the rich TRACK-TBI dataset to validate biomarkers of diffuse axonal injury (DAI), microvascular injury (MVI), and neuro-inflammation using advanced blood-based assay platforms and MRI sequences. The project will validate early and ultra-early blood-based and imaging biomarkers of DAI, MVI, and neuro-inflammation and will conduct a multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled exploratory clinical trial comparing the impact of cyclosporine A on blood-based and imaging biomarkers of DAI and neuro-inflammation in moderate/severe TBI patients.

Overall PI: Geoffrey Manley, M.D., Ph.D.; Site PI: Claudia Robertson, M.D.

Brain Oxygen Optimization in Severe TBI Phase-3 (BOOST-3)
NIH: SUBK10393CSPR-002
BOOST3 is a randomized clinical trial to determine the comparative effectiveness of two strategies for monitoring and treating patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the intensive care unit (ICU). The study will determine the safety and efficacy of a strategy guided by treatment goals based on both intracranial pressure (ICP) and brain tissue oxygen (PbtO2) as compared to a strategy guided by treatment goals based on ICP monitoring alone.

Overall PI: Ramon Diaz-Arrastia, M.D., Ph.D.; Site PI: Claudia Robertson, M.D.

Biomarkers in the Brain Oxygen Optimization in Severe Traumatic Brain Injury Trial (BIO-BOOST)
DoD: W81XWH1910829
Capitalizing on the infrastructure and the study population for the BOOST-3 study, we will conduct an ancillary biomarker study, Bio-BOOST. The main goal of Bio-BOOST is to determine how the lack of oxygen to brain tissues affects the levels of blood tests for brain injury.

Overall PI: Fred Korley, M.D.; Site PI: Claudia Robertson, M.D.

NFL Scientific Advisory Board/NFL Charities: UFRA-129
Supported by funding through a competitive grant from the National Football League Scientific Advisory Board. TRACK-TBI LONG will further advance our understanding of TBI’s natural history by extending follow-up of the original TRACK-TBI cohort by two additional years. This follow-up effort to the TRACK-TBI study aims to collect longer term data on the outcomes of those original TRACK-TBI participants who experienced a brain injury.

Site PI: Claudia Robertson, M.D.

Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge in Traumatic Brain Injury Epileptogenesis Project (TRACK-TBI EPI)
DoD: W81XWH-19-1-0861
The main objective of the TRACK-TBI Epileptogenesis Project (TRACK-TBI EPI) is to determine how post-traumatic epilepsy (PTE) contributes to the negative neurological and psychological outcomes of individuals who experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI), compared to subjects with comparable TBI without PTE.

Overall PI: Ramon Diaz-Arrastia, M.D., Ph.D.: Site PI: Claudia Robertson, M.D.

Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge in Traumatic Brain Injury Biomarker Project NF-L (TRACK-TBI BIO NF-L)
NIH: U01-NS-114140-01
The TRACK-TBI Biomarker Project NF-L (TRACK-TBI BIO NF-L) will extend the follow-up periods for TRACK-TBI participants from one to five years. The extensive clinical, imaging, and biomarker data that has already been collected in these subjects will allow for the identification of risk factors, co-morbidities, and prognostic biomarkers of TBI.

Overall PI: Ramon Diaz-Arrastia, M.D., Ph.D.; Site PI: Claudia Robertson, M.D.

Development and Validation of Spreading Depolarization Monitoring for TBI Management (SDII)
DoD: W81Wh-6-2-0020
This project seeks to understand the role of spreading depolarizations in determining the outcome from traumatic brain injury, and to develop methods for identifying spreading depolarizations using surface EEG.

Overal PI: Jed Harting, Ph.D.; Site PI: Shankar Gopinath, M.D.; Co-investigator: Claudia Robertson, M.D.

Leveraging FITBIR Data to Improve Clinical Practice of Severe TBI”
DoD: W81XWH2010770
By leveraging data from five multicenter TBI trials that have uploaded data to the Federal Interagency Traumatic Brain Injury Research Informatics System (FITBIR) and two additional studies external to FITBIR, we propose to utilize an unprecedented quantity of data to develop prognostic models for long-term TBI outcomes.

Overall PI: Jose-Miguel Yamal, Ph.D.; Site PI: Jovany Cruz Navarro, M.D., Co-investigator: Claudia Robertson, M.D.

Discovery of Biomarker Signatures Prognostic for Neuropathic Pain after Acute Spinal Cord Injury
NIH: R61NS113329
​​​​​​​The objective of this research is to develop a biomarker signature prognostic of spinal cord injury-induced neuropathic pain. The ultimate goal is to identify new non-addictive treatments for its prevention.

Overall PI: Georgene Hergenroeder; Ph.D., Site PI: Jovany Navarro Cruz, M.D.; Co-investigator: Claudia Robertson, M.D.

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