Research in Neurosurgery & Neuroscience
Our faculty members are committed to technology development, basic science and clinical trials. We are especially committed to translational research, the process by which laboratory discoveries lead to new therapies and treatments for our patients.
As a result, multidisciplinary collaboration among basic researchers and clinical subspecialists is a core value in our department. We work closely with the Neuroscience Graduate Program.
The Clinical Neurophysiology Lab is engaged in some of our most exciting translational research involving the study of spreading depolarizations, electrical disturbances that spread through an injured brain like tsunamis and have a direct link to poor recovery of patients who have suffered neurotrauma, a ruptured aneurysm or ischemic stroke.
These short-circuits occur in a localized area of injury and result in dampened brain waves. Invisible in routine electroencophalography (EEG) exams, they nevertheless represent an extreme change in voltage, up to 10 times greater than normal brain patterns.
Leading the department’s research in this area is Jed Hartings, PhD, who has significant funding from the Department of Defense (DoD), and Fellow Jason Hinzman. Hartings measures depolarizations by placing a linear strip of electrodes on the surface of the brain, near the injured area, during surgery. The electrode strip records brainwaves similar to an EEG.
Molecular Therapeutics Program
The Molecular Therapeutics Program seeks to understand the biological mechanisms of cancer’s spread to the brain and to develop effective new ways to treat the condition. The program was established with a $2 million gift from the Harold C. Schott Foundation and $4.5 million in additional funds from the UC College of Medicine and its departments of neurosurgery and radiation oncology and the division of hematology oncology.
The program is building a translational research and patient care program that is interdisciplinary and dedicated exclusively to tackling the growing problem of brain metastasis.
The Smart Catheter, or lab-on-a-tube, is a brain monitoring research project funded by the Department of Defense. The device is being readied for testing in patients who have suffered neurotrauma or other neurological emergencies. The tube is designed to provide continuous brain monitoring and is capable of simultaneously draining cerebrospinal fluid.
The new lab-on-a-tube could allow real-time monitoring of seven different parameters (e.g., intracranial pressure, temperature, cerebral blood flow) with a single catheter placed inside the brain through a hole in the skull.