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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 co-founded the UC Collaborative for Research on Acute Neurologic Injuries (CRANI) and work closely with the Neuroscience Graduate Program  

Neurophysiology of Stroke and Brain Trauma

The Neurophysiology Lab is engaged in some of our most exciting translational research on the development of acute brain lesions from stroke and brain trauma. This research focuses on spreading depolarizations, or “brain tsunamis”, which are massive short-circuiting electrical waves that repeatedly spread through the injured brain. They promote profound pathologic changes on the molecular, cellular, and tissue level that lead to mass cell death. 

Spreading depolarizations are studied clinically by placing a linear strip of electrodes on the brain surface in patients following severe neurotrauma, a ruptured aneurysm, or ischemic stroke. They occur with high incidence (50-90%), often for many days, and are a new focus for monitoring and treatment in neurocritical care. The lab also studies spreading depolarizations in large and small animal models to gain insight into causes, mechanisms, and treatments. 

Neurotrauma Research

Our neurotrauma research portfolio is diverse and includes a range of preclinical and clinical studies. We participate in the national clinical effort, Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge in TBI (TRACK-TBI), and lead the affiliated multi-center of brain neuromonitoring, Spreading Depolarizations-II. Our rodent Neurotrauma Lab, led by Dr. Laura Ngwenya, MD, PhD studies mechanisms mediating poor cognitive outcome after traumatic brain injury. Dr. Jennifer McGuire, PhD’s Metabolic Dysfunction Laboratory studies altered metabolic pathways and involves active collaborations with the Department of Surgery, Center for Surgical Innovation, and CCHMC.

Metabolic Recovery Lab

The Metabolic Recovery Laboratory in the Department of Neurosurgery is the lab of Dr. Jennifer McGuire, Ph.D.. The brain is an energetically demanding organ requiring a disproportionate amount of energy relative to its size. Metabolic demands increase after injury as the brain attempts to contain and repair tissue damage. In many cases demand outpaces the supply resulting in global metabolic depression, interfering with neurotransmission and impairing cognitive function in the acute and subacute stages of injury. In more than 20% of traumatic brain injuries, even those with no findings in diagnostic imaging, cognitive symptoms become chronic, preventing a complete return to previous activities. Not coincidentally, chronic symptoms impact energy-expensive executive functions including concentration and attention, impulse control, decision making, and working memory. The Metabolic Recovery Laboratory applies molecular, histological, behavioral, and NMR-metabolomics approaches in animal models of both acute and chronic traumatic brain injury (TBI) to identify how injury interferes with the exchange of neurotransmitters and metabolic substrates between neurons and glia that is required to support neurotransmission and cognitive function. Current research funded by NIH and the DoD examines the potential for supplemental energy substrates to preserve the brain energy supply in severe TBI, and improving cognitive function in chronic injury by increasing the brain’s metabolic capacity. The Metabolic Recovery laboratory is associated with the Collaborative for Research on Acute Neurological Injury (CRANI) and has active collaborations within the College of Medicine, the James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

Brain Tumor Research

The UC Brain Tumor Center integrates the research and translational activities of an interdisciplinary team of clinicians and scientists from across the University of Cincinnati and its neighboring institutions.  Our mission is to develop new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for tumors that arise in the brain as well as tumors that have spread (metastasized) to the brain.  

Goodyear Research Lab

The Goodyear Lab was established in 1986 as a premier research and education facility for residents, fellows, and faculty. The lab provides a setting for neurosurgeons to learn and study surgical anatomy, particularly of the skull base, and become skilled in microsurgical and endoscopic procedures.

Core Facilities

Our mission is to facilitate world-class, collaborative research—both basic and translational— in cerebrovascular diseases, neurotrauma and other acute neurological conditions by providing superb facilities, expertise and mentorship.

Our suite of core laboratories, well equipped and efficiently arranged, is located on the fifth floor of the Medical Sciences Building. Dedicated areas in our laboratories support studies of cell/tissue culture, electrophysiology, rodent surgery and ex vivo tissue preparation, rodent behavioral testing, microscopy dark room and imaging equipment, histology and slide preparation, tissue archiving, and protein, DNA, and RNA molecular biology.  

In combination with the established cores at the UC College of Medicine and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, we can provide a comprehensive array of practical and intellectual approaches to a scientific problem, from inception to implementation, presentation and publication.

Contact Us

Department of
Neurosurgery

231 Albert Sabin Way
PO Box 670769
Cincinnati, OH 45267-0515

Mailing Address
University of Cincinnati
College of Medicine
Department of Neurosurgery
PO Box 670515
Cincinnati Ohio 45267-0515