Research Opportunities

Research Opportunities

With UVA Neurosurgeons and Neuroscience researchers pursuing research in most all areas of neuroscience, we have many opportunities for residents to pursue research in areas that interest them.

Dr. Ed Oldfield is our Neurosurgery Department's Research Director, with responsibility to assure that residents have optimal training and are competent independent investigators when they complete their training.

Dr. Oldfield is also the site director for the  joint NIH-UVA Neurosurgical Residency Program, which has the goal of training and educating future academic neurosurgical leaders with the ability to perform world-class neuroscience research. NIH-UVA residents spend half of their 7 year residency at UVA participating on the very active clinical service, and the other half at NIH pursuing research in a setting as creative, innovative, and well-equipped as one can imagine.

Dr. Oldfield himself is pursuing laboratory and clinical research to understand the basis of the pathogenesis of central nervous system tumors, including pituitary tumors and syringomyelia.  He is also researching drug delivery approaches that can be used to treat brain tumors and other neurological disorders, including neuro-degenerative disorders, such as Parkinson's disease.  Neurologist Dr. Deric Park collaborates with Dr. Oldfield, and pursues his own research interests, including research on the developmental basis for the origin and progression of brain tumors.

Drs. Neal Kassell, Jeff Elias and Jason Sheehan are leading the development of high-intensity focused ultrasound technology, which has exciting potential for drug delivery and to treat tumors, stroke, and movement disorders non-invasively. Dr. Elias's clinical trial to treats patients with Essential Tremor is believed to have been the first intracranial therapeutic application of the technology in the world, and its favorable results have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Elias is currently enrolling patients in a trial to treat tremor-dominant Parkinson's and multiple other focused ultrasound trials are enrolling or in development.

The neuro-oncology and spine areas are involved in most all major national clinical trials.  Our clinical trials page has links to information about clinical trials led by our doctors and doctors across UVA.

We are also active in other areas of research including Epilepsy, Parkinson's Disease, and more.

UVA has world-class facilities that play a part in our research:

-  The first-of-its-kind $8M Focused Ultrasound Center.

-  The $1.5M Microsurgical Training Lab shared between the departments of neurosurgery and otolaryngology-head & neck surgery, where our residents have hands-on monthly cadavaric training on all neurosurgical approaches.

-  The $15M intraoperative MRI suite with one of America’s first installations of a combined biplane intraoperative MRI/angiography unit.

-  The $4M Gamma Knife Perfexion machine, the second installation in the country, in America’s second oldest Gamma Knife Unit.