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.

Dr. Deric Park has joined our neurosurgery faculty and leads efforts in seeking and administering resident training grants.  He will collaborate with Dr. Oldfield, and pursue 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. In February 2011, Dr. Elias used focused ultrasound in a clinical trial to treat a patient with Essential Tremor, and the patient responded favorably. It's believed to be the first intracranial therapeutic application of the technology in the world. Read more. The procedure was done in UVA's $8M Focused Ultrasound Center, the first such facility in the world. Read about UVA's initiative here and learn more about the exciting technology at

Drs. Greg Helm and James Stone have been awarded a combined $5+ million to study traumatic brain injury, a subject on which many UVA departments are collaborating.

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 Lab Facility being constructed jointly between the departments of neurosurgery and otolaryngology-head & neck surgery.  The facility will host residents and clinicians from near and far to learn and develop surgical techniques.

-  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.