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Research opportunities

The training program offers multiple opportunities for clinical and basic research. These include projects in neuro-oncology, neurotrauma/critical care, neuroimaging, neurodegenerative disorders, neuroimmunology, pain, spinal biomechanics, intractable epilepsy, cerebrovascular surgery and pediatric neurosurgery. Residents are expected to submit at least two papers per year for publication. The research years (PGY-4 and PGY-5) will provide an opportunity to focus on a particular area of interest and to produce several manuscripts reflecting original, analytic research.


The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research has two full-time labs that study aspects of brain tumor biology. One group, led by Dr. John Boockvar and Dr. Marc Symons, focuses on mechanisms of glioma invasion. The other is led by Dr. Rosemaria Ruggieri. This group studies the cellular and molecular effects of radiation therapy on brain tumors. A tumor tissue bank program collects specimens from patients undergoing tumor resection.

Clinical research for neurosurgery may be pursued with Dr. Michael Schulder and Dr. John Boockvar. Ongoing projects include assessment of patient outcomes with intraoperative MRI (iMRI), examining the role of tractography in brain tumor surgery, and projects assessing outcomes of stereotactic radiosurgery. Dr. Boockvar’s projects focus on intra-arterial blood brain barrier disruption and chemotherapy for brain cancer. The Brain Tumor Center also participates in several multicenter clinical trials (medical and surgical) for patients with various tumor types. Research is facilitated by full-time research staff and the maintenance of a brain tumor registry.

Neurotrauma/critical care

Dr. Raj Narayan and Dr. Chunyan Li are leading an effort to develop a sensor that can monitor multiple parameters in the brain (ICP, pO2, pCO2, temperature, multiple metabolic factors) on a single, small, implantable catheter. This project will include basic science and clinical research components. Clinical research in the NSCU may be pursued under the guidance of Dr. David LeDoux.


Facilities at North Shore University Hospital include a 3 Tesla MRI on which most functional imaging is acquired. Two PhD physicists are in charge of the functional imaging program, including Dr. Pina Sarelli and Dr. Christopher Filippi, who conduct grant-funded research in functional neuroimaging. The FIMR houses a PET scan used for clinical imaging and research. There are ongoing projects examining the fMRI and PET findings in Parkinson’s disease and other degenerative disorders.

Neurodegenerative disorders

A group headed by Dr. David Eidelberg conducts ongoing research on the imaging of Parkinson’s disease. They are also leaders in new therapeutic approaches to Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. The group supports the Movement Disorders Surgery Program and provides opportunities for clinical research in this area. Dr. Peter Davies runs the Alzheimer’s disease research program, and interested residents may pursue projects of neurosurgical interest related to that illness


Dr. Kevin Tracey, a neurosurgeon and CEO of the FIMR, leads a basic science research effort into the control of immune reactions by the nervous system. Residents may elect to pursue projects aimed at studying the possible use of neuromodulation to regulate the immune response.

Spinal biology and biomechanics

Dr. Ona Bloom has established a lab within the Department of Neurosurgery that studies the potential role of stem cells in spinal fusion techniques. Clinical research on outcomes of spinal surgery may also be pursued using a specially maintained patient database. This lab also investigates the molecular biology of spinal disc degeneration.


The residency program in epilepsy specializes in the treatment of patients with intractable epilepsy and is headed by Dr. Sean T. Hwang of the Department of Neurology. The Center includes a two-bed inpatient unit for video monitoring. Research is led by Ashesh Mehta, MD, PhD from the Department of Neurosurgery; it focuses on the application of functional imaging in the evaluation and surgical treatment of seizure patients, as well as basic science research in the mechanisms of neuronal excitability in epileptogenesis.

Cerebrovascular neurosurgery

There is extensive clinical experience in open and endovascular treatment of patients with aneurysms and AVMs. Interested residents may pursue research assessing comparative outcomes of different therapeutic approaches to these patients. Dr. David Langer, Chief of Neurosurgery at Lenox Hill Hospital, has also established a medical informatics project connecting the ORs, neurosurgical ICU and other clinical venues. Dr. Henry Woo, Director of Cerebrovascular surgery, conducts ongoing development of endovascular simulators

Pediatric neurosurgery

The Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery has set up a laboratory effort, together with Dr. Symons in the FIMR, to investigate the mechanisms of medulloblastoma growth and invasion. The resources of Cohen Children's Medical Center and the Division of Pediatric Neurology provide an excellent platform for pursuing clinical research

Special courses

Residents at all levels are encouraged to submit original research for presentation at national and international meetings. They will be expected to attend such meetings where they will present as first author. In addition, residents may attend selected educational courses, as long as there is no interruption to their core educational program. Periodically, cadaver dissection courses are held in the Bioskills Education Center, a short walk from Long Island Jewish Medical Center

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

The training program offers multiple opportunities for clinical and basic research. The focus of CSHL is on genetic and epigenetic models of behavior and disease.  CSHL is home to several Nobel prize-winning scientists and has a high rate of NIH funding.