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Clinical Electives Program: Neurosurgery

Fall, Winter, and Spring Sessions. Four- or Eight-Week Session

Rotation Coordinator:
John Heiss, MD

Rotation Description
Clinical investigators in the Surgical Neurology Branch of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) Intramural Research Program conduct research on the etiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, and surgical treatment of diseases of the nervous system and pituitary gland. Students participate in inpatient and outpatient evaluation of patients, learn about the conduct of clinical research trials, observe surgical procedures, and attend clinical care and research conferences.

Students will see patients affected by Cushing's disease, von Hippel-Lindau disease, neurofibromatosis (type 2), syringomyelia, Chiari I malformation, central nervous system neoplasms, medically intractable epilepsy, Parkinson's disease and other diseases. They will be exposed to clinical care of these conditions and to clinical and basic science research that is being conducted.

Major clinical research interests are:

  • Von Hippel-Lindau disease and central nervous system (CNS) hemangioblastoma
  • Natural history of patients with neurofibromatosis, type 2
  • Evaluation and treatment of patients with pituitary tumors
  • Pathophysiology of syringomyelia
  • Surgical Treatment of medically intractable epilepsy and Parkinson's disease
  • Genetic analysis of Chiari I malformation
  • Electrophysiologic recording during cognitive tasks to study mechanisms of learning, memory and decision-making

Note: No more than two missed days of attendance for interviews or other purposes will be allowed and requests should be made prior to final acceptance.

Selection of Applicants
This elective is designed primarily for students who have completed a basic neurology or neurosurgery clerkship. It will not replace such a clerkship in the medical school curriculum. The elective affords the student an opportunity to gain a basic understanding of the techniques of clinical research and the evaluation and surgical treatment of patients with diseases of the CNS and pituitary gland.


  • John Heiss, MD
  • Kareem Zaghloul, MD, PhD
  • Prashant Chittibonia, MD
  • Desmond Brown, MD, PhD

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This page last updated on 11/03/2022

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