Stanford Neurosurgery Research

The Department of Neurosurgery is a world leader in the fast-paced environment of innovative research translation. The rich intellectual environment at Stanford, paired with our accessibility to the most advanced technology, is unmatched and ensures the rapid translation of pioneering laboratory research into life-saving clinical therapies for our patients.

From anti-cancer therapies and stem cell transplantation therapies for spinal cord injury to the elucidation of retinal neural circuitry and gene-environment interactions in fetal development, our research scientists are making quick progress tackling some of the most complex neurological disease questions in the neurodegenerative and neuroregenerative fields today.

Our Department supports over 30 active labs investigating everything from brain injury, deep brain stimulation, brain tumors, epilepsy, pathophysiology and treatment of acute stroke, to the effects of stress and aging on the nervous system. And, although our research themes vary from lab to lab, they are all focused on aspects of disease and injury that can be investigated at the bench – and they all have clear implications for practices in the clinic and operating room.

Research Highlights

Featured Publications

Novel application of virtual reality in patient engagement for deep brain stimulation: A pilot study

A study conducted by the Stanford Neurosurgical Simulation & Virtual Reality Center, obtained direct patient feedback on the impact of three-dimensional, 360-degree virtual reality (3D 360VR) on satisfaction and understanding during new and preoperative DBS clinic consultations. 


Computationally Developed Sham Stimulation Protocol for Multichannel Desynchronizing Stimulation

This computational study compares acute effects and long-lasting effects of six different spatio-temporally patterned stimulation protocols, including three variants of CR, using a no-stimulation condition as additional control. 


Single-Cell RNA-Seq Analysis of Infiltrating Neoplastic Cells at the Migrating Front of Human Glioblastoma

Using single-cell RNA sequencing, researchers in Dr. Melanie Hayden-Gephart's lab have isolated glioblastoma cells migrating within otherwise normal-appearing brain, and determined the genetic mechanisms used for migration.


Closing the loop on impulsivity via nucleus accumbens delta-band activity in mice and man

Stanford Neurosurgeons have identified a signature pattern of electrical activity in a small, deep-brain region just a second or two before a burst of impulsive behavior. The findings could lead to less invasive methods of countering obesity, substance-abuse disorders, pathological gambling, sexual addiction or intermittent explosive disorder.

Research In The News

Defects in Mitochondria Further Linked to Parkinson’s in Stanford Study

New research by Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery, Xinnan Wang, PhD, finds that mitochondrial malfunctions in certain nerve cells may contribute to certain Parkinson's disease symptoms. 


Stanford Study Finds Specific Set of Nerve Cells Controls Seizures’ Spread through Brain

The results of a new study identifying a specific set of cells that control temporal lobe epileptic seizures, could lead to more effective therapies for people with this common type of epilepsy.