Research faculty Neurosurgery

Neurosurgery Research Mission

The Research Program is a vital component of the mission of the Department of Neurosurgery. Our research efforts incorporate cutting-edge neuroscience and bioengineering approaches and robust clinical research environments that draw from the vibrant research community of the Anschutz Medical Campus. 

Our program is composed of over 20 labs with research topics that range from tumor, stroke, deep brain stimulation, microsurgery, cellular mechanisms of epilepsy, cannabis, mechanisms of neuromodulation devices, pediatrics, brain injury, aneurysm and regenerative medicine. Faculty engaged in research are word-leaders in their field, focused on designing patient-centered innovations.

Meet the Vice Chair, Research

Dr. Welle
Cristin Welle, PhD, Associate Professor
BIOElectrics Lab

BIOElectrics Lab

Featured Neurosurgery Grants

Multiple Sclerosis 

Principal Investigators, Cristin Welle, PhD and Ethan G. Hughes, PhD, were just awarded an NIH RO1 grant. 

The neural mechanisms underlying motor and cognitive impairments in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients are largely unknown. This project uses novel synthesis of approaches in oligodendrocyte biology and neurophysiology, to evaluate how myelin loss affects neuronal circuit function and elucidate the effectiveness of remyelination therapies on restoring neural function and behavior.


Principal Investigator, Judith Gault, PhD, recently was awarded an NIH RO1 grant. 

The main goal of the project is to address ethical concerns raised from both current and historically controversial psychosurgeries that are driving disparities in accessibility to emerging BRAIN Initiative advanced neurotechnology that require a neurosurgical intervention. We will be characterizing capacity to consent, surgical risk, and disease-related burden on quality of life in subjects with treatment-refractory Parkinson’s disease undergoing DBS to guide enrollment of treatment-refractory schizophrenia for a DBS clinical trial planned in the future. The Neurosurgery team on this grant includes Steven Ojemann, MD, John A. Thompson, PhD, Brian Hoyt, PhD, Pamela David-Gerecht, PhD and Patrick Hosokawa. 

Adamatinomatous Craniopharyngioma

Principal Investigator, Todd Hankinson, MD, was awarded the 2019 Innovation Award from the Center for Children’s Surgery (CCS).

The aim of this project is to build and test a GPU-based HPC system that can process three-dimensional data from multiple radiographic modalities in parallel, thereby mimicking the current 

state-of-the-art approach followed by human medical specialists.  As proof of principle for this pilot award, we will build on our current model to identify the pediatric brain tumor Adamantinomatous Craniopharyngioma at a level equivalent to, or better, than human clinical experts. Ultimately, the intent is to apply this technology to multiple research contexts. 

Parkinson’s Disease

Principal Investigator’s John A. Thompson, PhD, and Humphrey Petersen-Jones, MD, PhD candidate were awarded a Movement Disorders Center (MDC) Pilot Grant.

Deep brain stimulation is often used to treat the motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease, such as tremor, bradykinesia, and rigidity. We are recording accelerometry and electrical signals in the forearm muscles of patients with Parkinson's disease. We hope to test whether these signals can be used as an objective way to evaluate the efficacy of deep brain stimulation, predict optimal control of Parkinsonian symptoms, and increase our understanding of the underlying pathophysiology.