Graduate Medical Education (GME): Neurological Surgery
National Institutes of Health - Frederick, MD

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Graduate Medical Education (GME): Neurological Surgery

Text version of the slideshow

John D. Heiss, M.D., Program Director

Program Overview

Program Highlights



Current Residents

How to Apply

Student Opportunities

Program Overview
The Surgical Neurology Branch of the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) offers an innovative 7-year, ACGME-accredited Neurological Surgery Residency-Training Program in collaboration with the University of Virginia.

Clinical Training
Clinical training is provided at the NIH Clinical Center and the University of Virginia [ disclaimer ] . At the NIH, clinical training takes place under the mentorship of 5 full-time neurosurgical faculty. Because of the intense research-focus of the clinical service, nearly every case is complex, and residents are exposed to the latest technologies, including intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging and convection-enhanced delivery. At the University of Virginia [ disclaimer ] , trainees will perform their junior residency and chief residency, under the direction of 11 full-time faculty. There, they will gain early and extensive experience in the treatment of diverse neurosurgical pathologies.

Research Training
Research training will take place at the NIH. Residents can work either within the Surgical Neurology Branch, or can call upon the significant resources of the NIH intramural research program, to identify a research project. Specific emphasis will be placed on preclinical research as well as the design of a prospective clinical research protocol, to be completed during the training period. The curriculum is designed for trainees to become future clinician-scientists and leaders in this dynamic field.

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Program Highlights

Clinical Training

NIH Clinical Center

240-bed hospital

Training and mentoring by 5 full-time clinical faculty

Resident covers neurosurgical cases in the Clinical Center at the NIH

University of Virginia

549-bed hospital

Training and mentoring by 11 full-time faculty

Resident covers neurosurgical cases at the University of Virginia

Research Training at the NIH

Receive NIH intramural funding (no grants required)

Training and mentoring by 3 full-time research faculty

Collaborate with full-time basic scientists within the intramural program at the NIH

Collaborate with numerous other Institutes and Centers on the NIH campus

Design and implement a prospective clinical research protocol

Participate in the NIH Clinical Center's Introduction to Principles and Practice of Clinical Research course

Access numerous NIH career development and grant writing courses

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Year (training site)


PGY1 (University of Virginia)

Clinical Neurosurgery: 6 months
Neurology: 3 months
General Surgery: 2 months
Neuro-ophthalmology: 1 month

PGY2 (University of Virginia)

Clinical Neurosurgery: 12 months

PGY3 (University of Virginia and NIH)

Clinical Neurosurgery: first 6 months (University of Virginia)
Research: second 6 months (NIH)


Research: 12 months


Research: first 6 months
Clinical Neurosurgery: second 6 months


Clinical Neurosurgery: 12 months

PGY7 (University of Virginia)

Clinical Neurosurgery: 12 months

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National Institutes of Health
Clinical Faculty

John D. Heiss, M.D. (Publications only)
Chair and Residency Training Program Director
M.D., University of Michigan
Residency, Neurological Surgery, University of Cincinnati
Clinical interests: intraoperative MRI, epilepsy, syringomyelia, Chiari I malformation, brain tumors
Research interests: Chiari I malformation, pathophysiology of syringomyelia, epilepsy, drug delivery to CNS


John K. Park, M.D., Ph.D.
Head, Surgical and Molecular Neuro-oncology Unit
M.D., Harvard Medical School
Ph.D., Harvard University
Residency, Neurological Surgery, Harvard/Children's Hospital/Brigham and Women's Hospital
Clinical interests: malignant brain tumors, metastatic brain tumors
Research interests: tumor stem cells, immunotherapy for brain tumors


Ashok R. Asthagiri, M.D. (Publications only)
Assistant Clinical Investigator
M.D., Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine
Residency, Neurological Surgery, University of Virginia
Clinical interests: brain tumors, spinal tumors, peripheral nerve tumors
Research interests: Neurofibromatosis type II, phage display technology


Kareem A. Zaghloul, M.D., Ph.D. (Publications only)
Staff Clinician
M.D., University of Pennsylvania
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
Residency, Neurological Surgery, University of Pennsylvania
Clinical interests: functional neurosurgery, brain tumors, epilepsy, deep brain stimulation, spinal tumors
Research interests: cortical functional networks, neural mechanisms of cognitive function, brain machine interfaces, human neurophysiology


Prashant Chittiboina, M.D. (Publications only)
Staff Clinician
M.D., Goa University
M.P.H., Idaho State University
Residency, Neurological Surgery, LSU Health Sciences Center at Shreveport
Clinical interests: pituitary tumors, brain tumors, skull base surgery, spinal tumors
Research interests: von Hippel-Lindau disease clinical research; pituitary tumor research


Basic Science Faculty

Marsha J. Merrill, Ph.D. (Publications only)
Staff Scientist
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin
Postdoctoral training: National Cancer Institute, NIH
Research interests: brain tumor biology, von Hippel-Lindau disease-associated hemangioblastomas, VEGF, blood-brain barrier


Richard J. Youle, Ph.D.
Senior Investigator
Head, Biochemistry Section
Ph.D., University of South Carolina
Postdoctoral training: National Institute of Mental Health, NIH
Research interests: apoptosis, mitochondria, Parkinson's disease, brain tumors


Zhengping Zhuang, M.D., Ph.D. (Publications only)
Head, Molecular Pathogenesis Unit
M.D., Shanghai Second Medical University
Ph.D., Wayne State University
Postdoctoral training: Harvard University Medical School
Residency, Pathology, National Cancer Institute, NIH
Research interests: small molecule inhibitor treatment for brain tumors, pathogenesis of tumor predisposition syndromes


University of Virginia Faculty

Mark E. Shaffrey, M.D., Chair [ disclaimer ]

W. Jeffery Elias, M.D. [ disclaimer ]

Gregory A. Helm, M.D., Ph.D. [ disclaimer ]

John A. Jane, M.D., Ph.D. [ disclaimer ]

John Jane Jr., M.D. [ disclaimer ]

Neal F. Kassell, M.D. [ disclaimer ]

Kenneth C. Liu, M.D. [ disclaimer ]

Edward H. Oldfield, M.D. [ disclaimer ]

Deric M. Park [ disclaimer ]

Christopher I. Shaffrey, M.D. [ disclaimer ]

Jason Sheehan, M.D., Ph.D. [ disclaimer ]

Justin Smith, M.D., Ph.D. [ disclaimer ]

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Current Residents


Alexander Ksendzovsky, M.D.
B.S., Emory University in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology; Philosophy
M.D., Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science



Sze Chun Winson Ho, M.D.
B.A., Cum Laude with Honors in Biology—Yale College
M.D., Yale School of Medicine



Gautam U. Mehta, M.D. (Publications only)
B.A., University of California, Berkeley
M.D., Georgetown University



David B. Weintraub, M.D.
B.A., Magna Cum Laude with Highest Honors in Sociology; Harvard University
M.D., Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons


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How to Apply
One position is open for appointment each year. The department specifically selects residents with demonstrated interest in and aptitude for careers in academic neurosurgery. Applications should be submitted through Electronic Residency Application System (ERAS) [ disclaimer ] by October 15th for appointments beginning the following July. After review of completed applications, qualified candidates will be invited to meet our staff and residents.

For further information, the applicant should contact:
Jessica E. Echols
Neurosurgery Program Coordinator
Surgical Neurology Branch, NINDS, NIH
10 Center Drive, Room 3D20 MSC 1414
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892-1414
Phone: (301) 496-9460
Fax: (301) 402-0380

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Student Opportunities
Students are welcome to partake in year-long research experiences in the Surgical Neurology Branch through the NIH Clinical Center's Medical Research Scholars Program . Recent program graduates have gone on to neurosurgical residency at the University of Pennsylvania, Barrow Neurological Institute, University of Iowa, University of Southern California and the National Institutes of Health.

The NIH also offers short-term rotations and research elective opportunities through the NIH Clinical Center's Clinical Elective Program. Students interested in applying to a residency program in neurological surgery are strongly encouraged to apply for an elective rotation in neurosurgery at the NIH or the University of Virginia [ disclaimer ] .

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Text version of the slideshow

Slide One: Neurosurgery Residency at the National Institutes of Health.

Slide Two: Clinical training takes place in the 240-bed NIH Clinical Center.

Slide Three: State-of-the-art operating rooms for training and clinical research.

Slide Four: Over 200 neuroscience labs are located on the 300-acre NIH campus.

Slide Five: Junior residency and chief years are performed at the University of Virginia Medical Center.

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About this company
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a...