Neurosurgery research at Penn medicine covers all of the key topics in the neurosciences from basic science research to clinical trials. The department is home to a rich number of laboratories focusing on issues including spinal biomechanics, neurotrauma, neurodegenerative disorders, brain tumors and traumatic brain injury.

  • Lucas Translational Neuromodulation Lab

    Lucas Translational Neuromodulation Laboratory

    Timothy Lucas, MD is the Director of the Translational Neuromodulation Laboratory and Associate Director of the Center For Neuro-Engineering and Therapeutics. His lab develops implantable brain-computer interface devices to bypass or augment damaged neural connections as a treatment for paralysis. They also examine decoding strategies for electricorticography in human BCI applications.

  • doctors speaking in neuro-oncology lab


    Neuro-Oncology research on a host of topics is being conducted by several of Penn Neurosurgery faculty. Donald O'Rourke, MD, is interested in the cell and molecular biology of erbB family receptor tyrosine kinases. Leslie Sutton, MD, has research interests in the areas of brain tumor treatment and biology, and fetal surgery. James Schuster, MD, PhD,is especially interested in treatment of metastatic involvement of the spine from other primary tumors including lung, breast, renal, and prostate cancer.

    Learn more about Neuro–oncology

  • elongated axons

    Smith Neurotrauma Lab

    The Smith Neurotrauma Laboratory’s main research focus centers on the study of the mechanisms and progressive degenerative damage that occurs with brain trauma. Specific concentration is paid to the nerve fibers in the brain, or axons, which are vulnerable to trauma.

    Learn more about the Smith Neurotrauma Lab

  • physicians looking at xray of spine

    Spine Biomechanics Lab

    The Siman laboratory studies the intraneuronal mechanisms underlying acute and chronic neurodegenerative disorders, and develops non-invasive surrogate markers for detecting distinct modes of neurodegeneration in the brains of living organisms.

    The research focus of the Watson laboratory centers on understanding the mechanisms that underlie traumatic brain injury and the development of potential therapeutic treatment strategies.

    The Resnick and Storm Laboratories at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia focus on defining the molecular mechanisms underlying pediatric brain tumors. Their research studies the characterization of the genetic abnormalities defining pediatric tumors, the development of model systems recapitulating the disease process and cell signaling alterations, and ultimately on defining and testing targeted therapies.

    Learn more about the Spine Biomechanics Lab