Residency Research Opportunities

Research 500X400 (webpage)2

Research and scientific discovery are integral to Neurosurgery and encouraged as part of the well-rounded training of a Neurosurgeon.  The PGY 4 year is dedicated to research and the Department has a Research Coordinator(s) who is available to assist with navigation throughout the submission and approval process for human subject research and chart reviews.

  • PGY 4 residents attend the RUNN (Research Update in Neuroscience for Neurosurgeons) course which is funded by the department
  • Residents are required to submit at least one paper (1) for publication each year of residency and submit at least three (3) papers for publication during the designated 12 month research year 
  • All efforts will be made to protect research time, however, there are some clinical responsibilities that are necessary during the research year to maintain clinical skill sets and for the good of the program and resident team
    • Residents will continue to be included in the call schedule but at a reduced frequency and will be required to periodically round with the Neurosurgery team on weekends
    • Research residents will cover cases in the OR one (1) day per week, if needed, and all attempts will be made to coordinate this with research efforts at least one month in advance.  

Many opportunities exist for both clinical and research projects dependent on the resident’s area of interest.


  • Brain Tumor Center of Excellence (BTCOE), under the direction of Dr. Waldemar Debinski, provides many potential translational and collaborative research opportunities.
  • The BTCOE research plan includes priorities in the discovery and development of new molecular anti-brain tumor therapies (Molecular Therapeutics Group), understanding how radiation and other treatments may cause brain injury (Modulation of Treatment Induced Brain Injury/Quality of Life Group), the development of noninvasive means to image brain tumors at the cellular and molecular levels (BioAnatomic Imaging Group), and the use of preclinical models offered by large animals such as dogs (Pre-Clinical Models of Disease Group).  
  • Research efforts at the BTCOE are derived from the collaboration of 7 departments along with Virginia Tech University. 

Collaboration between Wake Forest University and Virginia Tech University also provides opportunities to participate in research at the Tyler Neuroscience and Neurotechnology Laboratory, Human Neuroimaging Laboratory, Computational Psychiatry Laboratory, Center for Injury Biomechanics, Laboratory for Complex Brain Networks, and Advanced Neuroscience Imaging Research Core (ANSIR). 

Our Deep Brain Stimulation Program has several clinical translational projects.  These projects entail collaborations with Virginia Tech University and Vanderbilt University. 

Wake Forest is also an international leader in regenerative medicine with a world renowned institute where researchers are working on growing tissues and organs for more than 30 different areas of the body including neurons and nerves.  We were the first to create functional solid and hollow organs such as a liver, kidney and bladder, as well as spearheading a $75 million dollar project with the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine for battlefield Injuries.

The Wake Forest Innovation Center provides facilities and infrastructure for the generation of biotech businesses from the transfer of technologies developed at Wake Forest Laboratories.  This unique center allows researchers to work with entrepreneurs to develop new technologies for disease cures. Several clinical projects exist currently in the area of spinal tools and technique development, and collaboration with a human neuronal cell line for the treatment of neuropathic pain is underway.

 Lumbar Spine Model

Relevant Research Links

Brain Tumor Center of Excellence:

Department of Neuroengineering collaborative with Virginia Tech:

Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine:

Wake Forest Innovation Center:

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Last Updated: 03-31-2016
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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.