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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.

  •  Protected PGY 4 year research experience
  • Option to continue or translate research in PGY5 year.
    PGY 4 residents attend the RUNN (Research Update in Neuroscience for Neurosurgeons) course which is funded by the department
    Dedicated Research Coordinator
  • Data entry, statistics, and manuscript preparation assistance available
  • 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 
  • Residents will mentor PGY1 residents on call.
  • Clinical competency is maintained with (1) day per week in the OR and one weekend call per week
  • Faculty mentor and Program Director meet in PGY 3 year to plan project and grant submission.
  • Our residents have received over $1 million in funding over the past 3 years, including NREF, DARPA, institutional and society funding.

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 in biomedical engineering
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. Multiple members of the Neurosurgery department have obtained over 40 patents.

 Lumbar Spine Model
Residents have access to the Kuka Robot, used in conjunction with Virginia Tech-Wake Forest School of Biomedical Engineering, to test biomechanical spine constructs.

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

Recent Publications

Resident Publications for 2016-2017

1. Wicks RT, Jermakowicz WJ, Jagid JR,  Couture DE, Willie JT, Laxton AW, Gross RE.  Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy for Mesial Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. Neurosurgery, Volume 79, Issue suppl_1, 1 December 2016, Pages S83–S91,

2. Renfrow JJ, Frenkel MB, Edwards MS, Wilson JA. Evaluation of a Traumatic Vertebral Artery Occlusion.
World Neurosurg. 2017 May;101:815.e13-815.e17. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2017.02.089. Epub 2017 Feb 27.

3. Wilson TA, Leslie-Mazwi T, Hirsch JA, Frey C, Kim TE, Spiotta AM, Leacy R, Mocco J, Albuquerque FC, Ducruet AF, Cheema A, Arthur A, Srinivasan VM, Kan P, Mokin M, Dumont T, Rai A, Singh J, Wolfe SQ, Fargen KM. A multicenter study evaluating the frequency and time requirement of mechanical thrombectomy. J Neurointerv Surg. 2017 Jun 9. pii: neurintsurg-2017-013147. doi: 10.1136/neurintsurg-2017-013147. [Epub ahead of print]

4. Renfrow JJ, Frenkel MB, Hsu W. Fungal Contamination of Methylprednisolone Causing Recurrent Lumbosacral Intradural Abscess. Emerg Infect Dis. 2017 Mar;23(3):552-553. doi:10.3201/eid2303.161334.

5. Renfrow JJ, Rodriguez A, Wilson TA, Germano IM, Abosch A, Wolfe SQ. Tracking Career Paths of Women in Neurosurgery. Neurosurgery. 2017 May 16. doi: 10.1093/neuros/nyx251. [Epub ahead of print]

6. Fargen KM, Soriano-Baron H, Rushing JT, Mack W, Mocco J, Albuquerque F, Ducruet AF, Mokin M, Linfante I, Wolfe SQ, Wilson JA, Hirsch JA. A survey of intracranial aneurysm treatment practices among United States physicians.  J Neurointerv Surg. 2017 Feb 9. pii: neurintsurg-2016-012808. doi: 10.1136/neurintsurg-2016-012808. [Epub ahead of print]

7. Martinez-Del-Campo E, Turner JD, Soriano-Baron H, Newcomb AG, Kalb S, Theodore N.
Pediatric occipitocervical fusion: long-term radiographic changes in curvature, growth, and alignment.
J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2016 Nov;18(5):644-652. Epub 2016 Jul 29.

8. Martinez-Del-Campo E, Turner JD, Kalb S, Rangel-Castilla L, Perez-Orribo L, Soriano-Baron H, Theodore N. Occipitocervical Fixation: A Single Surgeon's Experience With 120 Patients. Neurosurgery. 2016 Oct;79(4):549-60. doi: 10.1227/NEU.0000000000001340.

9. Martinez-Del-Campo E, Turner JD, Rangel-Castilla L, Soriano-Baron H, Kalb S, Theodore N.Pediatric occipitocervical fixation: radiographic criteria, surgical technique, and clinical outcomes based on experience of a single surgeon. J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2016 Oct;18(4):452-462. Epub 2016 Jun 10.

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