Research at Wayne State University Neurosurgery

Neurosurgery at Wayne State continues the tradition of research begun by our founder, Dr. E. Stephen Gurdjian. We are dedicated to a search for new knowledge and refinement of existing knowledge, committed to excellent care and treatment of our patients. This commitment is reflected through our involvement in several research projects, obtaining federal and private grant monies for all ongoing research projects.

Basic science research in our neuroanatomy labs includes the investigation of basal ganglia connections, variability of blood supply to the basal nuclei and neuronal plasticity in the endocrine hypothalamus. We also are studying anatomical models of skull base anatomy, microsurgical anatomy of the cerebral veins and microvascular temporary occlusion models.

In the area of cerebrovascular research, we are studying several subjects, including management of giant cerebral aneurysms and temporary occlusion times and prevention and drug management of cerebral ischemia. Stroke, cerebral vasospasm, cerebral revascularization and management of complex vascular and neoplastic lesions with skull base techniques are being investigated by clinical and basic science approaches. Our pediatric neurosurgeons are researching the neuroendocrine response to hydrocephalus, and actively studying management of craniofacial abnormalities and complex pediatric tumors. Wayne State University neurosurgeons are exploring computer-assisted resection of brain tumors and vascular lesions using virtual reality and telepresence neurosurgery. Our stereotactic scientists and engineers work with neurosurgeons in developing real-world and multimedia information systems.

The focus of the Neuro-oncology research faculty of the Department is on development of therapeutic strategies against glioblastoma multiforme, the most malignant of brain tumors. The studies are aimed at targeting these tumors via both biochemical/molecular biological and immunological perspectives.

Hydrocephalus research has a focus on bioengineering strategies that could improve treatment. Experimental bench top data is integrated with translational studies involving patients, to deepen knowledge of this complex disorder. High-throughput, high-resolution confocal microscopy is utilized to develop quantifiable comparisons across datasets. Additional studies are aimed at understanding the biological interaction of other neural engineered devices with the brain.

Our Neurotrauma Institute research focuses on head injury and spinal cord injury. Wayne State University is one of ten national centers investigating drug therapies to prevent head injury from worsening. We also have a fully functional lab investigating the biomechanics of spinal cord injury and spinal instrumentation. The neurosurgery physiology labs are investigating electromyography to evaluate low back pain, electroencephalography analysis of transient global ischemia and brain electrical activity mapping.

We also proud to report that we have recently finished our research into a computer assisted research laboratory, or CASL. Our mission was to research, develop and use state of the art software, hardware, and visualization techniques to optimize surgical outcomes for brain surgery patients through complete resection with minimum damage to surrounding tissues and eloquent brain and vascular structures.