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Neurosurgery staff at work

Research Overview

The mission of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of New Mexico is to improve the care and treatment of patients with neurosurgical disease. To this end, department chair Howard Yonas, MD, requires faculty and residents to engage in state-of-the art basic and translational research aimed at improving patient care. Each resident physician is required to work with a faculty member on research projects that are presented at the annual Faculty and Resident Neuroscience Research Day.

Dr. Yonas has added research faculty, nurses and technicians in order to accommodate the growing number of research projects being conducted by the Department of Neurosurgery. The Department has also teamed up with other departments and interdisciplinary groups to partner in critical research projects. One such collaboration with UNM’s Department of Electrical and Computing Engineering has led to joint research projects in imaging technology and patient data analysis.

Much of the Department’s clinical research focuses on cutting edge data collection in the Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit. This data is used to study relationships between physiological variables to evaluate the patient’s status and eventually predict short- and long-term outcome.

Ongoing research projects include:

  • Clinically relevant imaging and biomarker studies on acute stroke and mild and traumatic brain injury.
  • Basic studies on traumatic brain injury and stroke. We use physiological, behavioral, gene expression and molecular biology techniques to study tissue inflammatory and cellular death processes to gain a deeper understanding of the pathogenesis and treatment of stroke and traumatic brain injury.