Dr. Pouratian's primary neurosurgical interest is in surgeries that preserve and restore function to patients, including movement disorder surgeries, surgeries for psychiatric conditions, and surgeries for peripheral nerve injuries and tumors. In order to do these surgeries, Dr. Pouratian uses advanced neuroimaging and brain and nerve mapping techniques, including functional MRI, cortical stimulation mapping, electrocorticographic (ECoG) mapping, optical imaging of intrinsic signals, and intraoperative EMG and nerve conduction studies.
His research focuses on further developing these mapping tools in order to expand the surgical indications and to develop new therapies for functional preservation and restoration. He is particularly interested in studying brain mapping signals to develop brain-computer interfaces to help patients with severe motor and language disabilities.
Richard Andersen, Ph.D., Professor, CaltechAdam Aron, Ph.D., Professor, UCSDXiao Hu, Ph.D., Associate Professor, UCSFUeli Rutishauser, PhD, Assistant Professor, Cedars-Sinai Medical CenterAusaf Bari, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor, UCLA Neurosurgery
Eric Neufeld, B.S.
Eric received his B.S. in psychobiology from UCLA. He brings experience from his positions as a lab technician in the UCLA Life Sciences Department and the lab coordinator of UCLA Exercise Physiology Research Laboratory.
His published research lies primarily in clinical exercise physiology and pulmonology, but he is excited to investigate the neurophysiology of action suppression circuitry through electrocorticography and deep brain stimulation.
Mahsa Malekmohammadi, Ph.D.
Mahsa Malekmohammadi, PhD. received her BS in Electrical Engineering from Sharif University of Technology and her MS and PhD in Biomedical Engineering from University of California, Los Angeles.
She joined NBMRL as a graduate student studying patterns of structural and functional connectivity between subcortical and cortical brain regions and after that she was a Postdoctoral Scholar in the department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences at Stanford for one year. Now she is focused on conducting invasive neurophysiology research using advanced signal analysis techniques to understand the pathophysiology of movement disorders and consciousness.
Evangelia Tsolaki, Ph.D.
Evangelia joined Dr Pouratian's lab as a postdoctoral scholar in 2014. Her research is focused on investigating alterations in brain networks, via the study of functional and structural connectivity, neural activity and structural abnormalities in patients with chronic pain and depression. She is currently working on a new method of connectivity-guided targeting of the subcallosal cingulate region that could be used for direct targeting in DBS for patients with treatment-resistant depression. Education
Bill Speier, Ph.D.William Speier received a B.S. in biomedical engineering and applied mathematics and an M.S. in computer science from Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from UCLA. He is currently a postdoctoral scholar in the neurosurgery department at UCLA and is involved in several areas of research, including medical informatics, neural signal analysis, and brain–computer interfaces.
Andrew O’Keeffe, M.D., Ph.D. Candidate
I studied at the University of Oxford for my undergraduate degree in neuroscience and then for my medical degree. After obtaining membership of the Royal College of Surgeons and starting my neurosurgery residency, I embarked on a PhD in Dr Pouratian’s lab.
Research to improve patient care has always been my main motivation for working in medicine. Neurosurgery offers a very direct way to get involved with some of the most interesting and challenging research questions facing modern science. My main interests lie in using the electrophysiological activity of the brain to understand how we function as thinking, behaving animals.
Soroush Niketeghad, Ph.D. Candidate
Soroush Niketeghad received his B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Isfahan University of Technology, Iran and his M.S. degree in computer engineering from University of Denver, CO.
He did his master’s thesis on designing a closed loop deep brain stimulation (DBS) system and he also worked on computational modeling of the circuit of Papez at Medtronic Inc. Soroush started his PhD in bioengineering at UCLA and joined the Neurosurgical brain mapping and restoration lab on September 2015 and he is currently studying the recordings and stimulation of the visual cortex of the blind patients. His main interests are biomedical signal processing and computational modeling of the brain.
Collin Price, M.D. Candidate
Collin Price is a first year medical student at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He received a B.S. in Biology and Psychology from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2013.
After graduating, Collin spent two years researching resting-state fMRI in neurodegenerative diseases with the Functional Imaging in Neuropsychiatric Disorders (FIND) lab at Stanford University. Currently, Collin is investigating the effects of anesthesia administration on thalamo-cortical communication using intraoperative electrical recordings.
Dustin Roberts, M.D. Candidate
Dustin Roberts, B.S. graduated from UCLA in 2014 with a degree in Biochemistry. He started at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in 2015 with an interest in pursuing neurosurgery. Prior to joining the Pouratian lab in 2015, Dustin worked as a Staff Research Associate in the UCLA Neurology Department under Dr. Allan Mackenzie-Graham, where he studied mechanisms of neurodegeneration and neuroprotection in Multiple Sclerosis with the use of ‘CLARITY,’ a novel technique for large-scale optical tissue clearing and 3D fluorescent imaging.
Justin Sharim, M.D. Candidate
Justin Sharim is a 4th year medical student at UCLA. He received his B.S. in neuroscience summa cum laude at UCLA in 2012.
Having conducted research in the Pouratian lab since his first year, he is currently pursuing a research year under Dr. Pouratian’s mentorship. Justin’s research primarily focuses on the use of stereotactic radiosurgical and DBS procedures in the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders.
Xiaoyi Zhuo, M.D. Candidate
Sara Rashidi is a senior undergraduate student at UCLA studying Psychobiology and Iranian Studies. She joined the NBMRL due to her vast interest in neurological disorders and brain functioning.
Prior to joining the Pouratian lab, Sara worked as a staff research associate in Neuroplasticity and Repair Laboratory in the UCLA Neurosurgery Department, where she was involved in several studies that test motor and respiratory functioning of patients with spinal cord injury and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) using transcranial magnetic stimulation. Currently, Sara is investigating neural signatures of freezing of gait in Parkinson's disease patients to characterize the neural activity associated with episodes of freezing that occur in everyday walking.
1: Pouratian N, Bookheimer SY. The reliability of neuroanatomy as a predictor of eloquence: a review. Neurosurg Focus. 2010 Feb;28(2):E3. Review. PubMed PMID:20121438.
2: Lee DJ, Pouratian N, Bookheimer SY, Martin NA. Factors predicting language lateralization in patients with perisylvian vascular malformations. Clinical article. J Neurosurg. 2010 Oct;113(4):723-30. PubMed PMID: 20302390.
3: Pouratian N, Elias WJ, Jane JA Jr, Phillips LH 2nd, Jane JA Sr. Electrophysiologically guided untethering of secondary tethered spinal cord syndrome. Neurosurg Focus. 2010 Jul;29(1):E3. PubMed PMID: 20594001.
4: Sedrak M, Gorgulho A, Bari A, Behnke E, Frew A, Gevorkyan I, Pouratian N, DeSalles A. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and colored fractional anisotropy (FA) mapping of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) and the globus pallidus interna (GPi). Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2010 Dec;152(12):2079-84. Epub 2010 Oct 3. PubMed PMID: 20890778; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2991232.
5: Sedrak M, Gorgulho A, Frew A, Behnke E, Desalles A, Pouratian N. Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) and Colored Fractional Anisotropy (FA) Mapping of the Ventralis Intermedius (VIM) Nucleus of the Thalamus. Neurosurgery. 2011 Jun 18. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 21697755.
6: Pouratian N. The brain and computer: The neurosurgical interface. Surg Neurol Int. 2011;2:79. Epub 2011 Jun 15. PubMed PMID: 21748032; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3130358.
7: Pouratian N, Zheng Z, Bari A, Behnke E, Elias WJ, DeSalles AAF. Multi-institutional evaluation of deep brain stimulation targeting using probabilistic connectivity-based thalamic segmentation. Journal of Neurosurgery. 2011 Aug;115(5):995-1004. PMID: 21854118.
8: Deep brain stimulation for the treatment of Parkinson's disease: efficacy and safety.
Pouratian N, Thakkar S, Kim W, Bronstein JM. Degener Neurol Neuromuscul Dis. 2012 Sep 4;2012(2). PMID: 24298202.
9: Malekmohammadi M, Elias WJ, Pouratian N. Human thalamus regulates cortical activity via spatially specific and structurally constrained phase-amplitude coupling.
Cereb Cortex. 2015 Jun;25(6):1618-28. Epub 2014 Jan 9. PMID: 24408958.
10: Speier W, Deshpande A, Pouratian N. A method for optimizing EEG electrode number and configuration for signal acquisition in P300 speller systems.
Clin Neurophysiol. 2015 Jun;126(6):1171-7. Epub 2014 Sep 28. PMID: 25316166.
11: Sharim J, Tashjian R, Golzy N, Pouratian N. Glioblastoma following treatment with fingolimod for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. J Clin Neurosci. 2016 Aug;30:166-8. Epub 2016 Mar 9. PMID: 26970935.
12: Kim W, Chivukula S, Hauptman J, Pouratian N. Diffusion Tensor Imaging-Based Thalamic Segmentation in Deep Brain Stimulation for Chronic Pain Conditions.
Stereotact Funct Neurosurg. 2016 Aug 19;94(4):225-234. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 27537848.
For a thorough list, please visit: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=nader+pouratian