Cerebrovascular Research

Clinical and basic cerebrovascular research within the Department of Neurological Surgery is done in collaboration with the Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care and the Center for Cerebrovascular Research (CCR) (http://avm.ucsf.edu/). The CCR is a multi-disciplinary group of investigators conducting a wide range of research aimed at directly improving clinical outcomes and care for patients with cerebrovascular disorders.

Clinical research emphasizes vascular malformations of the brain. The Department of Neurological Surgery is an integral part of the UCSF Brain Arteriovenous Malformation Study Project, which tracks treatment results and patient outcomes. This program includes a prospective registry of AVMs and other vascular malformations of the brain. 

Translational research work emphasizes the study of aneurysms and use of computational fluid dynamics and vessel wall imaging to predict and monitor their behavior throughout the natural history and also predict response to treatments of aneurysms, whether surgical or endovascular.

The Department of Neurological Surgery is also home to cutting-edge surgical anatomy laboratory that is focused on developing more effective surgical strategies for complex cerebrovascular and skull base lesions. Surgical anatomist and principal investigator Roberto Rodriguez Rubio MD performs surgical simulations in postmortem specimens and produces digital 3-D anatomic images for surgical planning, development of novel surgical approaches, and educational activities.  

Current areas of study include:

Clinical Research

• Epidemiology and clinical course of brain arteriovenous malformations to identify risk factors for disease susceptibility or spontaneous intracranial hemorrhage
• Genomic studies, including genome-wide SNP and expression, to help identify genes involved in brain arteriovenous malformation or hemorrhage
• Risk stratification algorithms for predicting surgical outcomes

Laboratory Research

• Vascular biology of cerebrovascular malformations
• Development of gene- and cell-based therapy for the treatment of ischemic stroke
• Development of clinically relevant animal models of cerebrovascular disorders:
               o Animal models combining manipulation of genetic background and growth factor stimulation to induce brain arteriovenous malformations
               o Animal models of intracranial aneurysm used to study the influence of hemodynamics and inflammatory pathways on lesion progression