Research Opportunities

The Department of Neurological Surgery covers a broad variety of research interests reflecting the full range of basic science, clinical and translational work across all subspecialties of neurosurgery.
Residents will identify a research mentor and develop a proposal for a 12-month research project in basic or clinical neurosurgical science that is pursued during the PGY6 year. No clinical duties will be required during this year to give residents protected research time.

Residents take advantage of UCSF’s large research administrative office in preparing and submitting their research proposals for outside funding. Most residents apply for and receive competitive NRSA training grants or Neurosurgical Research Foundation (NREF) grants for this component of training. There is no specific requirement that residents obtain independent funding for their work, and the Department assumes responsibility for the resident’s salary if such funding is not available.

The Department has many basic neuroscientists to oversee research, but residents may work with any neuroscientist in residence at UCSF or with clinical neurosurgical faculty who maintain active scientific interests, as approved by the program director and chair. Residents may also initiate research collaborations with other institutions, including UC Berkeley. Under the direct supervision of their research mentors, the residents are expected to acquire facility in the research process and scientific methods of investigation, bring a clearly defined scientific project to completion, and gain experience in medical writing and publishing as well as presenting data at neurosurgical meetings.


Resident Research Day

At an annual retreat, UCSF residents present abstracts of a research project they have completed in the past year. Through this program, residents are exposed to the wide range of research being performed across the campus. The day includes a visiting guest lecturer who is a recognized leader in neuroscience research.

Awards are given to recognize junior and senior residents for the best abstracts in basic and clinical sciences.


Biostatistics Training

Annette Molinaro, PhD, is the Director of the Division of Biomedical Statistics and Informatics in the Department of Neurosurgery and leads a bimonthly course in advanced biostatistics for residents. Topics include clinical trial design, multivariate modeling techniques and machine learning. Residents are also offered consultations with the members of the Division of Biomedical Statistics and Informatics when developing research projects.

Current Resident Research


Young Lee, MD

Lee's research involves investigation of patient outcomes for surgical intervention in the context of geriatric patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Geriatric patients have the highest rates of TBI-related hospitalization and death.


Ramin Morshed, MD

Morshed's research involves the identification of genes mediating brain-tropism in a mouse model of metastatic breast cancer. This work on immune mediators of brain metastases is funded by the AANS/CNS Section on Tumors & NREF 2020-21 Research Fellowship Grant, and will be conducted in the laboratory of Manish Aghi, MD, PhD


Justin Scheer, MD

Scheer's research involves the investigation of surgical outcomes for patients with adult spinal deformity, particularly those with mild scoliosis and age appropriate sagittal alignment.