Rockswold Kaplan Endowed Chair for Traumatic Brain Injury Research – Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC)
Uzma Samadani, MD PhD is a neurosurgeon and brain injury researcher at Hennepin County Medical Center, the largest level one trauma center in the state of Minnesota and one of the busiest in the United States, with a catchment area extending west to the Dakotas, east to Wisconsin, south to Iowa and north to the Canadian border.
She serves as the Rockswold Kaplan Endowed Chair for Traumatic Brain Injury at Hennepin County Medical Center and as an Associate Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Minnesota. She is also an attending neurosurgeon at the Minneapolis Veterans Administration Medical Center.
Chief of Neurosurgery – Veterans Affairs New York Harbor Health Care System (NYHHCS)
Dr. Samadani worked as an attending neurosurgeon at NYHHCS from September 2007 to July 2015. She became Chief of Neurosurgery in 2010 and was one of the most productive federally employed surgeons in the country. She is a specialist in cranial neurosurgery and has introduced several new technologies to the VA including neuromonitoring, neuronavigation, minimally invasive bedside techniques for drainage of subdural hemorrhage, motion-preserving artificial cervical disc surgery, and minimally invasive spine approaches. With these technologies, VA NYHHCS has become one of the busiest VA hospitals in the country for brain tumor surgery.
During this time she was also the Co-Director of the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Center for Veteran Post-Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury and maintained joint appointments in New York University’s Departments of Psychiatry and Physiology & Neuroscience as an Assistant Professor.
Accomplishments and Titles
University of Pennsylvania Neurosurgery Residency
Van Wagenen fellowship with Professor Veit Rohde in Goettingen, Germany – The Van Wagenen fellowship is among the most prestigious in neurosurgery, with more than one-third of former fellows going on to become chairs of neurosurgical departments.
American Board of Neurological Surgeons Board-Certified
Fellow of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (FAANS)
Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS)
American Association of Neurological Surgeons
Congress of Neurological Surgeons Executive Committee for Trauma and Critical Care
Executive Board of Women in Neurosurgery
Her primary research interest is in restorative neurosurgery. Her earlier published works explore the occurrence of cortical neurogenesis after hemorrhage.
In 2010 Dr. Samadani received a grant to establish whether vagus nerve stimulation could improve clinical outcomes from severe traumatic brain injured patients. While searching for outcome measures to assess recovery in these patients, she developed an algorithm to use eye tracking while watching television. She hypothesized patients with severe brain injury would be less capable of following the action on the screen as compared to patients with mild brain injury. While testing the algorithm she serendipitously noted that people with lesions causing swelling in the brain had impaired eye movements. This topic and its relevance to concussion, subconcussion and military blast injury has been a focus of her research since 2012, and led to the submission of four patents. Today, her volunteer team has expanded to over twenty members allowing the research to encompass many more conditions and projects.
Our Research Team
Vikalpa received her Bachelor of Science in Biology with a neuroscience concentration from Stony Brook University. She hopes to attend medical school and become a neurosurgeon. She spends her free time volunteering as an EMT and learning South Indian Carnatic vocals.
David Balser is a recent graduate of the New York University School of Medicine who is currently researching methods to improve treatment for chronic subdural hematoma. He plans to pursue a career in Neurology where he hopes to supplement a hospital-based practice with continuing clinical research in the areas of traumatic brain injury and intracerebral hemorrhage.
Abdullah graduated from Punjab Medical College and is currently working as a PostDoc research scientist in the lab. His is currently working on a project that aims to develop techniques to measure brain atrophy on CT scans acquired using clinical protocol. His other research interests include studying the effect of subdural hematoma on brain atrophy and the effect that anticoagulants might have on the development of subdural hematoma.
Sam graduated from St. Olaf College with majors in Chemistry and Psychology as well as a concentration in Neuroscience. His research interests include reclassifying TBI based on eye tracking and serum biomarkers. He plans to attend medical school and combine a career as a clinician with continued work in translational neuroscience research.
Marleen graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. In the future, Marleen is intending on completing a graduate program. She currently handles the management of our lab, ensuring the proper functioning of all lab activities and allows for the development of new projects and research ideas.
Lindsey is graduating in the spring of 2015 with an MA in clinical psychology from Columbia University. She will then be pursuing a PhD in clinical psychology at the University of Florida with the goal of becoming a neuropsychologist. She will also continue to focus on TBI in her research and clinical work.
Jae is an undergraduate student at New York University studying biochemistry. In our lab, he studies the effects of tau protein in traumatic brain injury patients. Paul aspires to attend medical school after graduating NYU and become a neurosurgeon.
Julia is currently finishing her undergraduate career at New York University, with a concentration in Neural Science. She hopes to attend medical school after graduation with intentions of becoming a neurosurgeon.
Aylin Adem is a pre-medical student at Hunter College majoring in Studio Art and Biology with a concentration in Neurobiology. Her future goal is to go on to medical school after she completes her bachelors degree. In addition to her work in the lab, she works as a research associate intern in the Emergency Departments of Bellevue and Tisch Hospital.
Gritz Pierre has been a volunteer in Dr. Samadani's brain research lab since August 2014. He received his B.A. in Psychology from Long Island University, his MBA in General Management from Plymouth State University and his M.D. from American University of Antigua.
Emily is a graduate student at Teachers College, Columbia University and will be receiving her Masters in Clinical Psychology this May. She hopes to attend a doctoral program to study head trauma.
Emily is currently attending NYU School of Medicine Class of 2018.