The field of Functional and Restorative Neurosurgery attempts to utilize surgical interventions to affect therapeutic alterations in the function of the nervous system, or restore damaged function by repairing neural structures. Functional Neurosurgery includes the full range of ablative and neuromodulatory (implanted stimulators and pumps) approaches to functional disorders including epilepsy, pain, psychiatric disease and movement disorders. Restorative Neurosurgery utilizes biological repair or neural interfacing to restore lost neural function. These efforts have focused on central nervous system regeneration, neural protection, neuronal replacement and brain/machine interface for the repair of the nervous system damaged by degenerative, inflammatory, traumatic or ischemic insults.
The goal of the Functional and Restorative Neurosurgery Academic Track is to provide a structured exposure to the field of Functional and Restorative Neurosurgery, including the core diseases addressed by this discipline and the multiple modalities of diagnosis and treatment. Many of the core technologies in the field of Functional and Restorative Neurosurgery remain in the early stages of development. Therefore, basic and translational research are integral components of this academic career path. The clinical and research curriculum attempt to allow the resident to become facile with the nuances of a modern functional and restorative practice, while developing research/clinical expertise to pursue a career while enrolled within the residency.
This Functional and Restorative Neurosurgery Academic Track will follow a 24-month course, including four distinct components: epilepsy, pain, deep brain stimulation and peripheral nerve surgery. There will be adequate flexibility to pursue multiple goals simultaneously and to customize one’s experience. This track will typically commence in the PGY-4 year. The track plays a critical role in addressing the difficult question of how to achieve adequate training in the diverse fields that exist under the umbrella of Functional and Restorative Neurosurgery. It is expected, though not required, that completion of the track will culminate in a one-year fellowship in epilepsy, stereotactic or nerve surgery.
The Functional and Restorative Academic/Research Track has been developed for the Department of Neurosurgery Residents at the Emory University School of Medicine. The Functional and Restorative Track provides a comprehensive path for prospective residents to follow that will maximize their clinical or basic science research effort, as well as provide all the tools necessary to develop into a neurosurgeon-scientist with an interest in functional and restorative surgery. The functional and restorative track includes potential coursework, grants/fellowships, scientific meetings, symposiums, lectures/seminars/webinars, awards and mentors the residents are expected to use as a reference throughout their residency and dedicated research time. While following a 24-month course, the track is multidisciplinary and involves different departments at Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Residents have the opportunity to obtain a Master of Science in Clinical Research (MSCR) through the Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute (ACTSI) if selected. Other options offered through the Emory Rollins School of Public Health include Master of Public Health (MPH) and Master of Science of Public Health (MSPH). Residents interested in pursuing a PhD may obtain extra time during their residency if approved by the resident director.
The Neuro-Spinal Development Track will follow a 24-month course. During this 24-month period, residents are expected to complete three months of didactic coursework and attend different symposia, as well as seminars/lectures/webinars. The three months need not be contiguous and since the calendar of coursework, symposia, etc. occur at different points in the year, the resident will need to accumulate this three‐month body of material over a period of one or two years. This will be undertaken in the PGY3 and PGY4 years.
A separate three-month period will be allotted for rotation in a potential laboratory led by an established researcher, or working closely with an experienced clinical researcher. This rotation will provide instruction to the neurosurgery residents in basic research, but also set up the resident to pursue their own project during the remainder of their 18 months of research time. Residents are expected to actively participate in lab meetings, journal club and present any data they acquire. They are also expected to attend local seminars/lectures/webinars and plan on applying for grants/fellowships, as well as attending scientific meetings.
The remaining 18 months will be used by the resident to complete their project with a selected mentor. Residents at this point should have applied, or be in the process of applying, for grants/fellowships, awards and continue to attend seminars/lectures/webinars. The resident will be expected to present data at scientific meetings during this time period. Projects shall be selected that can be completed during this time period, and residents are expected to work closely with their mentors to finish their project prior to reinitiation of full-time clinical duties.
Residents in the functional and restorative tract are expected to report their completion of coursework, attendance of symposia, as well as seminars/lectures/webinars to the residency director. In addition, presentation at scientific meetings, obtainment of awards, grants/fellowships will be recorded by the residency director. A minimum of two publications will also be required by the resident.