Ajay Niranjan, MD, MBA

Director, UPMC-Brain Mapping Center (MEG)
Associate Director, Center for Image-Guided Neurosurgery
Director, Radiosurgery Research

Ajay Niranjan




Ajay Niranjan, MD, is a professor of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Niranjan received his medical training at the King George’s Medical College in Lucknow, India from 1980 to 1985, graduating with a bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery degree. Dr. Niranjan completed general surgery residency in 1989 and neurological surgery residency 1992. Dr. Niranjan joined the University of Pittsburgh as a fellow in image-guided neurosurgery in 1997 and completed his fellowship in 2000. He joined the faculty of neurological surgery in July of 2000.

Dr. Niranjan is an active member of UPMC Telemedicine Executive Committee. Dr. Niranjan’s major research interest is the analysis of clinical outcomes gamma Knife radiosurgery for tumors, vascular malformations and functional disorders of brain. His another research interest is in the development of pre-surgical brain mapping using magnetoencephalography (MEG). His other research interests include development of strategies to enhance the effect of radiosurgery on brain tumors. His laboratory has studied the radiobiological effects of radiation on brain-tumor microenvironment and has evaluated the effects of radiation on neural stem cells implantation in the brain.

Dr. Niranjan serves as principal investigator on the following two projects: “Multicenter Phase II Study of Border Zone Stereotactic Radiosurgery with Bevacizumab Chemotherapy in Patients with Recurrent or Progressive Glioblastoma Multiforme” and “A Safety and Feasibility Study of Minocycline Therapy for Management of Adverse Radiation Effects after Brain Metastases Radiosurgery.”

He has co-authored over 200 articles in refereed journals and over 150 book chapters. Dr. Niranjan has co-edited five books and has contributed guidelines for stereotactic radiosurgery for trigeminal neuralgia, pituitary adenomas, arteriovenous malformation, acoustic tumors, and brain metastases.

Specialized Areas of Interest

Radiosurgery for benign and malignant brain tumors; radiosurgery for brain vascular malformations; radiosurgery for functional brain disorders; pre-surgical brain mapping using MEG.

Hospital Privileges

UPMC Presbyterian

Professional Organization Membership

American Clinical MEG Society 
Congress of Neurological Surgeons
International Radiosurgery Research Foundation
International Stereotactic Radiosurgery Society

Education & Training

MBBS, King George’s Medical College, 1985
Residency, General Surgery, King George’s Medical College, 1989
Residency, Neurological Surgery, King George’s Medical College, 1992
Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh, 2000
MBA, University of Pittsburgh, 2009

Honors & Awards

UPMC Excellence in Patient Experience, Physician and Medical Staff Honor Roll, 2017
Best Doctors in America, Pittsburgh Magazine, 2016-18

Selected Publications

Niranjan A, Lunsford LD, Richardson RM. Current Concepts in Movement Disorder Management, Karger, 2018.

Niranjan A, Kano H, Iyer A, Kondziolka D, Flickinger JC, Lunsford LD. Role of adjuvant or salvage radiosurgery in the management of unresected residual or progressive glioblastoma multiforme in the pre-bevacizumab era. J Neurosurg 122(4):757-65, 2015.

Niranjan A, Laing EJ, Laghari FJ, Richardson RM, Lunsford LD. Preoperative magnetoencephalographic sensory cortex mapping. Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery 91(5):314-22, 2013.

Niranjan A, Gobbel G, Novotny J, Bhatnagar JP, Fellows W, Lunsford LD. Impact of decaying dose rate in gamma knife radiosurgery: in vitro study on 9L rat gliosarcoma cells. J Radiosurgery and SBRT 1(4):257-64, 2012.

Niranjan A, Kano H, Khan A, Kim IY, Kondziolka D, Flickinger JC, Lunsford LD. Radiosurgery for brain metastases from unknown primary cancers. Int J Rad Oncol Biol Phys 77(5):1457-62, 2010.

Niranjan A, Kano H, Mathieu D, Kondziolka D, Flickinger JC, Lunsford LD. Radiosurgery for craniopharyngioma. Int J Rad Oncol Biol Phys 78(1):64-71, 2010.

Niranjan A, Mathieu D, Flickinger JC, Kondziolka D, Lunsford LD. Hearing preservation after intracanalicular vestibular schwannoma radiosurgery. Neurosurg 2008;63(6):1054-62, 2008.

Niranjan A, Fellows W, Stauffer W, Burton EA, Hong CS, Lunsford LD, Kondziolka D, Glorioso JC, Gobbel GT. Survival of transplanted neural progenitor cells enhanced by brain irradiationJ Neurosurg 107(2):383-91, 2007.

Niranjan A, Wolfe D, Tamura M, Soares MK, Krisky DM, Lunsford LD, Li S, Fellows-Mayle W, DeLuca NA, Cohen JB, Glorioso JC. Treatment of rat gliosarcoma brain tumors by HSV-based multigene therapy combined with radiosurgery. Mole Ther 8(4):530-42, 2003.

Niranjan A, Moriuchi S, Lunsford LD, Kondziolka D, Flickinger JC, Fellows W, Rajendiran S, Tamura M, Cohen JB, Glorioso JC. Effective treatment of experimental glioblastoma by HSV vector-mediated TNF alpha and HSV-tk gene transfer in combination with radiosurgery and ganciclovir administration. Mole Ther 2(2):114-20, 2000. 

Niranjan A, Kondziolka D, Baser S, Heyman R, Lunsford LD. Functional outcomes after gamma knife thalamotomy for essential tremor and MS-related tremor. Neurol 55(3):443-6, 2000.

A complete list of Dr. Niranjan's publications can be reviewed through the National Library of Medicine's publication database.

Research Activities

Dr. Niranjan has received a grant award of $46,000 from the International Radiosurgery Research Foundation (IRRF) to conduct research on the project “Thalamic Segmentation using Advanced MR Imaging Techniques.” This study will focus on innovative ways of identifying ventralis intermedialis (VIM) nucleus using state-of-the-art high resolution imaging techniques. This research project is based on Dr. Niranjan’s clinical research work in the application of radiosurgery for management of intractable tremors. Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is the least invasive procedure for management of intractable tremor. Although the VIM nucleus of thalamus is considered radiosurgery target for tremor relief, it cannot be visualized with conventional MRI. Target selection therefore relies on measurements based on known position of VIM nucleus in relation to anatomical landmarks. Therefore, there is an unmet need for better imaging modality that can identify VIM nucleus in an individual patient. We propose to develop high resolution thalamic images and analysis method to segment VIM nucleus. 

This study will explore three ways of identifying VIM nucleus. These include:

  1. a diffusion imaging based MRI paradigm to segment thalamic nuclei in individual patient;
  2. high definition fiber tractography (HDFT) to construct cerebellothalamocortical Tract (CTC) which passes through VIM; and
  3. 7T high definition images using variable time inversion time to identify VIM.

Ten tremor patients will undergo investigational brain imaging prior to SRS. The data will be analyzed offline with innovative data processing techniques to map thalamic nuclei. Patients will also be imaged at 5-12 month after SRS. Follow-up data will be analyzed to study the effect of SRS on thalamus as well as volume of fiber tracts.

Media Appearances