R. Mark Richardson, MD, PhD, FAANS

Associate Professor
Director, Adult Epilepsy and Movement Disorders Surgery
Director, Brain Modulation Laboratory
Faculty Member, University of Pittsburgh Brain Institute

R. Mark Richardson




R. Mark Richardson, MD, PhD, FAANS, is director of Epilepsy and Movement Disorders Surgery at UPMC Presbyterian.

Dr. Richardson received his undergraduate education at the University of Virginia. He completed his medical and doctoral education in the MD/PhD program at the Medical College of Virginia, where his interest in adult neurogenesis led to an NIH National Research Service Award.

Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh in 2011, Dr. Richardson completed neurosurgical residency at the University of California San Francisco where he received specialized training in epilepsy neurosurgery, deep brain stimulation, and brain mapping during awake craniotomies. Additionally, he received an NIH National Research Service Award to study gene therapy delivery to the brain.

Dr. Richardson’s clinical specialization is comprehensive epilepsy surgery and deep brain stimulation for movement disorders. At UPMC, he created one of the first interventional-MRI DBS programs in the nation, and the only such program in Pennsylvania. Similarly, he was one of the first neurosurgeons in the United States to use robotics in both DBS and epilepsy surgery.

Dr. Richardson is principal investigator for both the AADC gene therapy clinical trial for Parkinson disease and the Adaptive DBS for Parkinson’s disease clinical trials at UPMC. He also serves on the board of directors of the Parkinson’s Foundation of Western Pennsylvania.

Dr. Richardson’s additional clinical expertise includes intraoperative mapping to preserve brain function, including language, in patients who are awake during epilepsy and tumor surgery. He also directs the Brain Modulation Lab, which anchors a multidisciplinary, human systems neuroscience research program.

Dr. Richardson is an active collaborator within the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (a joint program between Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh) and the University of Pittsburgh Brain Institute.

Please also visit Dr. Richardson's Facebook page.

Specialized Areas of Interest

Epilepsy surgery (including laser thermal ablation and robotic-assisted stereo-EEG), deep brain stimulation (including asleep DBS) for movement disorders and OCD, gene therapy, awake surgery in eloquent brain areas.

Board Certifications

American Board of Neurological Surgeons

Hospital Privileges

UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
UPMC Hamot
UPMC Presbyterian

Professional Organization Membership:

American Association of Neurological Surgeons
American Association of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery
American Epilepsy Society
American Society for Neural Transplantation and Repair
Congress of Neurological Surgeons
International Movement Disorders Society
Society for Neuroscience 

Education & Training

BA, University of Virginia, 1997
MD/PhD, Medical College of Virginia, 2005
Fellowship, University of California San Francisco Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2010
Residency, University of California San Francisco Neurological Surgery, 2011

Honors & Awards

Pittsburgh’s Best Doctors, Pittsburgh Magazine, 2016-18
NARSAD Young Investigator Award, Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, 2015
Faculty Teaching Award, Department of Neurological Surgery, 2013

Selected Publications

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

Sisterson ND, Wozny TA, Kokkinos V, Constantino A, Richardson RM. Closed-Loop Brain Stimulation for Drug-Resistant Epilepsy: Towards an Evidence-Based Approach to Personalized Medicine. Neurotherapeutics [Epub ahead of print], 2018.

Li Y, Richardson RM, Ghuman AS. Posterior Fusiform and Midfusiform Contribute to Distinct Stages of Facial Expression Processing.Cereb Cortex [Epub ahead of print], 2018.

Lipski WJ, Alhourani A, Pirnia T, Jones PW, Dastolfo-Hromack C, Helou LB, Crammond DJ, Shaiman S, Dickey MW, Holt LL, Turner RS, Fiez JA, Richardson RM. Subthalamic Nucleus Neurons Differentially Encode Early and Late Aspects of Speech Production. J Neurosci 13;38(24):5620-5631, 2018.

Lee PS, Weiner GM, Corson D, Kappel J, Chang Y, Suski VR, Berman SB, Homayoun H, Van Laar AD, Crammond DJ, and Richardson RM. Outcomes of Interventional-MRI Versus Microelectrode Recording-Guided Subthalamic Deep Brain Stimulation. Front. Neurol 9:241, 2018.

Li Y, Richardson RM, Ghuman AS. Multi-Connection Pattern Analysis: Decoding the representational content of neural communication. Neuroimage 15;162:32-44, 2017.

Lipski WJ, Wozny TA, Alhourani A, Kondylis E, Turner RS, Crammond DJ, Richardson RM. Dynamics of human subthalamic neuron phase-locking to motor and sensory cortical oscillations during movement. J Neurophysiol 1;118(3):1472-1487, 2017.

Wozny TA, Lipski WJ, Alhourani A, Kondylis ED, Antony A, Richardson RM. Effects of hippocampal low-frequency stimulation in idiopathic non-human primate epilepsy assessed via a remote-sensing-enabled neurostimulator. Exp Neurol 294:68-77, 2017.

Aminoff EM, Li Y, Pyles JA, Ward M, Richardson RM, Ghuman AS. Associative hallucinations result from stimulating left ventromedial temporal cortex. Cortex 83:139-44, 2016.

Lee PS, Pardini J, Hendrickson R, Destefino V, Popescu A, Ghearing G, Antony A, Pan J, Bajic A, Wagner D, Richardson RM. Short-term neurocognitive outcomes following anterior temporal lobectomy. Epilepsy Behav 62:140-146, 2016.

Kondylis ED, Randazzo MJ, Alhourani A, Lipski WJ, Wozny TA, Ghuman AS, Turner RS, Crammond DJ, Richardson RM. Movement-related dynamics of cortical oscillations in Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor. Brain 139(Pt 8):2211-23, 2016.

Hirshorn EA , Li Y, Ward MJ, Richardson RM, Fiez J, Ghuman AS. Decoding and disrupting left mid-fusiform gyrus activity during word reading. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 113(29):8162-7, 2016.

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

Research Activities

Dr. Richardson’s major research accomplishments for 2017-18 include discoveries in ongoing studies of intracranial neurophysiology in awake subjects undergoing DBS. Dr. Richardson and colleagues showed for the first time that information related to movement could be transferred between the individual subthalamic nucleus neurons and the cortex based on the firing rate pattern, in the absence of changes in the absolute firing rate (Lipski et al., Journal of Neurophysiology, 2017). This finding has important implications for understanding how the brain computes information within basal-ganglia thalamocortical circuits. They also published their initial findings from their BRAIN Initiative U01 project, showing that individual neurons in the subthalamic nucleus code for different aspects of speech production (Lipski et al., Journal of Neuroscience, 2018). This work is the first in a series of studies that will have implications for understanding how to eventually use DBS to improve speech in movement disorders.

Dr. Richardson and colleagues in Movement Disorders Neurology also published their initial cohort of STN DBS outcomes in Parkinson’s disease, comparing implantation via interventional-MRI guidance versus microelectrode-recording guidance. They demonstrated equivalent decreases in UPDRS scores and medication usage. Dr. Richardson’s expertise using the ClearPoint system for interventional-MRI guided functional neurosurgery was further validated by UPMC becoming only the second site in the world to complete over 100 cases with this system, including DBS, gene therapy and LITT.

In epilepsy-related work, Dr. Richardson and colleagues in the Brain Modulation Lab were awarded major funding through UPMC Enterprises and the Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance’s Center for Commercial Applications of Healthcare Data to develop BRAINStim (Biophysically Rational Analysis for Individualized Neural Stimulation), a platform for optimizing closed loop brain stimulation for epilepsy and other emerging applications.

Media Appearances

New Tool Helps Karen Conquer Epilepsy
April 28, 2017
Pittsburgh Magazine

Innovation in brain imaging
February 16, 2017

Erie hospital joins Parkinson's research project
January 26, 2017

Pitt-UPMC neurosurgeon to lead BRAIN Initiative grant to study how we speak
October 13, 2016

Brain Surgery Option Now For Patients Crippled By Severe OCD
August 31, 2016
CBS TV-2, New York

Epilepsy Research Leads To New Insights Into How Our Brains Read
August 16, 2016
WESA Radio Pittsburgh Tech Report

Deep Brain Stimulation Could Help Patients With Severe OCD
July 13, 2016
KDKA-TV Evening News

Parkinson’s patients find relief through surgery
June 2, 2016
Oregon's The Bulletin

Neurobiology of Deep Brain Stimulation
April 27, 2016
Journal of Neurophysiology Podcasts

Deep-brain stimulation helps Erie Parkinson's patients
March 26, 2016

Pitt professor's gene therapy trial holds promise for Parkinson's patients
February 29, 2016
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Local Doctor Leads Study Of Gene Therapy Treatment For Parkinson’s Patients
February 18, 2016

Neurotechnology offers new solutions to treating brain diseases
January 26, 2016

Neurosurgeons using laser technology to eradicate brain tumors
November 9, 2015
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

McCandless woman 1st in region with implant aimed at halting seizures
August 2, 2015
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Richardson Discusses Epilepsy
June 8, 2015
KDKA Radio Morning News

Functional neurosurgery for improving quality of life (pdf)
September 2014
Allegheny County Medical Society Bulletin

UPMC procedure offers hope for severe OCD cases
August 11, 2014
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Health Beat: Parkinson's: Stop the shaking
June 5, 2014
WFMZ-TV 69 (Lehigh Valley, Pa.)

Parkinson’s: Stop the shaking
May 28, 2014
WWSB-TV 7 (Sarasota, Fla.)

Breakthrough Parkinson's treatment stops the shaking
May 27, 2014
WNDU-TV (South Bend, Ind.)

Pittsburgh chef Pais honored at James Beard fundraiser dinner at Art Institute
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

May 27, 2014

Parkinson’s: Stop The Shaking
May 14, 2014
NewsChannel5.com (Nashville, Tenn.)

New technique minimizes tremors in Parkinson's patient
May 4, 2014
News4Jax.com (Jacksonville, Fla.)

Richardson Discusses Parkinson's and DBS
April 30, 2014
KDKA Radio Morning News

Brain Pacemaker
September 23, 2013
The Cure

'Brain pacemaker' may slow effects of Alzheimer's
March 19, 2013
NBC todayhealth.today.com

A return to normalcy for Shadyside chef Toni Pais
March 17, 2013
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 

Epilepsy Surgery
August 15, 2012
Discovery Channel

UPMC Videos

Learn About Epilepsy Treatment at UPMC
Dr. Richardson talks about epilepsy surgery at UPMC

Adult Epilepsy Surgery
Dr. Richardson discusses the benefits of epilepsy surgery for adult patients.