R. Mark Richardson, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery
Director, Adult Epilepsy and Movement Disorders Surgery
Director, Brain Modulation Laboratory
Faculty Member, Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition





R. Mark Richardson, MD, PhD, 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. He started the interventional-MRI DBS program at UPMC, and his additional clinical expertise includes intraoperative mapping to preserve brain function, including language, in patients who are awake during epilepsy and tumor surgery.

Please also visit Dr. Richardson's Facebook page.

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

Hospital Privileges

UPMC Presbyterian
Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System

Professional Organization Membership:

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

Media Appearances

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

Research Activities

(See also Dr. Richardson's Brain Modulation Lab.)

1) Surgical Epilepsy Brain and Biomarker Databank

We are exploring relationships between abnormal oscillatory activity and synaptic plasticity in the human hippocampus that may contribute to epileptogenesis, in patients with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) who undergo diagnostic hippocampal depth electrode recordings and subsequent surgical resection of the epileptogenic hippocampus. Our Surgical Epilepsy Brain and Biomarker Databank provides an ability to examine the molecular and cellular correlates of neural activity directly in the tissue from which electrical recordings are collected in MTLE patients. 

2) Strategies for Gene Therapy Delivery in the Temporal Lobe

A critical barrier for the rational development of gene therapy to treat mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) is the absence of experimental work directed at the development of a comprehensive, clinical gene therapy delivery strategy for this brain region. Our studies seek to optimize the delivery of gene therapy vectors to the nonhuman primate hippocampus, in a manner that recapitulates the clinical scenario. The recent development of a computer-assisted, MRI-guided clinical platform for adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector delivery allows us to test the safety and accuracy of transgene delivery to the hippocampus with an unprecedented level of precision.

3) Sensing-enabled Deep Brain Stimulation in a Nonhuman Primate Epilepsy Model

The overall goal of this proposal is to create and characterize a novel NHP model of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) for use in preclinical development of closed-loop deep brain stimulation algorithms and other emerging therapies. 

4) Dynamics of Cortical-Limbic Communication in the Human Brain

The lab is assisting Dr. Avniel Ghuman in this ECoG project involving social perception. The dynamics and function of information flow between two critical regions for social perception, the posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) and the amygdala, are being investigated. The long-term goal of this research program is to build a model of the network dynamics that lead to successful social perception.

5) High Definition Fiber Tractography in the Study of Epilepsy and Movement Disorders

High-definition fiber tracking (HDFT), developed in the laboratory of Walt Schneider at the University of Pittsburgh, is a novel combination of MRI processing, reconstruction, and tractography methods. This method allows accurate reconstruction of white matter fibers from the cortex, through complex fiber crossings, to cortical and subcortical targets with subvoxel resolution. The goal of this project is to apply this novel imaging technique to the study of white matter tracks commonly affected by epilepsy and movement disorders, especially those commonly transected during epilepsy surgery or affected by deep brain stimulation.