D. Kojo Hamilton, MD

  • Professor
  • Director, UPMC Neurosurgical Spine Services
  • Director, Residency Training Program
  • Co-Director, Spine Fellowship Program

D. Kojo Hamilton, MD, is a recognized leader in scoliosis, adult spinal deformity and trauma. He is also renowned for neurological surgery education and mentoring.

He received his medical degree and residency training from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. He underwent further subspecialty training in complex spine, spinal deformity, scoliosis and spine surgical oncology, with a combined neurosurgical and orthopedic (AOSpine) fellowship, at the University of Virginia. Dr. Hamilton further received subspecialty cranial training in Auckland City Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand.

He is board certified in neurological surgery, a member of the Society of Neurological Surgeons, a fellow of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and a member of the Scoliosis Research Society. After training, Dr. Hamilton received appointments at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Maryland Shock Trauma Hospital where he treated patients with complex spine deformity, severe spine and brain trauma.

Before joining UPMC, Dr. Hamilton was at the Oregon Health and Science University Spine Center where he treated patients with neurological trauma as well as spinal deformity conditions including adult idiopathic scoliosis, spondylolisthesis and general back and neck pain.

Dr. Hamilton is nationally involved in teaching advanced and current techniques in scoliosis and adult spine deformity. He has an extensive research background in spine surgery and has presented nationally and internationally on the subject.

Dr. Hamilton has received several awards and accolades from his patients, nurses and peers, including best doctor awards—locally and nationally, nine years in a row—since his first year at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

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

Specialized Areas of Interest

Scoliosis; adult and pediatric spinal deformity; cranial and spine trauma; degenerative conditions of the spine; revision and reconstructive spine surgery.

Board Certifications

American Board of Neurological Surgery
Fellow of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons

Hospital Privileges

UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
UPMC Hamot Medical Center
UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital
UPMC Mercy
UPMC Presbyterian

Professional Organization Membership

American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS)
AANS/CNS Joint Section of Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves
AANS/CNS Joint Section of Neurotrauma and Critical Care
AOSpine North America (AOSNA)
International Spine Study Group
Lumbar Spine Research Society
Scoliosis Research Society
Society of Neurological Surgeons

Professional Activities

IMAST Committee, Scoliosis Research Society
MOC/CME Committee, American Association of Neurological Surgeons
Executive Committee, AANS/CNS Joint Section Spine and Peripheral Nerves
Scientific Program Committee, AANS/CNS Joint Section Spine and Peripheral Nerves
DSPN Drugs & Devices Committee, AANS/CNS Joint Section Spine and Peripheral Nerves
ABNS Exam/Extra-Mural Writing Committee, American Board of Neurological Surgery

Education & Training

  • BS (High Honors), Biochemistry, University of Maryland, 1998
  • MD, University of Virginia, 2003
  • Fellowship, Brain and Spine, Auckland City Hospital, 2008
  • Residency, University of Virginia, 2009
  • Fellowship, Complex Spine, University of Virginia, 2010

Honors & Awards

  • Pittsburgh's Best Doctors, Pittsburgh Magazine, 2016-23
  • Faculty Teaching Award, Department of Neurological Surgery, 2020
  • Distinguished Alumni, Univ of Virginia Summer Medical and Dental Education Program

Research Activities

Dr. Hamilton—as director and chief of spine—is actively engaged in clinical research and trials focusing on adult spinal deformity and degenerative spinal disorders. He is currently principal investigator in four clinical studies and co-investigator in seven other multicentered trials in various stages of completion.

One of these studies includes a multicenter prospective evaluation of complex adult deformity surgery with the International Spine Study Group. Another includes a study evaluating the safety and performance of interbody implants for the treatment of patients with degenerative disease conditions of the thoracic and/or lumber spine.

In spinal cord injury research, two multinational studies include a spinal cord perfusion and biomarker study and a phase 2a, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to assess the efficacy and safety of a novel humanized immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) monoclonal antibody that binds to repulsive guidance molecule A(RGMa) for the treatment of spinal cord injury in subjects with acute traumatic cervical spinal cord injury. All outcomes are reported in national and international forums and journals. 

Dr. Hamilton also continues to be a research advisor/mentor to University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine students as well as current and former residents and fellows.

Media Appearances

Some Adults With Scoliosis Could Require Major Corrective Surgery
December 20, 2017
KDKA-TV Health Watch

Physical Therapy for Lower Spine Problems (UPMC Health Beat)
Dr. Hamilton recommends physical therapy to YouTube dance host to solve pain from degenerative disc disease.