Donald J. Crammond, PhD

  • Associate Professor
  • Associate Director, Movement Disorder Surgery

Donald Crammond, PhD, joined the Center for Clinical Neurophysiology as a staff neurophysiologist in November 1997. Dr. Crammond received his undergraduate education in physiology at the University of Glasgow in Scotland and his graduate education in neurophysiology at the University of Toronto. After postdoctoral studies at the University of Wisconsin and later at the Université de Montréal, he was appointed visiting associate scientist at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Md.

Dr. Crammond specializes in intra-operative neurophysiological monitoring (IONM) and in systems-level, behavioral neurophysiology, examining the neuronal substrates of higher cognitive processes such as movement planning and speech and the functional interactions between, the cerebral cortex, thalamus and basal ganglia, and the mechanisms underlying motor control and movement disorders.

Dr. Crammond is the associate director for microelectrode recording and subcortical mapping for the Movement Disorder Surgery Program at UPMC. Dr. Crammond is vice-chair of the American Board of Neurophysiologic Monitoring (ABNM).

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

Specialized Areas of Interest

The application of neurophysiological mapping in the surgical treatment of movement disorders, functional localization in cerebral cortex; motor system physiology, peripheral nerve regeneration and intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring (IONM).

Board Certifications

American Board of Neurophysiological Monitoring

Hospital Privileges

Excela Health - Westmoreland and Latrobe Hospitals
Indiana Regional Medical Center
UPMC Altoona
UPMC Bedford
UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
UPMC Horizon
UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital
UPMC McKeesport
UPMC Mercy
UPMC Muncy
UPMC Northwest
UPMC Passavant
UPMC Passavant, Cranberry
UPMC Pinnacle
UPMC Presbyterian
UPMC St. Margaret
UPMC Shadyside
UPMC Somerset
UPMC Susquehanna
UPMC Western Maryland

Professional Organization Membership

American Society for Neurophysiological Monitoring
Movement Disorder Society
Society for Neuroscience

Professional Activities

Vice-Chair, American Board of Neurophysiologic Monitoring
Education Committee, American Society of Neurophysiologic Monitoring
University of Pittsburgh IRB, DSMB
Carnegie Mellon University IRB, DSMB

Education & Training

  • BSc (Hons), Physiology, University of Glasgow, 1980
  • PhD, Neurophysiology, University of Toronto, 1988
  • Fellowship, Neurophysiology, University of Wisconsin, 1987
  • Fellowship, Neurophysiology, Université de Montreal, 1992
  • Fellowship, Clinical Neurophysiology, University of Pittsburgh, 1999

Research Activities

Dr. Crammond’s major clinical research interest is the study of basal ganglia and cerebral cortical interactions related to the control of movement in movement disorders including Parkinson’s disease, Dystonia and Essential Tremor. This is accomplished by recording neurophysiological data from micro-electrode single-unit (MER) and local field potential (LFP) recordings in the basal ganglia simultaneously with Electrocorticography (ECoG) and LFP from sensorimotor cortex and by stimulating various structures, to examine the physiological relationship between basal ganglia and functional areas of cerebral cortex. This research examines how these cortical areas and subcortical nuclei are involved in different aspects of movement planning and movement execution during the performance of controlled behavioral tasks. Currently, we are studying the motor control of the hand and how activity in basal ganglia and thalamus regulates motor output through the primary motor cortex and corticospinal tract. Current research is examining if DBS in thalamus and/or basal ganglia may facilitate arm/hand function that may be beneficial in stroke patients who have impaired arm/hand function. As we understand more about basal ganglia physiology and cortical-basal ganglia interactions, we hope this will also help us to improve the targeting for optimal DBS placement within the basal ganglia to be more specific to movement disorder patients’ symptoms and to decrease the incidence of post-operative DBS side effects. Related studies are examining how to better use brain imaging and potential electrophysiological biomarkers of PD, to improve DBS targeting.

Dr. Crammond’s ongoing clinical research interest is to review clinical outcome data to determine the impact of various modalities of Intra-Operative Neurophysiological Monitoring (IONM) to prevent and/or reduce iatrogenic injury and to use neurophysiological mapping of the basal ganglia and cerebral cortex to map motor and language functions in various neurosurgical procedures in awake patients. For example, to map and locate eloquent cortical areas in tumor resection and in epilepsy surgeries. 

Media Appearances

Brain Pacemaker
September 23, 2013
The Cure

How You Move Your Arm Says Something About Who You Are
July 19, 2012
NPR All Things Considered