Jorge A. González-Martínez, MD, PhD

  • Professor
  • Director, Epilepsy & Movement Disorders Program
  • Co-Director, University of Pittsburgh Epilepsy Center
  • Director, Cortical Systems Laboratory

Jorge González-Martínez, MD, PhD, FAANS, is a board-certified and world-renowned neurosurgeon subspecializing in epilepsy and functional neurosurgery. He is director of the University of Pittsburgh Department of Neurological Surgery Epilepsy & Movement Disorders Program, co-director of the UPMC Epilepsy Center, and director of the University of Pittsburgh Cortical Systems Laboratory.

He currently holds the UPMC endowed chair in Epilepsy Surgery. Dr. González-Martínez is a medical pioneer in novel surgical methods for treating medically refractory seizures such as stereo-electroencephalography, SEEG guided laser ablative procedures, neuromodulatory interventions and robotic guided surgeries, bringing for the first time innovative surgical interventions to the United States and other countries. His particular field of interest and academic drive is related to neuro-electrophysiology, intracranial signal processing and behavioral neuroscience studies. Combined, the clinical and basic science efforts have been guiding his academic and clinical pathway for safer and more efficient methods for treating patients with severe seizures and abnormal movement disorders, promoting the improvement of symptoms, in combination with better functional and quality of life outcomes.

Dr. González-Martínez has published more than 200 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters related to epilepsy surgery and methods of brain mapping for patients with medically intractable epilepsy and movement disorders. He has been a member of the American Society of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery executive committee since 2013, developing high relevant projects and topics related to the field of functional neurosurgery and epilepsy.

He is also a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgery, Congress of Neurological Surgery and American Epilepsy Society.

Specialized Areas of Interest

Adult and pediatric epilepsy surgery; movement disorder surgery; neuro-oncology; general neurosurgery.

Board Certifications

American Board of Neurological Surgeons

Hospital Privileges

UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
UPMC Hamot
UPMC Presbyterian
UPMC Shadyside

Professional Organization Membership

American Association of Neurological Surgeons
American Epilepsy Society
American Society of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery
Congress of Neurological Surgeons

Education & Training

  • MD, University of Sao Paulo Medical School, 1994
  • PhD, University of Sao Paulo Medical School, 2002
  • Neuro-oncology Fellowship, Wayne State University, 2001
  • Functional Neurosurgery Fellowship, Cleveland Clinic, 2002
  • Epilepsy Surgery Fellowship, Cleveland Clinic, 2003
  • Neurosurgery Residency, Cleveland Clinic, 2008
  • Epilepsy & Stereotactic Fellowship, University of Grenoble, France, 2009

Honors & Awards

  • Best Doctor in Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Magazine, 2020
  • Legacy Award, Cleveland Epilepsy Association, 2017
  • Harvey Cushing Award, Congress of Neurological Surgeons, 2005
  • Preuss Award, National Brain Tumor Foundation, 2002

Selected Publications

Breault MS, Fitzgerald ZB, Sacré P, Gale JT, Sarma SV, González-Martínez JA. Non-motor Brain Regions in Non-dominant Hemisphere Are Influential in Decoding Movement Speed. Front Neurosci 13:715, 2019.

Aupy J, Wendling F, Taylor K, Bulacio J, González-Martínez JA, Chauvel P. Cortico-striatal synchronization in human focal seizures. Brain 142(5):1282-1295, 2019.

McGovern RA, Ruggieri P, Bulacio J, Najm I, Bingaman WE, González-Martínez JA. Risk analysis of hemorrhage in stereo-electroencephalography procedures. Epilepsia 60(3):571-580, 2019.

Sacré P, Kerr MSD, Subramanian S, Fitzgerald Z, Kahn K, Johnson MA, Niebur E, Eden UT, González-Martínez JA, Gale JT, Sarma SV. Risk-taking bias in human decision-making is encoded via a right-left brain push-pull system. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 116(4):1404-1413, 2019.

Li A, Chennuri B, Subramanian S, Yaffe R, Gliske S, Stacey W, Norton R, Jordan A, Zaghloul KA, Inati SK, Agrawal S, Haagensen JJ, Hopp J, Atallah C, Johnson E, Crone N, Anderson WS, Fitzgerald Z, Bulacio J, Gale JT, Sarma SV, González-Martínez JA. Using network analysis to localize the epileptogenic zone from invasive EEG recordings in intractable focal epilepsy. Netw Neurosci 2(2):218-240, 2019.

Jones JC, Alomar S, McGovern RA, Firl D, Fitzgerald Z, Gale J, González-Martínez JA. Techniques for placement of stereotactic electroencephalographic depth electrodes: Comparison of implantation and tracking accuracies in a cadaveric human study. Epilepsia 59(9):1667-1675, 2018.

Aupy J, Kheder A, Bulacio J, Chauvel P, González-Martínez JA. Is the caudate nucleus capable of generating seizures? Evidence from direct intracerebral recordings. Clin Neurophysiol 129(5):931-933, 2018.

Aupy J, Noviawaty I, Krishnan B, Suwankpakdee P, Bulacio J, González-Martínez JA, Najm I, Chauvel P. Insulo-opercular cortex generates oroalimentary automatisms in temporal seizures. Epilepsia 59(3):583-594, 2018.

Grinenko O, Li J, Mosher JC, Wang IZ, Bulacio JC, González-Martínez JA, Nair D, Najm I, Leahy RM, Chauvel P. A fingerprint of the epileptogenic zone in human epilepsies. Brain 141(1):117-131, 2018.

Alomar S, Mullin JP, Smithason S, González-Martínez JA. Indications, technique, and safety profile of insular stereoelectroencephalography electrode implantation in medically intractable epilepsy. Neurosurg 16:1-11, 2017.

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

Research Activities

Dynamic Pathways for Word Retrieval
Fluent word retrieval involves a dynamic neural network that includes at least five regions of primary interest (fusiform gyrus, temporal pole, middle temporal gyrus, angular gyrus, and inferior frontal gyrus), interconnected by major white matter fascicles (inferior longitudinal fascicle, the occipital frontal fascicle, and the uncinate fascicle). In addition, there is increasing but debated evidence that hippocampus is critically involved in language processes, including word retrieval. This extended network is described in theories at the cross-roads of cognitive neuroscience and psychology, and it is central in a variety of clinical contexts such pre-surgical assessment in temporal lobe epilepsy. Some theories highlight the anatomo-functional links for each of the regions involved or the temporal organization of their recruitment. Others have focused on the network of white matter connections between regions. Dr. González-Martínez’s fundamental goal is to combine these two approaches to foster understanding of word retrieval and its disruptions, by considering both the sub-second functional dynamics and the precise anatomical pathways between brain areas. This goal is achieved by expanding our previous research in patients with medically intractable epilepsy requiring SEEG (depth electrodes) implantation. The project is based on a unique and novel combination of extensive intra-cerebral stereotactic recordings of neurophysiological activity with high definition fiber tracking methods.

Human Decision Making in Complex Environments
The overall goal of the proposal is to understand the neural circuit involved in (1) representing relevant decision variables, (2) integrating these variables to form subjective values, and (3) selecting one of the options in multi-attribute decisions. 

A Biomimetic Approach Towards a Dexterous Neuroprosthesis
The loss of arm and hand function experienced by people with chronic cervical spinal cord injury limits independence and employment opportunities, increasing the extent, duration, and overall cost of care. A sensorimotor brain-computer interface can bypass the injured spinal cord to restore lost movement and sensation. Dr. González-Martínez will investigate the potential of biomimetic intracortical microstimulation for sensory restoration and motor decoding schemes that enable control over grasp kinematics and kinetics to restore dexterity for people with tetraplegia.

Hamot Health Foundation: The Role of Basal Ganglia in Language and Motor Control
The goal of this proposal is to explore the role of subcortical nodes in the basal ganglia-thalamocortical network and the cortex in coding various aspects of motor control, through electrophysiological study of networks targeted during deep brain stimulation surgery.

DIXI Neurolab: Thermocoagulation and Epilepsy
(Thermocoagulation device for diagnosis and treatment of medically refractory epilepsy)
The overall reach for this proposal is to develop and evaluate a portable and user-friendly radio-frequency generator device, compatible with the current DIXI depth electrodes. Dr. González-Martínez will develop and evaluate the efficacy and safety of the device through a series of rigorous bench testing and clinical studies with the ultimate goal of enabling its clinical use to map seizures and to allow bedside, thermocoagulation-based, treatment.

Media Appearances

Best Life: New brain surgery technique helping epilepsy patients
WMC-TV5 Action News (Memphis, Tenn.)
March 11, 2021

Health Beat: SPETL: Brain surgery through the lip
WFMZ-TV69 News (Allentown, Pa.)
March 11, 2021