Jorge A. González-Martínez, MD, PhD

  • Professor
  • Director, Epilepsy & Movement Disorders Program
  • Co-Director, Epilepsy Center at University of Pittsburgh
  • 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.

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 180 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

• Developing a Network-Based approach for Medically and Surgically Intractable Epilepsy.
(This research project is a collaboration between Aix-Marseille University and the University of Pittsburgh)

Medically refractory epilepsy (MRE) is a devastating disease affecting around 50 million people worldwide. In MRE patients, surgery is a feasible and hopeful alternative for seizure freedom. Seizure freedom is achieved through complete resection or ablation of the Epileptogenic Zone (EZ). The localization and anatomical extent of the EZ are essential for surgical success and frequently invasive monitoring (IM) is necessary. Stereo-encephalography (SEEG) is a presurgical IM method that directly records local field potentials with accurate anatomical precision in brain areas that are suspected of being involved in the EZ. Measuring time and space characteristics of the discharges from multiple areas gives access to the EZ organization. The usual tools used in signal processing reach their limits where large-scale network architecture is at stake, making the distinction between the EZ (essential for seizure organization) and propagation zone (PZ – part of the epileptic network but not essential for seizure organization) a difficult task. Mechanistic computational models offer a means to establish causality of etiopathogenic pathways and can be used to systematically explore, map and simulate the precise localization and extent of the EZ and, ultimately, guide successful surgeries. Computational models offer the possibility of simulating such complex electrical dynamics and generating plausible time and space series. By comparing in silico with in vivo SEEG signals and their functional connectivity, we will achieve direct predictions of the precise extent of the EZ and anticipate seizure outcome after surgical interventions. Dr. Gonzalez-Martinez hypothesize that large-scale epileptic network disorders can be mathematically modeled using a network-based computational approach and precise and successful surgical interventions can be simulated. The combination of SEEG methodology with novel computational methods of brain network modeling provides the opportunity to safely and successfully identify the differences between the epileptogenic and propagation networks, departing from the current methods of diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Gonzalez-Martinez’s overarching goal is to develop an effective and computational network-based method that will guide safer and more efficient surgeries by more precise and individualized predictions the extent of the EZs. He will base the method on established clinical/electrophysiological biomarkers of epileptogenic network activity extracted from non-invasive data and intracerebral recordings, and surgical simulations by in silico focal subtractions of cortical areas within the mapped network. Preliminary data show promising results and a grant application resubmission is in process. 

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