Jorge A. González-Martínez, MD, PhD

  • Stuart Niles Rowe Professor
  • Vice-Chair, Department of Neurological Surgery
  • Director, Epilepsy & Movement Disorders Program
  • Co-Director, University of Pittsburgh Epilepsy Center
  • Director, Cortical Systems Laboratory

Jorge González-Martínez, MD, PhD, is a board-certified neurosurgeon subspecialized in epilepsy and functional neurosurgery. He is the director of the epilepsy/movement disorders surgery division and the current Stuart Niles Rowe Chair in Neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh.

The University of Pittsburgh’s Epilepsy, Movement Disorders and Psychiatry Surgical Program, under the direction of Dr. González-Martínez encompasses the treatment of medically intractable epilepsy, movement disorders and psychiatry disorders. These pathological neurological conditions are similar in that successful neurosurgical treatment requires an expert understanding of the involved brain networks and their potential for modulation by functional neurosurgical procedures, as well as multidisciplinary teams that deliver surgical care to these special groups of patients. Dr. González-Martínez has expertise in both adult and pediatric patients. Pediatric patients are treated at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, one of the best pediatric hospitals in the country, as noted in U.S. News and World Report.

Dr. González-Martínez has the country’s largest experience in SEEG procedures, SEEG guided resections and neuromodulation surgeries, with more than 3,000 successful surgical procedures performed. To promote an optimal safety profile and seizure outcome, many procedures are performed under robotic guidance. In addition to developing and implementing the SEEG method in North America, Dr. González-Martínez is also a pioneer in robotic surgery, having performed more than 1,000 procedures using this technique. The University of Pittsburgh has the largest experience in robotic neurosurgery in the country and was one of the first institutions in adopting the novel technology.

In addition to clinical activities, The Epilepsy, Movement Disorders and Psychiatry Surgical Program is considered one the premier programs in the country regarding translational and basic science research, working in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh Department of Neuroscience, Carnegie Mellon University Department of Biomedical Engineering, John Hopkins University and Aix Marseille University in France. The program’s research activities are led by Dr. González-Martínez and his research team and conducted through the University of Pittsburgh Cortical Systems Laboratory. 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 230 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 serving on the executive committee of both the American Society of Stereotactic and the Functional Neurosurgery and the American Epilepsy Society for the last six years, developing high relevant projects and topics related to the field of functional neurosurgery and epilepsy.

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

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, 2020-23
  • Legacy Award, Cleveland Epilepsy Association, 2017
  • Harvey Cushing Award, Congress of Neurological Surgeons, 2005
  • Preuss Award, National Brain Tumor Foundation, 2002

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

Epilepsy surgery gets a makeover
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
November 5, 2023

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

UPMC Videos

UPMC Comprehensive Epilepsy Center
Dr. González-Martínez discusses epilepsy care at UPMC.