The goal of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh is to improve the care and treatment of patients with neurological disease. This goal is being achieved partly though the implementation and administration of state-of-the-art basic and translational research. Our department—with more than 40 faculty members and investigators—endeavors to be at the forefront of medical research. Numerous advances have already been achieved—research translated into practice.

Annually, the department has been highly ranked in total research funding, a direct result of the success and quality of our research and development. In the 2021 fiscal year, our faculty and residents were involved in more than 160 research projects having a total annual budget award of more than $10 million.

Ongoing research includes the disciplines of molecular biology, neurophysiology, neurochemistry, neuroanatomy, neuroradiology and other neuroscience arenas. Specific questions addressed include research into the acute and chronic care following neurotrauma, neural recovery and plasticity, the neurobiologic and therapeutic response in neuro-oncology, the underlying mechanisms and treatment of epilepsy and movement disorders, cell death and radiation injury, and cerebrovascular physiology and modeling. The department provides an outstanding research environment for fellows, residents, and students seeking training in neurosurgical research.

Intramural research support for junior faculty and residents is available through the Walter L. Copeland Fund. The Walter L. Copeland Fund was established at The Pittsburgh Foundation in 1961, with instructions that the entire annual proceeds support cranial research in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh. The Copeland Fund has provided seed funding that has resulted in substantial federal grants to the Department of Neurological Surgery. For example, over the last five years, the department was awarded a total of $750,000 ($150,000 per year). During the same interval, Copeland Fund awardees used the data from these seed funds to apply and receive over $21 million in total external funding to the Department of Neurological Surgery