Functional Neurosurgery and Epilepsy Surgery Division


The Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital neurosurgery program for neuromodulation and epilepsy uses advanced neurotechnologies to restore hope and function to patients in the least invasive and most precise ways possible.

Our patient-customized treatment approaches include brain stimulation (such as Deep Brain Stimulation or DBS), where a specific neural circuit is stimulated to help restore its function and laser thermal ablation, in which a small disconnection is created to regulate hyperactive brain circuits and those circuits causing epilepsy, and Gamma Knife radiosurgery for intractable pain and psychiatric disorders. In all of these cases, we believe the key to success is careful attention to an individual patient’s symptoms, neuroanatomy and neurocircuitry.

The neuromodulation and epilepsy program consists of three divisions, with each one composed of a multi-disciplinary team of clinicians focused on achieving a careful understanding of each patient’s condition and goals:

Movement Disorders

The movement disorders team evaluates patients in a comprehensive “fast track” clinic where those considering deep brain stimulation for diseases such as Parkinson’s, Essential Tremor and Dystonia can learn about their disease and explore their treatment options.  Decisions are made in a team-based manner, and clinicians from neurosurgery and neurology often work together even in the operating room to ensure optimal targeting for maximal patient benefit.


Rhode Island Hospital is a Level 4 epilepsy center, offering the full array of the most advanced surgical options for patients with epilepsy.  These include high-density intracranial recordings for seizure focus identification, MRI-guided laser ablation of a seizure focus, and brain stimulation to reduce seizures.

Intractable Psychiatric Disorders

Brown University is a world-leader in the application of surgical techniques for severe, intractable psychiatric disorders such as debilitating and otherwise untreatable obsessive compulsive disorder.  A team of psychiatrists, neuropsychologists, neurologists, neurosurgeons and ethicists carefully consider patients who have failed all other treatments, to assess whether surgery might offer symptom relief and an improved quality of life.

Our Team


Wael F. Asaad, MD, PhD

Sidney A. Fox and Dorothea Doctors Fox Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery and Neuroscience
Director, Functional Neurosurgery and Epilepsy Program
Director, Cognitive Neuro-physiology and Neuro-modulation Laboratory

Movement Disorders Fast Track Clinic Team

Umer Akbar, MD – Movement Disorders Specialist, Neurology
Joseph Friedman, MD – Director, Movement Disorders Center, Neurology

Wael F. Asaad, MD, PhD – Director of Functional Neurosurgery and Neuromodulation

Jennifer David, PhD

Physical therapists

Speech therapists

Swallow function specialist

Functional Neurosurgery & Neuromodulation Research Team
Shane Lee, PhD, Post-Doctoral Fellow – Neuroscience & Neurosurgery
Peter Lauro, MD / PhD Student – Neuroscience & Alpert Medical School
Adewole Oyalowo, PhD Student – Neuroscience
Erin Schaeffer, Research Assistant – Neuroscience & Neurosurgery
Daniel Amaya, MS student – Biotechnology

Epilepsy Team
Neurosurgery Department Team
Steven A. Toms, MD
Albert E. Telfeian, MD, PhD

Multidisciplinary Team
Andrew Blum, MD, PhD – Director of Epilepsy Center, Neurology
Gina Deck, MD – Epileptologist, Neurology
Julie Roth, MD – Epileptologist, Neurology

Jerrold Boxerman, MD – Neuroradiologist, Radiology

Geoffrey Tremont, PhD

Psychiatric Neurosurgery Committee
Wael F. Asaad, MD, PhD – Director of Neuromodulation and Epilepsy Surgery

Psychiatrists from Butler Hospital and Brown University
Steven Rasmussen, MD – Chair of Psychiatry, Psychiatry
Benjamin Greenberg, MD, PhD – Psychiatrist, Psychiatry

Nicole McLaughlin, PhD – Neuropsychologist, Psychiatry

Kenneth Rickler, MD – Neurologist, Neurology / Butler Hospital

Conditions We Treat

Movement Disorders

  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Essential Tremor
  • Dystonia


Psychiatric Disorders

  • Intractable OCD
  • Intractable Depression (experimental)
  • Intractable Tourette’s Disease (experimental)
  • Alzheimer’s Disease (experimental)


Neurosurgery Department

The Cognitive Neurophysiology & Neuromodulation Laboratory

Other Labs


Gamma Knife Radiosurgery System

MRI Guided Laser Ablation

Recent News

Expert Conversations: Responsive Neurostimulation for Epilepsy

“Functional neurosurgery aims to restore quality of life to patients with a wide variety of chronic, debilitating neurological disorders.”

– Wael F. Asaad, MD, PhD

Rhode Island Hospital
Ambulatory Patient Center
(APC) 6
593 Eddy Street
Providence, RI 02903