Neuromodulation and  Epilepsy Surgery


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

Our approach to each patient is highly customized to provide the safest, most effective, and best-tolerated procedures available, using advanced surgical techniques and implantable devices, as appropriate.  These include MRI-guided laser ablation, gamma knife, traditional craniotomy with intra-operative imaging and real-time neuro-navigation, and brain stimulation with multi-source and responsive (closed-loop) devices.

These techniques and tools are applied to a variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders to eliminate or minimize disease expression, and to maximize quality of life.

Brown University has a long history as a pioneer in the field of neuromodulation. Patients have the option to participate in ongoing clinical research, to further advance our knowledge, techniques and tools for the benefit of future patients and their families.

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 Associate 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 Asaad, MD, PhD, Director of Functional Neurosurgery and Neuromodulation

Jennifer Davis, 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
Erin Schaeffer, Research Assistant, Neuroscience & Neurosurgery
Daniel Amaya, MS student, Biotechnology

Epilepsy Team
Neurosurgery Department Team
Wael Asaad, MD, PhD
Steven Toms, MD
Albert 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

Psychiatric Neurosurgery Committee
Wael 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
Geoffrey Tremont, PhD

Kenneth Rickler, MD, Neurologist, Neurology / Butler Hospital

Conditions We Treat

Movement Disorders

  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Essential Tremor
  • Dystonia


  • Intractable Focal Epilepsy
  • Intractable Multi-Focal Epilepsy

Neuropsychiatric 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

Can Brain Surgery Help Slow the Progression of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Expert Conversations: Responsive Neurostimulation for Epilepsy

Rapid motor fluctuations reveal short-timescale neurophysiological biomarkers of Parkinson’s disease

“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