Professor of Neurological Surgery
Professor of Neuroscience
Vice Chair of Clinical Research, Department of Neurological Surgery
Director, Functional Neurosurgery Program
Director, Center for Neuromodulation
The Julius F. Stone Chair in Cancer Research
Rezai Elected President of ASSFN
What do you like best about practicing medicine at OSU Medical Center?
I am fortunate to be part of a unique team of multidisciplinary specialists with a synergy in vision, great chemistry, enthusiasm and a “can-do” approach. This has facilitated the growth and success of our programs, and has developed our clinical trials and research efforts.
What excites you most about the future of medicine?
I am excited about the potential for neuromodulation therapies to treat those afflicted with Parkinson’s, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, addictions, stroke and traumatic brain injury.
How do you think P4 Medicine (medicine that is more predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory) will change your specialty over the next 10 years?
Development of biomarkers, advanced imaging and genetic screening will improve our ability to detect disorders like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and many other neurological and behavioral disorders. It also will facilitate their management, help us select the most appropriate patient for therapies, and enable us to monitor the progress of preventive and treatment efforts.
Name one of your medical career mentors and tell us what you learned from him/her.
Some of my greatest mentors have been my patients because of what I have learned from them by just listening carefully and observing. Despite adversities, these patients are courageous and volunteer for clinical trials that may not benefit them, but may help others and us in future work.
What advice do you have for young physicians early in their careers?
The new physician must take extra care and time to find the person behind the patient and treat him or her with empathy and dignity. To be successful, a young physician will have to have a solid work ethic, uncompromising dedication and an ability to pay the utmost attention to detail.
Who in history would you most like to meet and why?
I always hearken back to those whose unrelenting perseverance in pioneering medical discoveries changed the landscape of medicine and saved the lives of millions—those medical discoverers who prevented debilitating disabilities and human suffering, like Fleming, with his discovery of penicillin, and Salk, with the polio vaccine. These are the scientists who raised the bar and standards for all physicians.
What are your hobbies or volunteer activities?
My work gives me a great deal of satisfaction and pleasure, and my research and delving into the understanding of the human brain and behavior are stimulating and fun. I also enjoy music, reading, history and exercise. Being at OSU has sparked a new interest for me in college athletics and competition, and I have become a big college football fan.
Star Colleague: That would be Nino Chiocca, MD, PhD, professor and chair of Neurological Surgery, and professor of Neuroscience. I admire Dr. Chiocca for his leadership style marked by strong support and dedication to faculty and the broader OSU community. He is a visionary and inspirational mentor as well as great motivator who leads by example. Dr. Chiocca provides a supportive atmosphere for intellectual freedom and competing ideas that fosters clinical and scientific growth and advancement of students, residents, and junior and senior faculty.
Undergraduate Degree: University of California, Biology
Medical Degree: University of Southern California
Internship: Department of Surgery, New York University Medical Center
Residency: Department of Neurosurgery, New York University Medical Center, Chief Resident
Fellowships: Research Fellow, Magnetoencephalography, NYU Center for Neuromagnetism, Department of Neurosciences and Physiology, New York University School of Medicine
Clinical Fellow, Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery, University of Toronto
Clinical Fellow, Functional Neurosurgery, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm (Sweden)
National Committees or Board Positions:
• NDSB review committee, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health
• Veterans Administration National Merit Review Section
• Reviewer: Brain Stimulation, Journal of Neural Engineering, Surgical Neurology, Brain, Movement Disorders, Clinical Neurophysiology, Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery, Pain
• Editor-in-Chief: 2004 – 2007 Congress of Neurological Surgeons web page: http://www.neurosurgeon.org.
• Editorial Board: Neurological Research Journal, Neurosurgery Journal
Research Interests: Novel clinical application of neuromodulation for treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders; autonomic nervous system neuromodulation; neurostimulation technology development; neural circuitry of movement disorders, chronic pain, neurobehavioral and cognitive function; mechanisms of neurostimulation; functional brain imaging using functional MRI (fMRI) and magnetoencephalography (MEG); image-guided neurosurgical applications.