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The Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Colorado, continues the tradition of excellence outlined in our Mission Statement.

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Fellowship Program in Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery

Program Faculty:

Aviva Abosch, MD, PhD
Program Director


Movement Disorders



The University of Colorado Fellowship in Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery consists of 12 continuous months of training, during which the fellow will focus on the development of clinical and academic expertise in the surgical treatment of movement disorders and epilepsy. In these 12 months, the fellow will participate in 100 -125 surgical cases of stereotactic surgery for movement disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder, and craniotomies for epilepsy. The majority of these cases will occur at the primary site, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center, with additional DBS cases occurring at the Colorado Children’s Hospital, which has recently launched a new program in Pediatric DBS.
Experience in other areas of functional neurosurgery (pain, radiosurgery, psychosurgery) is available during the fellowship, if desired by the trainee.
The fellow will attend our Multidisciplinary Movement Disorders Surgery Clinic, and participate in preoperative patient evaluation, and postoperative patient management and device programming. In this clinic, the fellow will work with movement disorders neurologists (supervised by Dr. Olga Klepitskaya), with pediatric movement disorders neurologist, Dr. Abigail Collins, as well as neurosurgeons Drs. Abosch and Ojemann. The fellow will also participate in pre- and post-operative patient evaluations in the Epilepsy Surgery Clinic, and will work with epilepsy neurologists (supervised by Dr. Mark Spitz), as well as with neurosurgeons Drs. Abosch, Ojemann, and Winston. He/she will attend all case conferences and journal clubs held by the movement disorders and epilepsy surgery and Center for Neurosciences (listed below), in addition to Neurosurgery Grand Rounds, and hematically relevant Neurology Grand Rounds.


The University of Colorado fellowship in functional neurosurgery is designed to train board-eligible neurosurgeons to establish independently a successful program in this subspecialty, either in academic or nonacademic settings. The emphasis is on stereotactic surgery for movement disorders and surgery for epilepsy.
The fellow will achieve competence in the following specific areas:
1.) Use of MRI for image-based target localization for surgery of the thalamus, subthalamic nucleus, globus pallidus internus, and ventral capsule/ventral striatum, as well as novel targets and indications.
2.) Use of microelectrode recording techniques for physiological localization in the thalamus, subthalamic nucleus, globus pallidus internus, ventral capsule/ventral striatum, and PPN.
3.) Intraoperative testing of DBS electrodes prior to internalization of the electrodes
4.) Placement of DBS hardware and management of hardware-related complications
5.) Indications for surgery, and preoperative neurologic evaluation, in patients with Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, tremor, as well as intractable headache disorders (migraine or cluster headache).
6.) Programming of DBS devices
7.) Pathophysiology of the basal ganglia in movement disorders, and theoretical basis for lesioning and chronic electrical stimulation in movement disorders.
8.) Become familiar with the major publications in the field of movement disorders surgery
9.) The fellow will understand basic elements of clinical trials design. Additional learning objectives in epilepsy, pain, and radiosurgery may be added as desired.

Our goal is to ensure that each fellow has the necessary skills and resources to launch a successful career in academic neurosurgery. To ensure attainment of this goal, mentorship will be provided to assist the fellow in the following research-related activities:
• Identification and refinement of meaningful and answerable research questions, and review of relevant literature
• Identification of appropriate collaborators
• Study design, including statistical analysis
• IRB approval process for human subjects research
• Data collection and analysis
• Abstract preparation and submission
• Manuscript preparation, submission, and publication

Additionally, fellows will have full access to research resources within the Department of Neurosurgery, including the Departmental Editor, Clinical Trials Coordinator, and Grants and Contracts Coordinator, and will be provided with biostatistical support through the University’s Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI), as needed. Fellows will be provided with a computer workstation in the Department, for research and manuscript preparation and submission.


For more information please contact Aviva Abosch, MD, PhD and  include:1) CV, 2) Fellowship goals, 3) Career goals beyond fellowship training, and 4) 3 letters of recommendation.

Good luck and thank you for your interest in our Fellowship Program in Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery.