Faculty Profile

Dr. Emad N. Eskandar, M.D.

Emad N. Eskandar, M.D.

Professor, The Leo M. Davidoff Department of Neurological Surgery

Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Professor, Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience

Chair, The Leo M. Davidoff Department of Neurological Surgery

Jeffrey P. Bergstein Chair in Neurological Surgery, The Leo M. Davidoff Department of Neurological Surgery

Professional Interests

Clinical Interests: Epilepsy, Trigeminal neuralgia, Parkinson Disease, and Brain tumors.
Dr. Eskandar specializes in the surgical diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy in both children and adults.   He is a world-leader in this field, and has over 15 years of experience in utilizing the most current techniques.  These techniques include keyhole surgery (minimal incision), stereotactic electro-encephalography (SEEG), minimally invasive foramen-ovale electrodes, vagal nerve stimulation, responsive neuro-stimulation (RNS or Neuropace), and laser ablation of epileptic areas.   

In addition, Dr. Eskandar is an expert in the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia, an extremely painful condition affecting the face.   He has vast experience in all the major therapeutic treatment modalities including micro-vascular decompression, percutaneous rhizotomy, and radiosurgery.  He can provide comprehensive medical and surgical care for this debilitating condition.

Dr. Eskandar has vast experience in using deep brain stimulation (DBS) for the treatment of Parkinson Disease, Dystonia, Essential Tremor, and severe Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.   He employs different methods for surgery including awake-surgery with micro-electrode recordings, frameless surgery, and surgery under anesthesia using real-time imaging.

Finally, Dr. Eskandar treats all types of brain tumors including meningiomas, gliomas, low grade tumors, and metastatic brain tumors.  He specializes in the use of advanced brain-imaging and brain-mapping techniques to minimize the risk of injury and to maximize tumor resection.  Dr. Eskandar is a pioneer in brain mapping and has published many seminal papers on this topic.

Research Interests:
Dr. Eskandar also heads an active basic research laboratory investigating the Basal Ganglia, a group of centrally located nuclei in the brain.   The Basal Ganglia play a central role in theories of learning, motivation, depression and drug addiction.  His group uses microelectrode and electrochemical recordings to evaluate the role of the basal ganglia in both primates and humans performing complex behavioral tasks.  The group also uses electrical stimulation to directly modulate neuronal activity during complex behaviors. This is a unique approach in that ideas from the laboratory can quickly be tested in the clinical arena and vice-versa.  In addition, his group is actively working to develop the next generation of brain stimulators that will be MRI safe, use more intelligent technological interfaces and employ the latest innovations in miniaturization and battery technology. 

The Eskandar lab has made numerous important scientific contributions.  For example, one recent study, published in Nature, found that a part of the brain called the Cingulate Cortex plays an important role in adapting to varying degrees of cognitive difficulty.  Another recent paper in Nature Neuroscience, found that delivering micro-stimulation in one part of the basal ganglia, the caudate nucleus, significantly increases the rate of learning beyond baseline rates.  These findings suggest that the caudate plays a critical role in learning, and that learning can be enhanced to promote recovery after traumatic brain injury or stroke. 

Dr. Eskandar received a Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry from the University of Nebraska. He earned a medical degree at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and a master of business administration degree at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a neurological surgery resident at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA, and a neurophysiology fellow at Harvard Medical School. He previously, held the Charles Anthony Pappas endowed chair of Neurosurgery at Harvard Medical School where he also served as Professor of Neurosciences. 

Dr. Eskandar is board-certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery. He is a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the American Academy of Neurological Surgeons. He is the current President of the American Society for Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery.

Selected Publications

Selected Publications from over 200

  • Martinez-Rubio C, Paulk AC, McDonald EJ, Widge AS, Eskandar EN. Multimodal Encoding of Novelty, Reward, and Learning in the Primate Nucleus Basalis of Meynert. J Neurosci. 2018 Feb 21;38(8):1942-1958.
  • Herrington TM, Briscoe J, Eskandar E. Structural and Functional Network Dysfunction in Parkinson Disease. Radiology. 2017 Dec;285(3):725-727.
  • Asaad WF, Lauro PM, Perge JA, Eskandar EN. Prefrontal Neurons Encode a Solution to the Credit-Assignment Problem. J Neurosci. 2017 Jul 19;37(29):6995-7007.
  • Herrington TM, Cheng JJ, Eskandar EN. Mechanisms of deep brain stimulation. J Neurophysiol. 2016 Jan 1;115(1):19-38.
  • Katnani HA, Patel SR, Kwon CS, Abdel-Aziz S, Gale JT, Eskandar EN. Temporally Coordinated Deep Brain Stimulation in the Dorsal and Ventral Striatum Synergistically Enhances Associative Learning. Sci Rep. 2016 Jan 4;6:18806.
  • Ishizawa Y, Ahmed OJ, Patel SR, Gale JT, Sierra-Mercado D, Brown EN, Eskandar  EN. Dynamics of Propofol-Induced Loss of Consciousness Across Primate Neocortex.  J Neurosci. 2016 Jul 20;36(29):7718-26.
  • Patel SR, Sheth SA, Martinez-Rubio C, Mian MK, Asaad WF, Gerrard JL, Kwon CS,  Dougherty DD, Flaherty AW, Greenberg BD, Gale JT, Williams ZM, Eskandar EN. Studying task-related activity of individual neurons in the human brain. Nature Protocols. 2013 Apr 18;8(5):949-957.
  • Sheth S, Mian M, Patel S, Asaad W, Williams Z, Dougherty D, Bush G, Eskandar E.  Human Dorsal Anterior Cingulate Neurons Mediate Behavioral Adaptation.  Nature. 2012 Aug 9;488(7410):218-21.
  • Patel S, Sheth S, Mian M, Gale J, Dougherty D, Greenberg B, Eskandar E.  Single neuronal responses during a financial decision-making task in the human nucleus accumbens.  J Neuroscience, 2012 May 23;32(21):7311-5. PubMed PMID:22623676.
  • Mian MK, Sheth SA, Patel SR, Spiliopoulos K, Eskandar EN, Williams ZM. Encoding of Rules by Neurons in the Human Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex. Cereb Cortex. 2012 Nov 21. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 23172774.
  • Sheth SA, Abuelem T, Gale JT, Eskandar EN. Basal ganglia neurons dynamically facilitate exploration during associative learning. J Neurosci. 2011. Mar 30;31(13):4878-85.
  • Asaad W, Eskandar, E.  Encoding of both Positive and Negative Reward Prediction Errors by Neurons of the Primate Lateral Prefrontal Cortex and Caudate Nucleus.   J. Neurosci. 2011 Dec 7;31(49):17772-87.
  • Truccolo W, Donoghue JA, Hochberg LR, Eskandar EN, Madsen JR, Anderson WS, Brown EN, Halgren E, Cash SS. Single-neuron dynamics in human focal epilepsy. Nat Neurosci. 2011 May;14(5):635-41.
  • Kramer MA, Eden UT, Kolaczyk ED, Zepeda R, Eskandar EN, Cash SS. Coalescence and fragmentation of cortical networks during focal seizures. J Neurosci. 2010 Jul 28;30(30):10076-85.
  • Williams ZM, Eskandar EN. Selective enhancement of associative learning by microstimulation of the anterior caudate.  Nature Neurosci. 2006. 9(4):562-8.

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Research Information

In the News

Experimental Brain Implants Studied as Opioid Deaths Rise

Emad Eskandar, M.D., comments on the risks and regulations that have limited U.S. clinical trials on deep brain stimulation for addiction. Dr. Eskandar is professor and chair of The Leo M. Davidoff Department of Neurological Surgery and the Jeffrey P. Bergstein Chair in Neurological Surgery at Einstein and Montefiore.

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