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  • Ali R. Rezai

    2013, San Francisco

    Ali Rezai, MD, is a functional neurosurgeon whose career has been dedicated to advancing the care of people with neurological and mental health conditions. Dr. Rezai is the Associate Dean of Neuroscience at West Virginia University (WVU) and executive chair and director of the WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (RNI). Since its inception in 2018, Rezai has developed the RNI into a world-class patient care, education, and research institute with 230 faculty in five departments, and over 1,500 professionals providing neurological and mental health care for 250,000 patients annually.

    After graduating from UCLA, Dr. Rezai earned his medical degree with honors from the University of Southern California, underwent neurosurgical training at New York University, and completed functional neurosurgery fellowship training at the University of Toronto. He began his academic career at New York University as the director of the Center for Functional Neurosurgery. He was then recruited to the Cleveland Clinic to direct the functional neurosurgery program, was appointed the Seidman Chair, and founded the Center for Neurological Restoration. Prior to the RNI, he was the Ross Chair in Neuromodulation and inaugural director of the Ohio State University Neurological Institute.

    A board-certified neurosurgeon, Dr. Rezai’s clinical practice focuses on neuromodulation for movement disorders, chronic pain, nervous system injury, and neurobehavioral disorders. He has been named one of the best doctors in America in Castle Connolly’s Guide to America’s Top Doctors for 21 consecutive years from 2001-2022. His research focuses on rapid cycle innovation and application of new neuromodulation technologies in Parkinson’s, brain/spinal cord injury, addiction, Alzheimer’s, and other conditions. Holder of 60 US patents, Dr. Rezai facilitates partnerships with academic, government, and industry leaders collaborating on development and deployment of neuromodulation technology for patient care.

    Author of over 200 scientific publications with a h-index of 89, including Nature, JAMA Neurology, Lancet Neurology, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Rezai has served on the editorial board of multiple scientific journals. He is the co-editor of the three-volume textbook Neuromodulation as well as Surgery for Psychiatric Disorders. Dr. Rezai has been the principal/co-investigator on seven NIH grants. He has trained over 50 neurosurgical fellows and delivered more than 500 lectures internationally. He is a sought-after speaker at medical conferences as well as popular tech venues including Collision, SXSW, TED, and Web Summit. Dr. Rezai was invited to present his research to the President of the United States, as well as to members of the US Senate and House of Representatives on Capitol Hill and four state governors.

    Dr. Rezai is the past president of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS), the North American Neuromodulation Society (NANS), and the American Society of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery (ASSFN). Dr. Rezai has received numerous awards including being named the Cleveland Clinic and Ohio State University innovator of the year and received the NANS Lifetime Achievement Award. 

    Dr. Rezai’s neuromodulation research is frequently featured in a range of prominent media including The Washington Post, BBC, CBS, CNN, PBS, Good Morning America, Harper’s, NBC Nightly News, Today, Discovery Channel, Scientific American, Financial Times, TechCrunch, MIT Technology Review, among others. 

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