Center for Neuromodulation, Ross Center for Brain Health and Performance

RezaiAliDirector, Neurological Institute
Associate Dean, Neuroscience

Stanley D. and Joan H. Ross Chair in Neuromodulation
Professor of Neurosurgery and Neuroscience

College of Medicine
Department of Neuroscience
Center for Neuromodulation
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

480 Medical Center Drive
Davis S2044
Columbus, OH 43210
Clinic: 614-255-0550
Phone: 614-366-2420
Fax: 614-366-8779

Background: Ali Rezai, MD, is director of The Ohio State University Neurological Institute. A board certified neurosurgeon, he has been involved in pioneering the use of brain pacemakers for treating Parkinson’s disease, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and traumatic brain injury. His current research focuses on developing neuromodulation therapies to treat migraine headaches, asthma, addictions, Alzheimer’s, obesity, post-traumatic stress disorders and autism. He first joined the Neurosurgical faculty at New York University Medical Center, becoming the director of the Center for Functional and Restorative Neurosurgery until January 2000, when he joined the faculty at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Dr. Rezai was the director of the Center for Neurological Restoration, as well as the Jane and Lee Seidman Chair in Functional Neurosurgery at the Cleveland Clinic until August 2009, when he joined the faculty at The Ohio State University.

He has published more than 175 peer-reviewed articles, including publications in Nature and Lancet Neurology  and more than 40 book chapters. He serves on the editorial board of five scientific journals including Neurosurgery. He has edited a book on surgery for psychiatric disorders and the two volume textbook, Neuromodulation. In addition, Dr. Rezai has been the PI and co-investigator on eight NIH grants and was the PI of the $160M Neurotechnology Innovations Translator (NIT) Center.

Dr. Rezai is the Past President of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS), the largest neurosurgical societies in the world, as well as the Past President of the North American Neuromodulation Society (NANS), and the American Society of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery (ASSFN).

Dr. Rezai’s research focuses on neural circuitry, neurological sensors and monitors, and development of surgical tools new therapeutic strategies for neurological disorders. He has been involved in developing brain pacemaker innovations for treating Parkinson’s disease, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, Alzheimer’s, traumatic brain injury, and obesity. In addition, he is developing sensors and monitors for autism, ADHD, and Alzheimer’s, as well as the use of micro implants to treat migraine headaches, asthma, chronic pain and anxiety disorders.

He received the Bottrell Neurosurgical Award, Congress of Neurological Surgeons Clinical Fellowship award, and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons William Sweet Investigator Award. He has also received several innovation awards. Dr. Rezai has trained more than 40 fellows in functional neurosurgery since 1998. In 2007, Dr. Rezai presented his work to the President of the United States as well as to members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives on Capitol Hill.

Dr. Rezai holds 50 issued U.S. patents for medical devices and technologies. His work has been featured in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, U.S.News & World Report, USA Today, MIT Technology Review, Newsweek, Time, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Reader’s Digest, The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Globe and Mail, The Plain Dealer and the Columbus Dispatch. He has appeared on numerous local and national radio and television broadcasts including CBS’ 60 Minutes, Prime Time, The Charlie Rose Show, The Diane Rehm Show, CNN, NPR, PBS, BBC, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS Nightly News and The Discovery Channel.

Research Interests:

  • Clinical application of neuromodulation for treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders
  • Brain pacemakers for treatment of traumatic brain injury, addictions, Alzheimer’s, obesity and autism Parkinson's disease, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Sensors and monitors for autism, ADHD and Alzheimer's, as well as the use of micro implants to treat migraine headaches, asthma, chronic pain and anxiety disorders
  • Autonomic nervous system neuromodulation therapies for cluster and migraine headaches and asthma
  • Neurostimulation technology development
  • Neural circuitry of movement disorders, chronic pain, neurobehavioral and cognitive function
  • Mechanisms of neurostimulation
  • Functional brain imaging using function MRI (fMRI) and magnetoencephalography (MEG)
  • Image-guided neurosurgical applications
  • Neural circuitry
  • Neurological sensors and monitors
  • Development of surgical tools new therapeutic strategies for neurological disorders
  • Mechanisms of neurostimulation
  • Delineation of abnormal brain circuitry underlying disease processes
  • Developing neuromodulation devices and novel therapeutic strategies for treatment of neurological disorders

Current Research: Ohio State’s Center for Neuromodulation is led by Ali Rezai, MD. The neuromodulation team comprises more than 40 specialists. Dr. Rezai and his team are international leaders at the forefront of scientific discoveries and innovations in neuromodulation, such as development of MRI-compatible neurostimulators, an MRI-guided brain pacemaker implantation technique, closed loop sensing and monitoring and an external handheld neuromodulation device to treat headaches.

The team is among the first in the world to conduct clinical trials of neuromodulation treatments for psychiatric disorders, traumatic brain injury, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, addictions, autism, quadriplegia, chronic pain, back pain, headaches, heart failure and other conditions.

Active Funding:
NIH U10: Network of Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trial Center at the Ohio State University. Co-Principal Investigator, 9/2011-8/2018

CNS: Neurosurgical Skull Base Simulators. Principal Investigator, 2011

DOE: Development of Advanced Surgical Robotics. Site Principal Investigator, 2009-2011

NIH R01: Functional MRI Evaluations of DBS in Parkinson’s Disease. Co- Investigator, (R01 NS052566-01 A1), 5/1/2006 – 4/30/2010

NIH R01: Evaluation of MRI Safety for Deep Brain Stimulation. Principal Investigator (R01 NS044575-01), 7/02-7/06

NIH R01: Controlled Trial of DBS for OCD. Co-Investigator, Site PI (R01 MH076179-01A1), 9/25/2006 – 8/31/2010

NIH R01: Clinical Investigation of DBS for Advanced Parkinson’s Disease. Co-Investigator (R01 NS37959), 7/04-11/06

NIH R21: Optical Coherence Domain Reflectometry in Brain Probes. Principal Investigator (R21 EB02718-01), 09/03-08/05

NIH R21: Cerebellar stimulation for motor recovery from stroke. Senior Advisor (RHD 056515A), 5/2007-5/2009

NIH R01: Selective Electrical Stimulation of Thalamic Neurons. Co-Investigator (R01 NS40894-01), 9/00-8/05

NCMRR HD: Multidisciplinary Assessment of Severe Brain Injury. Site Principal Investigator (NCMMR HD-00-0016), 9/01-7/04

State of Ohio Biomedical Research Technology Transfer (BRTT): Brain Neuromodulation Center. Principal Investigator, 10/29/03-4/30/2008

State of Ohio Wright-Mega Center, Global Cardiovascular Innovation Center (GCIC). Co-Investigator, Cardiovascular Neuromodulation Program, 10/07-10/10

Education: University of Southern California School of Medicine

Residency: Department of Neurosurgery, New York University Medical Center


  • Clinical Fellow, Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery, Division of Neurosurgery, University of Toronto
  • Clinical Observer, Functional Neurosurgery, Department of Neurosurgery, The Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Research Fellow, Magnetoencephalography, NYU Center for Neuromagnetism, Department of Neurosciences & Physiology, New York University School of Medicine


  • Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award, 2016
  • South by Southwest Medicine and Technology Conference feature panel, Austin, Texas March 2016
  • Columbus Monthly’s Top Doctors, 2016
  • Annual BCI Research 1st Place Award, 2016
  • Castle Connolly America’s Top Doctors, 2001-2016
  • Innovator of the Year Award, The Ohio State University, 2014
  • Columbus Business First Innovator of the Year Award/Health Care Heroes, 2011
  • “Reawakening the Dormant Mind (#2)” – 100 Top Science Stories of 2007. Discover Science, Technology, and the Future 2008
  • Heroes of Neuromodulation – Patient Advocacy Hero, Medtronic, 2007
  • Innovator of the Year Award, Cleveland Clinic, 2007
  • NorTech Annual Innovator Award, 2005
  • Best Article of the Year Award, CNS Spectrums, 2004
  • Best Paper of the Year, American Psychiatric Association, 2004
  • American Association of Neurological Surgeons William H. Sweet Investigator Award, 1998
  • Congress of Neurological Surgeons Clinical Fellowship Award, 1997
  • Bottrell Fellowship Award in Neurosurgery, 1997
  • Top Award, The Dewar Society, 1995


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