UPMC Physician Resources

Robert M. Friedlander, MD

Robert M. Friedlander, MD

On June 1, 2010, Robert Friedlander, MD, MA, became the fourth chair in the department’s history. Prior to joining the department, Dr. Friedlander was professor of neurosurgery at Harvard Medical School and vice-chairman of neurosurgery and associate director of cerebrovascular surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

As a sign of his prominence as a clinician and scientist, Dr. Friedlander is one of a very select group of authors to have been invited by the New England Journal of Medicine to write both a basic science review (mechanisms of neuronal cell death), as well as a clinical review (management of AVMs). Clinically, Dr. Friedlander focuses on the operative management of complex cerebrovascular disorders and brain tumors.

Dr. Friedlander’s major research interests lie in the study of the mechanistic pathways of the caspase apoptosis gene family. As co-director of Brigham and Women’s Neuroscience Research Center, his work includes the evaluation of treatment strategies for neurodegenerative diseases (Huntington’s and ALS), stroke, brain trauma, and spinal cord injury through the modulation of the caspase-family apoptotic pathways.

Dr. Friedlander’s research has received significant media attention including major work published in Nature, Science, and Nature Medicine.

His work has also been recognized through many academic awards, including the Neurosurgery Resident Award from the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, the Bayer Cerebrovascular Award from the Joint Section of Cerebrovascular Surgery, the International Charcot Prize for Motor Neuron Diseases, and the Award from the Academy of Neurological Surgeons. In 2006, he was elected as a member of the prestigious American Society for Clinical Investigation. Dr. Friedlander is only one of two neurosurgeons elected as a member of the American Association of Physicians.

Specialized Areas of Interest

Aneurysms, vascular malformations, brain tumors, carotid disease, cerebrovascular disease, Chiari malformation, spinal cord tumors. Research focuses on mechanisms of apoptosis, Huntington’s disease, ALS, and stroke.

Board Certifications

American Board of Neurological Surgeons

Hospital Privileges

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
UPMC Mercy
UPMC Passavant
UPMC Presbyterian
UPMC Shadyside

Professional Organization Membership

American Academy of Neurological Surgeons
American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Association of Neurological Surgeons 
American Association of Physicians 
American Society for Clinical Investigation 
Brain Aneurysm Foundation, Medical Advisory Board
Congress of Neurological Surgeons 
Joint Section of Cerebrovascular Surgery 
Sociedad Venezolana de Neurocirugia 
Society for Neurological Surgeons 
Society for Neuroscience

Education & Training

BA, Brandeis University, 1987
MA, Biochemistry, Brandeis University, 1987
MD, Harvard Medical School, 1991

Honors & Awards

  • Best Doctors in America, 2012-2015
  • America’s Top Surgeons, 2013
  • H. Richard Winn Prize for Neurosurgical Research
  • Castle Connolly Top Doctor in the Field of Neurological Surgery, 2013
  • Honored Guest, US Ambassador, Belgrade, Serbia, 2013
  • Honored Guest, HRH Crown Prince Alexander and HRH Crown Princess Katherine, Belgrade, Serbia, 2014

Selected Publications

Isolation of functionally active and highly purified neuronal mitochondria from Human Cortex. Khattar NK, Yablonska S, Baranov SV, Baranova OV, Kretz ES, Larkin TM, Carlisle DL, Richardson RM, Friedlander RM. J Neurosci Methods [Epub ahead of print], 2016.

Kozai TD, Du Z, Gugel ZV, Smith MA, Chase SM, Bodily LM, Caparosa EM, Friedlander RM, Cui XT. Comprehensive chronic laminar single-unit, multi-unit, and local field potential recording performance with planar single shank electrode arrays. J Neurosci Methods 242:15-40, 2015.

Kagan VE, Tyurina YY, Tyurin VA, Mohammadyani D, Angeli JP, Baranov SV, Klein-Seetharaman J, Friedlander RM, Mallampalli RK, Conrad M. Bayir H.  Cardiolipin signaling mechanisms: collapse of asymmetry and oxidation. Antioxid Redox Signal 22(18):1667-80, 2015.

Sirianni AC, Jiang J, Zeng J, Mao LL, Zhou S, Sugarbaker P, Zhang X, Li W, Friedlander RM, Wang X. N-acetyl-L-tryptophan, but not N-acetyl-D-tryptophan, Rescues neuronal CellDeath in Models of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. J Neurochem [Epub ahead of print], 2015

Faraji AH, Abhinav K, Jarbo K, Yeh FC, Shin SS, Pathak S, Hirsch BE, Schneider W, Fernandez-Miranda JC, Friedlander RM. Longitudinal evaluation of corticospinal tract in patients with resected brainstem cavernous malformations using high-definition fiber tractography and diffusion connectometry analysis: preliminary experience. J Neurosurg 2015 Jun 5:1-12, 2015.

Shin SS, Murdoch G, Hamilton RL, Faraji AH, Kano H, Zwagerman NT, Gardner PA, Lunsford LD, Friedlander RM. Pathological response of cavernous malformations following radiosurgery. J Neurosurg 19:1-7, 2015.

Agarwal N, Shah K, Stone JG, Ricks CB, Friedlander RM.  Educational Resources “Over the Head” of Neurosurgical Patients:  The Economic Impact of Inadequate Health Literacy. World Neurosurg S1878-8750(15), 2015.

Integrative Mouse and Human Studies Implicate ANGPT1 and ZBTB7C as Susceptibility Genes to Ischemic Injury.  Du R, Zhou J, Lorenzano S, Liu W, Charoenvimolphan N, Qian B, Xu J, Wang J, Zhang X, Wang X, Berndt A, Devan WJ, Valant VJ, Wang J, Furie KL, Rosand J, Rost N, Friedlander RM, Paigen B, Weiss ST. Stroke 46(12):3514-22, 2015.

Bulara KR, Gunel M, Amin-Hanjani S, Chen PR, Connolly ES, Friedlander RM. Results of a national cerebrovascular neurosurgery survey on the management of cerebral vasospasm/delayed cerebral ischemia. J Neurointerv Surg [Epub ahead of print], 2014.

Raji CA, Eyre H. Wei SH, Bredesen DE, Moylan S, Law M, SmallG, Thompson PM, Friedlander RM, Silverman DH, Baune BT, Hoang TA, Salamon T, Toga AW, Vernooij MW. Hot Topics in Research: Preventive Neuroradiology in Brain Aging and Cognitive Decline.  AJNR Am J Neuroradiol [Epub ahead of print], 2014.

A complete list of Dr. Friedlander's publications can be reviewed through the National Library of Medicine's publication database.

Research Activities

Dr. Friedlander is intricately involved in basic and translational neuroscience research initiatives. He divides his time between clinical work in cerebrovascular neurosurgery, basic scientific pursuit in the study of mechanisms of neuronal cell death, and in a leadership role in several national neurosurgical organizations.

Dr. Friedlander demonstrated that the commonly used antibiotic minocycline is protective in animal models of HD, ALS, brain trauma, and spinal cord injury. Based on the data, as well as confirmatory data from other laboratories, clinical trials of minocycline in humans have either been performed or are currently underway for HD, ALS, stroke, and spinal cord injury.

CME Courses

Neurosurgery News Summer 2017

Neurosurgery News Summer 2017

Publish Date: 5/31/2017
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Part 3: Obstetrical Neurology 2016

Part 3: Obstetrical Neurology 2016

Publish Date: 10/10/2017
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