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Ali Rezai, MD

“I am enthusiastic to be coming to an organization with a big vision, an audacious goal, and a passion to make rapid and impactful progress for patients in West Virginia and throughout America and internationally.”

Dr. Ali Rezai is a renowned neurosurgeon whose pioneering research and clinical practice has advanced brain health for patients around the country and internationally. Dr. Rezai was recruited to WVU to build and lead the new Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (RNI), a world class patient care and research hub in the heart of Appalachia, to tackle public health challenges.

Dr. Rezai earned his medical degree with honors from the University of Southern California and underwent neurosurgical training at New York University.  He completed his subspecialty training in functional neurosurgery at the University of Toronto. He then joined the neurosurgical faculty at New York University Medical Center, becoming the director of the Center for Functional and Restorative Neurosurgery until 2000, when he joined the Cleveland Clinic. 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. In 2009, Dr. Rezai joined the faculty at the Ohio State University (OSU) in Columbus, Ohio.  At OSU, Dr. Rezai was the Associate Dean of Neuroscience and the Director of the Neurological Institute until 2017, when he joined West Virginia University as the Executive Chair of the new Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (RNI).  Since taking the helm in 2017, the RNI has grown to five departments with 180 faculty and over 1,100 team members, providing an integrated neurological and mental health care model across WV and surrounding states. The Institute’s 27 telestroke and 21 telepsychiatry partners provide care for remote areas across Appalachia.

A board-certified neurosurgeon, Dr. Rezai’s clinical areas of expertise are functional neurosurgery and the neurosurgical management of patients with Parkinson’s disease, tremor, chronic pain, brain injuries, addiction and Alzheimer’s disease.  Dr. Rezai was named one of the best doctors in America in Castle Connolly’s Guide to America’s Top Doctors for 20 consecutive years from 2001-2021.

Dr. Rezai has over 200 scientific publications with an H-index of 85 (Google Scholar) including publications in Nature, Lancet Neurology, JAMA Neurology, and PNAS.  He has served on the editorial board of multiple scientific journals, edited a book on surgery for psychiatric disorders and the two-volume textbook, Neuromodulation. Dr. Rezai has been the Principal Investigator (PI) and Co-investigator on seven NIH grants. He has trained over 50 neurosurgical fellows and delivered more than 500 lectures.   Dr. Rezai has presented his work 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 Governors.

Dr. Rezai is the past president of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS), the largest neurosurgical society 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 population health and innovations in the use of brain stimulation and focused ultrasound technology for treating Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, chronic pain and addictions.   Dr. Rezai has 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 received multiple innovation honors and received the Cleveland Clinic and Ohio State University innovator of the year awards.  Dr. Rezai holds 60 issued US patents for medical devices and technologies.

Dr. Rezai’s work has been in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, US News and World Report, USA Today, MIT’s Technology Review magazine, Newsweek, Time, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Reader’s Digest, The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Globe and Mail.  He has appeared on numerous local and national radio and television broadcasts including CBS’ 60 Minutes, The Charlie Rose Show, Good Morning America, The Diane Rehm Show, CNN, NPR, PBS, BBC, HBO, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS Nightly News and The Discovery Channel.