Ali Rezai, MD

“I am enthusiastic to be part of 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.”

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 250 physicians and scientists in five departments and more than 1,600 professionals managing 270,000 neurological and mental health care patient visits 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, then followed by 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, Rezai 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 25 consecutive years from 2000-2024. 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 more than 60 U.S. patents, Dr. Rezai facilitates partnerships with academic, government, and industry leaders collaborating on development and deployment of neuromodulation technology for patient care.

Dr. Rezai is the author of more than 200 scientific publications with a h-index of 92, appearing in journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Nature, JAMA Neurology, Lancet Neurology, and PNAS. Rezai has served on the editorial board of multiple scientific journals, and is the co-editor of the three-volume textbook Neuromodulation, as well as Surgery for Psychiatric Disorders book. 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 frequent speaker at medical conferences, as well as popular tech venues including Collision, SXSW, TED and Web Summit. Dr. Rezai has presented his research to the President of the United States, members of the U.S. 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 the Cleveland Clinic and Ohio State University Innovator of the Year, and received the NANS Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Dr. Rezai’s research has been featured by a range of media outlets including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, BBC, CBS, CNN, PBS, Good Morning America, 60 Minutes, Today, and others.