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Yasunori Nagahama, MD

Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery, Director of Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery


Dr. Nagahama is an assistant professor of neurosurgery at Rutgers – Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, New Jersey, who specializes in epilepsy surgery and pediatric neurosurgery. He serves as Director of Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery.

Dr. Nagahama received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania in 2007. He received his medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 2012. During his medical training, he was awarded with a prestigious HHMI-NIH Research Scholars Program (“Cloister Program”) fellowship, sponsored by Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). The fellowship enabled him to spend a dedicated year in the Laboratory of Brain and Cognition at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under the guidance of a world-renowned neuroscientist Dr. Leslie Ungerleider, investigating a higher-order brain function involved in complex processing of visual information.

Dr. Nagahama completed a residency in neurosurgery at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics under the mentorship of Dr. Matthew Howard, a prominent epilepsy surgeon in the lineage of Dr. George Ojemann. During his residency training, he spent elective time in Tokyo, Japan, learning complex glioma surgery with use of intraoperative MRI, language mapping, and additional neurophysiologic monitoring. He subsequently completed a functional neurosurgery fellowship at UCLA Medical Center, with a focus on adult and pediatric epilepsy surgery under the mentorship of renowned epilepsy surgeons Dr. Itzhak Fried and Dr. Aria Fallah. He finally completed a pediatric neurosurgery fellowship at Children’s Hospital Colorado, with a continued focus on pediatric epilepsy surgery.

Dr. Nagahama specializes in epilepsy surgery as well as general pediatric neurosurgery. He utilizes all types of epilepsy surgery techniques, ranging from traditional resection/disconnection  and neuromodulation surgery, such as lesionectomy, anterior temporal lobectomy, corpus callosotomy, functional hemispherotomy, and vagal nerve stimulation, to minimally invasive MRI-guided laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT), to newer neuromodulation techniques, such as responsive neurostimulation (RNS) and deep brain stimulation (DBS). He also utilizes intracranial recording, both craniotomy for electrode placement and stereo-electroencephalography (stereo-EEG), to localize a seizure focus and guide epilepsy surgery. In the multi-disciplinary epilepsy team, he works closely with experts in epileptology, neuroradiology, neuropsychology, and neurorehabilitation, in order to provide the individualized and optimum care for each patient with drug-resistant epilepsy.

In addition, Dr. Nagahama specializes in treatment of pediatric neurosurgical conditions, including pediatric brain tumors, hydrocephalus, Chiari malformations, spinal dysraphism, and craniofacial abnormalities. He also specializes in treatment of adult brain tumors requiring use of intraoperative neurophysiologic monitoring.

Dr. Nagahama has a research focus on epilepsy surgery outcome, in particular optimization of seizure and neuropsychological outcomes for epilepsy surgery. His research also focuses on use of intracranial recording to investigate the mechanisms of epilepsy and the neurocognitive processes unique to humans. He has extensively published peer-reviewed articles in leading neurosurgical journals, particularly in the field of epilepsy surgery.

Currently, Dr. Nagahama sees and treats patients at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) and Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at RWJUH in New Brunswick, NJ, as well as Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and University Hospital in Newark, NJ.

Comprehensive Epilepsy Center of New Jersey at Rutgers Website:

Rutgers Pediatric Neurosurgery Website:

Research Interests:

  • Seizure outcome and safety of epilepsy surgery
  • Neuropsychological outcome of epilepsy surgery
  • Higher-order neurocognitive processes


Publication Highlights:

  • Phillips HW, Maniquis CAB, Chen JS, Duby SL, Nagahama Y, Bergeron D, Ibrahim GM, Weil AG, Fallah A. Midline brain shift after hemispheric surgery: natural history, clinical significance, and association with cerebrospinal fluid diversion. Oper Neurosurg (Hagerstown) 2022. Advance online publication. doi:10.1227/ons.0000000000000134
  • Nagahama Y, Alexander AL, O’Neill BR. Intracranial pressure monitoring during stereoelectroencephalography implantation: technical note. J Neurosurg Pediatr 2022. Advance online publication. doi:10.3171/2021.12.PEDS21490
  • *Nagahama Y, *Zervos T, Murata KK, Holman L, Karsonovich T, Parker JJ, Chen JS, Phillips HW, Fajardo M, Nariai H, Hussain S, Porter B, Grant GA, Ragheb J, Wang S, O’Neill BR, Alexander A, Bollo RJ, Fallah A. Real-world preliminary experience with responsive neurostimulation in pediatric epilepsy: a multi-center retrospective observational study. Neurosurgery 2021, Advance online publication. doi:10.1093/neuros/nyab343 *Co-first authors
  •  Braun PR, Han S, Hing B, Nagahama Y, Gaul L, Heinzman JT, Grossbach AJ, Close L, Dlouhy BJ, Howard MA 3rd, Kawasaki H, Potash JB, Shinozaki G. Genome-wide DNA methylation comparison between live human brain and peripheral tissues within individuals. Transl Psychiatry 2019;9:47.
  •  Brueggeman L, Sturgeon ML, Martin RM, Grossbach AJ, Nagahama Y, Zhang A, Howard MA 3rd, Kawasaki H, Wu S, Cornell RA, Michaelson JJ, Bassuk AG. Drug repositioning in epilepsy reveals novel antiseizure candidates. Ann Clin Transl Neurol 2018;6:295-309.
  •  Shinozaki G, Braun PR, Hing BWQ, Ratanatharathorn A, Klisares MJ, Duncan GN, Jellison SS, Heinzman JT, Nagahama Y, Close L, Sabbagh S, Dlouhy BJ, Howard MA, Kawasaki H, Cho HR. Epigenetics of delirium and aging: potential role of DNA methylation change on cytokine genes in glia and blood along with aging. Front Aging Neurosci 2018;10:311.
  •  Nagahama Y, Schmitt AJ, Dlouhy BJ, Vesole AS, Gander PE, Kovach CK, Nakagawa D, Granner M, Howard MA 3rd, Kawasaki H. Utility and safety of depth electrodes within supratemporal plane for intracranial EEG. J Neurosurg 2018;131:772-80.
  •  Nagahama Y, Schmitt AJ, Nakagawa D, Vesole AS, Kamm J, Kovach CK, Hasan D, Granner M, Dlouhy BJ, Howard MA 3rd, Kawasaki H. Intracranial EEG for seizure focus localization: evolving techniques, outcomes, complications, and utility of combining surface and depth electrodes. J Neurosurg Advance online publication. doi:10.3171/2018.1.JNS171808
  •  Vesole AS, Nagahama Y, Granner MA, Howard MA, Kawasaki H, Dlouhy BJ. Drug-resistant epilepsy development following stem cell transplant and cyclosporine neurotoxicity induced seizures: case report in an adult and analysis of reported cases in the literature. Epilepsy Behav Case Rep 2018;10:8-13.
  •  Abode-Iyamah KO, Chiang HY, Woodroffe RW, Park B, Jareczek FJ, Nagahama Y, Winslow N, Herwaldt LA, Greenlee JDW. Deep brain stimulation hardware-related infections: 10-year experience at a single institution. J Neurosurg Advance online publication. doi:10.3171/2017.9.JNS1780
  •  Kamm J, Ponto LLB, Manzel K, Gaasedelen OJ, Nagahama Y, Abel T, Tranel D. Temporal lobe asymmetry in FDG PET uptake predicts neuropsychological and seizure outcomes after temporal lobectomy. Epilepsy Behav 2018;78:62-7.
  •  Nagahama Y, Dlouhy BJ, Nakagawa D, Kamm J, Hasan D, Howard MA 3rd, Kawasaki H. Bone flap elevation for intracranial EEG monitoring: technical note. J Neurosurg 2018;129:182-7.
  •  Nagahama Y, Kovach CK, Ciliberto M, Joshi C, Rhone AE, Vesole A, Gander PE, Nourski KV, Oya H, Howard MA 3rd, Kawasaki H, Dlouhy BJ. Localization of musicogenic epilepsy to Heschl’s gyrus and superior temporal plane: case report. J Neurosurg 2018;129:157-64.
  •  Nagahama Y, Peters D, Kumonda S, Vesole A, Joshi C, Dlouhy BJ, Kawasaki H. Delayed diagnosis of shunt overdrainage following functional hemispherotomy and ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement in a hemimegalencephaly patient: case report. Epilepsy Behav Case Rep 2017;7:34-6.
  •  Nagahama Y, Joshi C, Dlouhy B, Wu AY, Abel TJ, Baumbach G, Kawasaki H. Functional hemispherotomy in Rasmussen syndrome in the absence of classic MRI findings: case report. Epilepsy Behav Case Rep 2016;7:24-7.
  •  Yang J, Bassuk AG, Merl-Pham J, Hsu CW, Colgan DF, Li X, Au KS, Zhang L, Smemo S, Justus S, Nagahama Y, Grossbach AJ, Howard MA 3rd, Kawasaki H, Feldstein NA, Dobyns WB, Northrup H, Hauck SM, Ueffing M, Mahajan VB, Tsang SH. Catenin delta-1 (CTNND1) phosphorylation controls the mesenchymal to epithelial transition in astrocytic tumors. Hum Mol Genet 2016;25:4201-10.
  •  Holec M, Nagahama Y, Kovach C, Joshi C. Rethinking the magnetic resonance imaging findings in early Rasmussen encephalitis: a case report and review of the literature. Pediatr Neurol 2016;59:85-9.