Scholarly Pursuits

Beyond clinical excellence, our trainees develop an area of scholarly focus in Neurology. This can be broadly defined, ranging from social outreach, to quality improvement, to basic science. We provide residents with the time, resources, and mentorship necessary to develop an academic dimension to their career.

While dedicated time for scholarly work is available during the PGY-3 and PGY-4 years, didactic and discussion sessions focused on research activities begin in PGY-2 and continue throughout (and can begin in the PGY-1 year for those completing their medical internship in Philadelphia). Residents can apply for additional research time through the R25 mechanism (described below).

The Capstone project

As a requirement of residency training, all Penn neurology residents complete a “Capstone” project. The Capstone is an independent but mentored project that constitutes a substantive piece of scholarly work.  While the scope of appropriate projects is broad, the Capstone is aligned with the development of a career in academic neurology. Hypothesis driven research projects target basic, translational, or clinical questions in neurobiology and neurology. For some residents, the Capstone is centered on a quality improvement or education project, or seeks to improve access to care for underserved domestic or global populations. In these instances, the project is still focused by the measurement of a quantitative outcome that can be used to evaluate the success of the intervention. All residents present their work during department Grand Rounds in the Spring of their PGY-4 year, and most residents report their Capstone work in a journal publication.

An academic environment

With over 21,000 students and trainees, the University of Pennsylvania is a large research institution. The Perelman School of Medicine alone (the home of the Department of Neurology) is the 3rd largest recipient of NIH funding support in the nation. Within the department of Neurology, most of the faculty engage in scholarly or research activity, and about one-quarter are tenure-track faculty who operate research laboratories. Department faculty are connected to the graduate groups across campus, and lead several of the University institutes and centers relevant to neuroscience.

Residents can avail themselves of research and scholarly opportunities from across the campus during the course of their training and are not limited to mentors within the Department of Neurology. Relevant resources at the University of Pennsylvania include:

Graduate groups:
  • Mahoney Institute of Neurosciences -- One of the world's preeminent institutions for neuroscience research and training. With almost 200 faculty from 18 departments and six schools from across the University, including the Department of Neurology.
  • The Cell & Molecular Biology Graduate Group -- An interdisciplinary graduate group of over 300 faculty, again drawing from across the University and from within the Department of Neurology
Clinical, basic science, and policy centers:

The R25 Program

The University of Pennsylvania Neurology Residency holds an R25 grant from the NINDS to support the development of physician scientists in basic, translational, or clinical research. Selected residents have additional elective time during their residency and spend a at least 11 (6 consecutive) elective months completing their research project during their PGY-3 and 4 year. Participating residents also can apply for 80% funding for the first year of a research fellowship at any institution that has received an R25 grant. Additionally, the University of Pennsylvania Neurology Residency holds a T32 grant from the National Institute of Health to support a translational research fellowship for residency graduates who developed their research interest later in residency and did not participate in the R25 program. All residents interested in research have the opportunity to attend twice monthly lectures focused on research career development.

Previous Capstone projects

Every graduating resident completes a scholarly project and presents their work at dedicated Grand Rounds sessions in Spring of their final year. Recent topics have included:


  • Preventing early bounce-backs from the Neurointensive Care Unit
  • The Penn Upper Motor Neuron score as a predictor of mortality in ALS
  • Cerebrospinal fluid characteristics in patients with PRES
  • Non-invasive respiratory impedance enhances cerebral perfusion
  • Early discontinuation of anti-seizure medications in neonates treated with therapeutic hypothermia
  • Safety of endovascular intervention for acute stroke in patients on anticoagulation
  • Paired pulse TMS methods to quantify alterations in cortical excitability
  • Early and later seizures in pediatric Moyamoya
  • Novel measures of treatment efficacy and tissue repair in MS
  • Recanalization after dissection
  • Role of PFO in first and recurrent childhood cryptogenic arterial ischemic stroke
  • Incidence and impact of anxiety and depression in the post-stroke population
  • Epidemiology of pediatric Huntington’s disease


  • Mild Parknisonian Signs and TIA/Storke
  • AAV-medicated gene therapy for progranulin-deficient FTLD
  • AED use in post-anoxic status epilepticus
  • Improving discharge of patients from the stroke service
  • The autoantigen DNER is not a Notch ligand
  • Is IDH-1 status associated with seizure activity in glial tumors?
  • Asymptomatic and pausisymptomatic HyperCKemia in the pediatric population
  • Investigating the relationship between hospice length of stay and decline of FRS-R score in ALS patients
  • Stroke after cardiac valve replacement
  • Effectiveness of lacosamide in pediatric epilepsy patients
  • Pediatric cavernous sinus thrombosis: A case series and review of the literature
  • Changed the speed of treatment in pediatric status epilepticus
  • Identifying sources of delay in acute stroke thrombolysis


  • Gray Matter Loss in Multiple Sclerosis: Associations With Visual and Neurologic Impairment
  • White Matter Hyperintensities And Neurodegeneration in ADNI
  • The Role of Cytoplasmic Dynein in Neurodevelopmental and Neurodegenerative Disease
  • Exploring the Anchoring, Availability, And Representativeness Heuristics
  • Measurement of Visual Sensitivity in Migraine
  • Quality Improvement in Stroke Care- Improving Transitions to Rehab
  • Seasonal variability of non-tumor related NMDA-receptor encephalitis at CHOP
  • Can Resting-State fMRI Outperform Wada Testing In Predicting Cognitive Outcomes of Temporal Lobectomy?
  • The Triaging of Acute by Emergency Medical Services in Philadelphia
  • Medical Marijuana Utilization and Perceived Therapeutic Value In Patients With ALS
  • Can Diffusion Weighted Magnetic Resonance Imaging Predict Visual Outcomes in Children with Papilledema?


  • Racial Disparities in Acute Stroke Care: Access to Primary Stroke Centers and Trends in rt-PA Utilization
  • Spontaneous Subarachnoid Hemorrhage: Identifying Predictors of Outcome Using Long-Term EEG Monitoring
  • Role of GABA-A receptor recycling in sleep
  • The Validity of the Assessment of Mild Parkinsonian Signs
  • Circuit Mechanisms of Inhibition in the Hippocampal Dentate Gyrus: Towards a Greater Understanding of Network Dysfunction in Mesial Temporal Lobe Epilepsy
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Opening Pressure in a Pediatric Demyelinating Disease Cohort
  • Insights into the Autism and Epilepsy Overlap from a 16p11.2 Copy Number Variant Cohort
  • Comparative Effectiveness of Levetiracetam and Oxcarbazepine as First Drug Monotherapy for Children with Focal Epilepsy
  • Predictors of Occult Atrial Fibrillation in Cryptogenic Stroke
  • Interrater Reliability of Intracranial EEG Interpretation
  • NMO at HUP: Analysis of the Efficacy of Azathioprine, Cyclophosphamide, Mycophenolate, and Rituximab
  • Pattern of Macular Thinning in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis


  • Somatosensory and Motor Evoked Potentials Predict Post-Operative Functional Sensorimotor Status of Patients Who Undergo Spinal Cord Tumor (SCT) Resection: A Retrospective Chart Review
  • Seizure Monitoring in Abusive Head Trauma
  • Neuroprognostication After Cardiac Arrest: Consistency and Accuracy
  • Imaging the Retina in Neurodegenerative Disease
  • Density Spectral Array for Seizure Identification in Critically Ill Children
  • Albuminuria, but not eGFR, Predicts Stroke Risk in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Etiology of Lesions with Diffusion Restriction in the Corpus Callosum
  • MR Perfusion Imaging of Hypertension Induced Blood-Brain Barrier Breakdown
  • Predictors of Outcome in Patients with Spinal Cord Ischemia after Aortic Repair
  • Too Much of a Good Thing? Analysis of Initiation of Glucocorticoid Treatment in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD)
  • Health Literacy and Medication Awareness in Outpatient Neurology
  • Interrater Reliability of the ABCD² Score for TIA Risk Stratification
  • Unexpected Hospital Readmissions in Neurology: Myasthenia Gravis


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Contact Information

Department of Neurology
3 Gates, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
3400 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Frances E. Jensen, MD, FACP
Chair of Neurology

Raymond S. Price, MD
Program Director

Vanna Hing, Residency Coordinator

Telephone: (215) 662-3370