Recent Highlights from the Neuroscience Center at CHOP

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Pediatric Partners

Dear Colleague,

We hope this message finds you well. As co-directors of the Neuroscience Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, we lead an interdisciplinary team of child neurology and neurosurgery experts. Our center’s collaborative and comprehensive structure optimizes our ability to provide the individualized, world-class clinical care patients need. We continue to accelerate our pace toward groundbreaking discoveries including clinical trials, biomarkers, tissue genomics, outcomes research, cell and gene therapies, and neuroimaging research partnerships. Our team focuses on every aspect of neurology and neurosurgery, including rare diseases.

Below are some recent highlights we’d like to share with you.

  • Our Neuroscience Center continues to grow to provide care to more patients, including the recent addition of pediatric neurologists Jennifer Avallone, DO, Sonal Sharma, MD, and Jason L. Ziplow, MD, and neurosurgeons, Peter Madsen, MD, MBE, and Alexander Tucker, MD. Our team now consists of more than 250 highly specialized clinicians, including providers, nurses, therapists, psychologists, genetic counselors, EEG technologists, dieticians and child life specialists, making us the largest program of our kind in the country.
  • Our Epilepsy Program performed its 100th stereotactic EEG procedure for patients with intractable epilepsy, continued expansion of our frontier Epilepsy Neurogenetics Initiative (ENGIN) Program’s genetic testing and unparalleled diagnostics, and hired a Neuroscience Nurse Navigator, Kelsey Dixon, RN, to serve as a concierge resource for patients and referring providers.
  • Our dedicated 24-bed inpatient Neuroscience Unit is staffed by a team with specialized training in pediatric neuroscience and led by inaugural Medical Director Craig A. Press, MD, PhD. The unit is specially equipped to meet the unique medical and surgical needs of infants, children and young adults with neurological and neurosurgical conditions.
  • Our new interdisciplinary Pediatric Movement Disorders Program is led by Nivedita Thakur, MD, one of the few pediatric neurologists fellowship-trained in pediatric movement disorders in the country. The program features a team of functional neurosurgery and neurology experts that includes Drs. Ben Kennedy, Casey Halpern and Andres Deik, as well as a strong partnership with our Rehabilitation Medicine team. It offers comprehensive care for children and teens with spasticity, dystonia, or other movement disorders that require neuromodulation including selective dorsal rhizotomy, intrathecal baclofen pumps, and deep brain stimulation.
  • Our Rett Syndrome Clinic was designated a Center of Excellence by the International Rett Syndrome Foundation, one of only 15 clinics across the world to earn this distinction. This recent recognition expands our long list of programs with designated centers of excellence, including Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders, Friedreich Ataxia, Muscular Dystrophy, and Leukodystrophy.
  • We are celebrating the five-year anniversary of our Center for Data Driven Discovery in Biomedicine (D3b). D3b touts impressive resources such as Cavatica, a cloud-based platform for collaboratively accessing, sharing, and analyzing pediatric cancer data, as well as multiple high-impact collaborations. Recent funding from the Childhood Cancer Data Initiative of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) will enable D3b to molecularly characterize thousands of brain tumor samples from patients all over the world, providing an unprecedented level of insight into devastating cancers and ushering in a new era in childhood brain tumor research. 
  • We initiated a quarterly webinar series providing contemporary updates from our interdisciplinary specialists, including epilepsy, headache, and movement disorders management. The CHOP Online Pediatric Education Network (OPEN) provides access to these and other available webinars and lectures, available on-demand and which provide continuing medical education credits.

To learn more about our Neuroscience Center, visit To make a referral, request a second opinion, or discuss a patient with a suspected or confirmed neurological disorder, please contact our team at We look forward to partnering with you to provide unparalleled care for your patients.

Brenda Banwell, MD, FRCPC, FAAN
Chief, Division of Neurology
Co-Director, Neuroscience Center
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Phillip B. Storm, MD
Chief, Division of Neurosurgery
Co-Director, Neuroscience Center
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia