The next chapter in our history

Clark C. Chen, MD, PhD, succeeded Stephen Haines, MD, as Professor and Lyle French Chair in Neurosurgery and the Head of the University of Minnesota Medical School Department of Neurosurgery. Dr. Chen brings an extensive background in both brain tumor research and innovative clinical practice to his new role. Click on the image below to watch a video featuring both Dr. Haines and Dr. Chen as they set the stage for the next chapter in the department's history.

Dr. Clark Chen Introductory Video Image

Clinical practice

The Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Minnesota and its clinical arm, University of Minnesota Health Neurosurgery, offer outstanding neurosurgical patient care, excellent neurosurgical education and groundbreaking research into some of the most difficult problems facing neurosurgical patients today.

Clinic locations

Our clinical practice is carried out through University of Minnesota Physicians. This eight-physician neurosurgical practice is the largest in the Twin Cities. We provide services at:

What we do

Our neurosurgeons treat issues in adults and children associated with the:

  • Brain
  • Spine
  • Skull and facial nerves
  • Nervous system (central and peripheral)
  • Circulatory system (in association with the brain)
  • Endocrine system (pituitary gland in particular)

We use advanced technologies during surgery such as MRI, Gamma Knife radiosurgery, and image-guided intracranial endoscopy. We also have access to emerging technologies currently under evaluation including blood brain barrier disruption and immunotherapy (vaccines) for malignant brain tumors.

Educational programs

Our educational programs in neurosurgery focus on:

Resident neurosurgeons

We have been training residents since 1937 and typically graduate two fully trained neurosurgeons each year. The program has produced outstanding neurosurgeons who are leaders in their communities and academic neurosurgeons who have gone on to lead neurosurgical departments throughout the country. Our focus on training future leaders and practitioners of neurosurgery keeps our program vibrant, relevant, and forward-looking.

Medical students

Many medical students at the University of Minnesota Medical School spend time with us learning fundamentals of neurosurgery.


Our research programs focus on better understanding complex and difficult neurological diseases, which can lead to more effective future treatments. We have developed a focus on using stem cells to aid recovery from various forms of nervous system injury. Other important research areas include improving and broadening the use of deep brain stimulation, creating new brain tumor therapies, and treating traumatic brain injuries.

Department Head

Clark C. Chen, MD PhD

"I accepted this role because I was moved by the Neurosurgery Department's optimism, ambition, and selfless dedication. I accepted this role because I was inspired by the department's fierce adherence to the highest standards of ethical, clinical, and scientific conduct. I am intently and relentlessly committed to this department's ideals and mission – of educating and cultivating the next generation of neurosurgical leaders, of improving our patients’ lives through advancement and practice of surgeries grounded in rigor and compassion, and of reshaping our collective consciousness through inquiry and knowledge."