Message from the Chair

Dr. David KaufmanWelcome to Michigan State University's Department of Neurology and Ophthalmology Web Page! We are delighted to share what our Department has to offer.

The Department of Neurology and Ophthalmology at MSU is unique because of its commitment to areas of study not typically found within traditional departments of neurology. This includes areas such as neuro-intervention, neuro-otology, neuro-ophthalmology and neuro-epidemiology. As a rule, such units and their faculty are usually located in radiology, ENT, ophthalmology and epidemiology. However, at MSU, these core units have Neurology as their home. In addition, we also have the more traditional subspecialty disciplines within the department such as epilepsy, stroke, headache, Alzheimer's/memory disorders, M.S., EEG, EMG, etc. 

As a unit, our faculty are involved in creating an environment at Michigan State University that allows for robust clinical and basic neuroscience research opportunity, vibrant educational programs in both Neurology and Ophthalmology, outstanding clinical services in all the major disciplines of Neurology and outreach throughout Michigan and beyond.

Historically, the department is an outgrowth of the neuro-ophthalmology unit which was started at MSU in 1986. Eventually a critical mass of clinicians and educators were brought together to obtain a series of NIH, NINDS, and NIH-NEI grants to create a center for clinical neurosciences and neuro-ophthalmology in 1997. Following further faculty recruitment, expanding research funding, and the development of ten different neurology clinical subspecialties, the MSU provost at the time, Lou Anna K. Simon petitioned the MSU board of trustees to create a department devoted to Neurology. This was accepted by the board of trustees on February 22, 2000, and the Department was formally started July 1, 2000. Its academic home is the College of Osteopathic Medicine at MSU.

Numerous educational programs within the department were started including our ACGME/AOA certified neurology residency. Within Neurology here at MSU, we understand we have been given the opportunity to create educational programs that enrich our busy clinical program. The addition of active teaching programs enriches our faculty experience through active communication with our students, graduate students, residents, and fellows. These interactions are among the most prized experiences for both the student and the mentor. For that reason, this Department is very focused on the development and success of our residency and fellowship graduates.

MSU's Department of Neurology & Ophthalmology Group photo

The residency now includes 4 positions a year during a four year program. We receive over 500 applications for these positions annually. Decisions on who to accept are challenging and typically very difficult given the quality of applicants. The training is intense and occurs within the Lansing community at Sparrow Health Systems, McLaren Greater Lansing and in East Lansing on the campus of Michigan State. The college atmosphere in East Lansing and the capital city feel of Lansing allow for tremendous social opportunities to compliment this training.  In addition, adjunct faculty from Neuro-Radiology, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Sports Medicine, Neuro-Pathology, Neuro-Surgery and similar disciplines also participate to allow for a well rounded graduate. 

Clinically, the department houses essentially all of the major sub-specialty clinics including pediatric neurology and the 38th Jerry Lewis MDA sponsored ALS center (created in 2008). These active clinics on the campus at MSU allow for a well rounded outpatient learning opportunity. ACGME fellowships in stroke and neuro-electrophysiology (EEG and EMG), as well as neuro-intervention, neuro-epidemiology, visual electrophysiology and neuro-ophthalmology are also available.

In addition to these East Lansing and Lansing based educational programs, the Department also oversees the state wide training of MSU's five affiliated osteopathic residency programs in Ophthalmology. These programs are integrated into clinical sites and hospitals around the state. Hence the designation, MSU Department of Neurology and Ophthalmology.

The current research portfolio within the Department includes multiple NIH and other federally funded grants as well as pharmaceutical grants and contracts. There is a major thrust in research on epilepsy induced by CNS infectious diseases like AIDS and CNS malaria. This Dr. Kaufman teachingresearch is being conducted in sub-Sahara Africa by the neuro-epidemiology division of the department. Multiple faculty, their graduate students, staff and fellows along with their labs have partial off campus assignments (three to six months) in places like Zambia, Malawi and Uganda. This unit has significant NIH funding for this work. A NINDS sponsored clinical trial on epilepsy and CNS malaria is set to launch in 2013.

On campus there is also major work done in Parkinson's disease including NIH funding for both clinical and basic science research. Another important core element of the Department is its stroke and Neuro-intervention clinical and research work, done in collaboration with our affiliated Lansing hospitals, especially Sparrow. The Department of Neurology at MSU and Sparrow are one of very few in the United States that offers neuro-intervention training to Neurologists. This unit of the department is involved with NIH and industry funding for various neuro-intervention devices used to retrieve clots to stop strokes from occurring. The Department has a growing unit in neuro-degeneration research, especially in Alzheimer's Disease. We also use the eye as a simplified model for CNS disorders due to malaria, stroke and M.S.

The combined talents of dozens of MSU faculty, residents, fellows and staff work together to provide the best clinical, educational and research opportunity for the people of the State of Michigan and well beyond. If we can be of help to you please contact us at any time. 


Once again, welcome to the Department of Neurology and Ophthalmology!

David Kaufman, D.O. 
Chairperson 
Department of Neurology and Ophthalmology 
Michigan State University

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