Research Programs

Neurocritical Care

The Neurocritical Care Division strives to make important discoveries through innovative research that lessen the burden of suffering from nervous system injury.  Clinical, translational, and basic science research on a variety of conditions, including traumatic brain injury, subarachnoid hemorrhage, cardiac arrest, and ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes, aim to better understand these diseases so that novel therapies can be developed that improve outcomes for patients.  In addition, the Penn Neurocritical Care Division participates in numerous clinical trials that provide patients with access to cutting edge therapies for many acute neurological diseases, such as status epilepticus (severe seizures) and acute stroke.

The Neurocritical Care Division has research programs that focus on:

  • The optimal use of advanced technology to monitor brain physiology and function in patients with severe brain injury
  • Better understanding determinants of long-term outcome after traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Better understanding disturbances in coagulation (blood clotting) and inflammation after traumatic brain injury and subarachnoid hemorrhage
  • Developing biomarkers that might be used in clinical trials and for prognosis in traumatic brain injury
  • Better understanding determinants of long-term outcome in survivors of cardiac arrest
  • The optimal use of bioinformatics in the care of patients in the NeuroICU

Centers and Programs


Dr. Ramon Diaz-Arrastia, a world expert in traumatic brain injury, runs a lab that is focused on understanding the endophenotypes of traumatic brain injury (TBI), with the goals of developing biomarkers that can inform the design of targeted therapies for patients with TBI, and reducing secondary injury during the acute period and promoting repair and regeneration during the subacute and chronic stages.  His most recent research efforts are directed at using magnetic resonance imaging, near infrared spectroscopy, and blood biomarkers to measure traumatic microvascular injury, track the evolution of traumatic microvasculopathy as patients recover from TBI, and develop predictive and pharmacodynamics biomarkers that can be useful for improving the next generation of clinical trials for brain injury.