American Family Children's Hospital
Robert J. Dempsey, MD close

Robert J. Dempsey, MD Print Friendly Page

Chair, Department of Neurological Surgery
Faculty, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

Dr. Robert J. Dempsey, MD, is the Manucher Javid Professor and Chairman of Neurological Surgery at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. He specializes in cerebrovascular surgery and has extensive experience in the neurosurgical management of intracranial aneurysms, arteriovenous, vascular malformations of the brain and brain tumors. Dr. Dempsey is a nationally recognized expert on carotid endarterectomy.


Currently, Dr. Dempsey has multiple R01-funded research projects with a focus on cerebral ischemia and the repair of the injured brain. He has published more than 200 scientific articles on these subjects. He has been a principal investigator of grants from the National Institutes of Health, Veterans Administration and the American Heart Association, leading a group of neurosurgeons and scientists dedicated to improving patient care. In 2007 he was named principal editor for Basic Science of Neurosurgery, the largest circulation medical journal in the field.


Dr. Dempsey is an educator and mentor of medical students, residents and fellows worldwide. He has twice been awarded the Clinical Teaching Award by UW students. He has been a visiting professor at multiple colleges and is presently the course co-director of Research Update in Neuroscience for Neurosurgeons. He is also an officer of the major organizations involved in neurosurgical education, both in the U.S. (past president of the Society of Neurological Surgeons) and internationally (chair of the Foundation for International Education in Neurological Surgery). For more than 20 years of service, teaching and operating in developing countries worldwide, he received the Humanitarian Award from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.



UW Health Clinics

University Hospital
(608) 263-7502 | (800) 323-8942 | Map

Hospital Affiliation(s)

University Hospital (primary)
Veterans Hospital - Wm. S. Middleton Memorial, UnityPoint Health - Meriter (secondary)

UW School of Medicine and Public Health

Department of Neurological Surgery

Professional Certifications and Education

Board Certification Neurological Surgery
Residency University of Michigan Hospital
Internship University of Michigan Hospital
Medical School University of Chicago Medical School, Chicago, IL, 1977


Best Doctors® in America 2015

UW Health Patient Experience Physician Champion Award 2015

UW Health Patient Experience Physician Champion Award 2014

Best Doctors® in America 2014

Best Doctors® in America 2013

Madison Magazine Top Docs 2012


Medical interpreters are available to help patients communicate with hospital and clinic staff. For more information, please contact interpreter services at (608) 262-9000.


Our doctors provide a wide range of services. The following list represents some, but not all, of the procedures offered by this physician.

  • Microvascular Decompression (MVD)

Programs & Conditions

PubMed Articles
Wang X Jackson DC Mitchell CC Varghese T Wilbrand SM Rocque BG Hermann BP Dempsey RJ . Classification of Symptomatic and Asymptomatic Patients with and without Cognitive Decline Using Non-invasive Carotid Plaque Strain Indices as Biomarkers. Ultrasound Med Biol. 2016 Apr;42(4):909-18
[PubMed ID: 26778288]
Park KB Johnson WD Dempsey RJ . Global Neurosurgery: The Unmet Need. World Neurosurg. 2016 Apr;88:32-5
[PubMed ID: 26732963]
Jackson DC Sandoval-Garcia C Rocque BG Wilbrand SM Mitchell CC Hermann BP Dempsey RJ . Cognitive Deficits in Symptomatic and Asymptomatic Carotid Endarterectomy Surgical Candidates. Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 2016 Feb;31(1):1-7
[PubMed ID: 26663810]
Lopez MS Dempsey RJ Vemuganti R . Resveratrol neuroprotection in stroke and traumatic CNS injury. Neurochem Int. 2015 Oct;89:75-82
[PubMed ID: 26277384]
Piquer J Qureshi MM Young PH Dempsey RJ . Neurosurgery Education and Development program to treat hydrocephalus and to develop neurosurgery in Africa using mobile neuroendoscopic training. J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2015 Jun;15(6):552-9
[PubMed ID: 25745948]
Joshi DC Zhang CL Lin TM Gusain A Harris MG Tree E Yin Y Wu C Sheng ZH Dempsey RJ Fabry Z Chiu SY . Deletion of mitochondrial anchoring protects dysmyelinating shiverer: implications for progressive MS. J Neurosci. 2015 Apr 1;35(13):5293-306
[PubMed ID: 25834054]
Wesley UV Hatcher JF Dempsey RJ . Sphingomyelin Synthase 1 Regulates Neuro-2a Cell Proliferation and Cell Cycle Progression Through Modulation of p27 Expression and Akt Signaling. Mol Neurobiol. 2015;51(3):1530-41
[PubMed ID: 25084761]
Berman SE Wang X Mitchell CC Kundu B Jackson DC Wilbrand SM Varghese T Hermann BP Rowley HA Johnson SC Dempsey RJ . The relationship between carotid artery plaque stability and white matter ischemic injury. Neuroimage Clin. 2015;9:216-22
[PubMed ID: 26448914]
Zhang RR Pointer KB Kuo JS Dempsey RJ . Mutational analysis reveals the origin and therapy-driven evolution of recurrent glioma. Neurosurgery. 2014 Dec;75(6):N9-10
[PubMed ID: 25406627]
Sedney CL Siu J Rosseau G Dempsey R Bernstein M . International neurosurgical volunteerism: a temporal, geographic, and thematic analysis of foundation for international education in neurological surgery volunteer reports. World Neurosurg. 2014 Dec;82(6):963-8
[PubMed ID: 25088231]
Kalluri HS Dempsey RJ . D609-mediated inhibition of ATP synthesis in neural progenitor cells. Neuroreport. 2014 Jul 9;25(10):777-81
[PubMed ID: 24918458]
Wang X Jackson DC Varghese T Mitchell CC Hermann BP Kliewer MA Dempsey RJ . Correlation of cognitive function with ultrasound strain indices in carotid plaque. Ultrasound Med Biol. 2014 Jan;40(1):78-89
[PubMed ID: 24120415]
Kalluri HS Gusain A Dempsey RJ . Regulation of neural progenitor cell proliferation by D609: potential role for ERK. Mol Neurobiol. 2013 Apr;47(2):782-9
[PubMed ID: 23275176]
Wesley UV Vemuganti R Ayvaci ER Dempsey RJ . Galectin-3 enhances angiogenic and migratory potential of microglial cells via modulation of integrin linked kinase signaling. Brain Res. 2013 Feb 16;1496:1-9
[PubMed ID: 23246924]
Rocque BG Jackson D Varghese T Hermann B McCormick M Kliewer M Mitchell C Dempsey RJ . Impaired cognitive function in patients with atherosclerotic carotid stenosis and correlation with ultrasound strain measurements. J Neurol Sci. 2012 Nov 15;322(1-2):20-4
[PubMed ID: 22658531]
Kalluri HS Dempsey RJ . Osteopontin increases the proliferation of neural progenitor cells. Int J Dev Neurosci. 2012 Aug;30(5):359-62
[PubMed ID: 22542685]
Gusain A Hatcher JF Adibhatla RM Wesley UV Dempsey RJ . Anti-proliferative effects of tricyclodecan-9-yl-xanthogenate (D609) involve ceramide and cell cycle inhibition. Mol Neurobiol. 2012 Jun;45(3):455-64
[PubMed ID: 22415444]
Farbota KD Bendlin BB Alexander AL Rowley HA Dempsey RJ Johnson SC . Longitudinal diffusion tensor imaging and neuropsychological correlates in traumatic brain injury patients. Front Hum Neurosci. 2012;6:160
[PubMed ID: 22723773]
Nakka VP Lang BT Lenschow DJ Zhang DE Dempsey RJ Vemuganti R . Increased cerebral protein ISGylation after focal ischemia is neuroprotective. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2011 Dec;31(12):2375-84
[PubMed ID: 21847135]
Dempsey RJ . Art, passion, and neurosurgery: the role of the Society of Neurological Surgeons in academic neurosurgery. World Neurosurg. 2011 Nov;76(5):378-84
[PubMed ID: 22152556]