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

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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 Hospitals, Ann Arbor, MI
Internship University of Michigan Hospitals, Ann Arbor, MI
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
Wesley UV Hatcher JF Ayvaci ER Klemp A Dempsey RJ . Regulation of Dipeptidyl Peptidase IV in the Post-stroke Rat Brain and In Vitro Ischemia: Implications for Chemokine-Mediated Neural Progenitor Cell Migration and Angiogenesis. Mol Neurobiol. 2017 Sep;54(7):4973-4985
[PubMed ID: 27525674]
Mitchell CC Wilbrand SM Kundu B Steffel CN Varghese T Meshram NH Li G Cook TD Salamat MS Dempsey RJ . Transcranial Doppler and Microemboli Detection: Relationships to Symptomatic Status and Histopathology Findings. Ultrasound Med Biol. 2017 Sep;43(9):1861-1867
[PubMed ID: 28645797]
Kalluri HSG Kuo JS Dempsey RJ . Chronic D609 treatment interferes with cell cycle and targets the expression of Olig2 in Glioma Stem like Cells. Eur J Pharmacol. 2017 Aug 10;
[PubMed ID: 28802717]
Ament JD Kim T Gold-Markel J Germano IM Dempsey R Weaver JP DiPatri AJ Jr Andrews RJ Sanchez M Hinojosa J Moser RP Glick R . Planning and Executing the Neurosurgery Boot Camp: The Bolivia Experience. World Neurosurg. 2017 Aug;104:407-410
[PubMed ID: 28526650]
Dempsey RJ Jackson DC Wilbrand SM Mitchell CC Berman SE Johnson SC Meshram NH Varghese T Hermann BP . The Preservation of Cognition 1 Yr After Carotid Endarterectomy in Patients With Prior Cognitive Decline. Neurosurgery. 2017 Jun 1;
[PubMed ID: 28575478]
Dempsey KE Qureshi MM Ondoma SM Dempsey RJ . Effect of Geopolitical Forces on Neurosurgical Training in Sub-Saharan Africa. World Neurosurg. 2017 May;101:196-202
[PubMed ID: 28185975]
Dempsey RJ Varghese T Jackson DC Wang X Meshram NH Mitchell CC Hermann BP Johnson SC Berman SE Wilbrand SM . Carotid atherosclerotic plaque instability and cognition determined by ultrasound-measured plaque strain in asymptomatic patients with significant stenosis. J Neurosurg. 2017 Mar 10;:1-9
[PubMed ID: 28298048]
Mitchell CC Stein JH Cook TD Salamat S Wang X Varghese T Jackson DC Sandoval Garcia C Wilbrand SM Dempsey RJ . Histopathologic Validation of Grayscale Carotid Plaque Characteristics Related to Plaque Vulnerability. Ultrasound Med Biol. 2017 Jan;43(1):129-137
[PubMed ID: 27720278]
Kalluri HSG Kuo JS Dempsey RJ . Effect of D609 on the expression of GADD45β protein: Potential inhibitory role in the growth of glioblastoma cancer stem like cells. Eur J Pharmacol. 2016 Nov 15;791:510-517
[PubMed ID: 27658347]
Lopez MS Dempsey RJ Vemuganti R . Resveratrol preconditioning induces cerebral ischemic tolerance but has minimal effect on cerebral microRNA profiles. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2016 Sep;36(9):1644-50
[PubMed ID: 27323784]
Kim T Mehta SL Kaimal B Lyons K Dempsey RJ Vemuganti R . Poststroke Induction of α-Synuclein Mediates Ischemic Brain Damage. J Neurosci. 2016 Jun 29;36(26):7055-65
[PubMed ID: 27358461]
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]
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]
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]
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]