Texas Comprehensive Epilepsy Program Physicians and Surgeons

 

Samden Lhatoo, M.D., FRCP (Lon) Neurologist

Dr. Lhatoo is an epileptologist who is an expert in the medical and surgical management of  difficult to treat epilepsy. He is the John P. and Kathrine G. McGovern Distinguished University Professor of Neurology at the University of Texas Health Science Center’s (UTHSC) McGovern Medical School and Executive Vice Chair of the Department of Neurology. Dr. Lhatoo also serves as Director of the Texas Comprehensive Epilepsy Program (TCEP) and Co-Director of the Texas Institute of Restorative Neurotechnologies. He trained in epilepsy and epilepsy surgery at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery at Queen Square in London, UK, and at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. His main research interests are in the mortality of epilepsy and sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP), using multi-centric, big data approaches, machine learning and the use of innovative new technologies for health and disease monitoring. His research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, and he is Co-Director and Co-Principal Investigator of the NIH funded Center for SUDEP Research. He has authored over a hundred peer reviewed journal articles, as well as several book chapters. He has edited textbooks on epilepsy and epilepsy surgery, including the recent book “Invasive Studies of the Human Epileptic Brain”. Dr Lhatoo is the former Dorothy Blair and Robert Daroff Endowed Chair in Epilepsy at Case Western Reserve University, and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in London, UK.


Nitin Tandon, M.D. Neurosurgeon

Dr. Nitin Tandon is Professor of Neurosurgery and Pediatric Surgery at the McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston Texas. He received his medical degree at the Armed Forces Medical College in Pune, India, followed by a residency in neurosurgery at The University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio and then a fellowship in epilepsy surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Tandon currently serves as the Chief of the Epilepsy Surgery in The Texas Comprehensive Epilepsy Program, the leading program in the southwestern United States for the diagnosis and surgical treatment of epilepsy in patients of all ages. He has performed more than 3500 brain operations, with more than 1200 for brain tumors and 800 for epilepsy. He has pioneered innovative technologies in azimuth based robotic stereo-electro-encephalography, laser interstitial ablation and other minimally invasive approaches to brain tumors and epilepsy. His research work yields fundamental insight into the processes of cognition and epilepsy using intracranial recordings and multi-modal comparisons linking non-invasive imaging data and tractography datasets with intracranial recordings and cortical stimulation. This will pave the way for innovative rehabilitative and neuro-prosthetic approaches to the remediation of aphasic and dyslexic disorders and intractable epilepsy. He also holds a joint appointment as a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University. He has been the recipient of multiple NIH, NSF and foundation grants and his research is currently funded by a BRAIN initiative U01 (NINDS-NIDCD), an R01 (NIDCD), and by the NSF. He has authored over 70 peer reviewed publications including in journals such as Nature Neuroscience, Brain, Cerebral Cortex, Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Neurosurgery and Neurosurgery.


Meenakshi Bhattacharjee, MBBS, M.D, FRCP, FCAP Neuropathologist

Meenakshi B. Bhattacharjee, Professor and Director of Neuropathology, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Dr. Bhattacharjee holds an MBBS degree from Christian Medical College (Punjab University), India, and an MD Pathology degree from the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh, India. Following her training in India, Dr. Bhattacharjee trained in Neuropathology in England, at the Institute of Psychiatry and Royal Maudsley & Bethlehem Hospitals, and the Institute of Neurology and the National Hospital for Neurology, Queen Square – both in London. Dr. Bhattacharjee completed an Anatomic Pathology residency at UTHSC, and a Neuropathology Fellowship at the Baylor College of Medicine under the mentorship of Dr. Dawna Armstrong. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Pathology in Anatomic Pathology & Neuropathology. After her fellowship in Neuropathology, Dr. Bhattacharjee joined the faculty of Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, LA. Dr. Bhattacharjee returned to Houston as faculty at Texas Children’s Hospital, before moving to UTHSC in 2010 where she is currently Professor of Pathology and Director of Neuropathology. Dr. Bhattacharjee is actively engaged in patient care as chief neuropathologist, and her research interests include adult and pediatric brain tumors, neuromuscular disorders, and the pathology of epilepsy.


Joshua Breier, PhD. Neuropsychologist

Dr. Joshua Breier is Professor of Pediatrics at the McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston Texas, and practices at the Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Texas Medical Center. He received his PhD in Clinical Neuropsychology from the University of Houston, followed by an internship and post-doctoral fellowship in neuropsychology at Shands Hospital, The University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida. Dr. Breier currently serves as the chief neuropsychologist for the Texas Comprehensive Epilepsy Program. He has evaluated over 3000 adults and children referred for pre-surgical evaluation as well as post-surgical follow-up. He has performed over 500 pre-surgical Wada procedures to determine laterality of language and memory function and over 200 intra- and extra-operative stimulation mapping procedures to localize eloquent cortex pre-operatively.
Dr. Breier has been the recipient of NIH (NINDS and NICHD) grants in the areas of perceptual abnormalities in children with dyslexia and the anatomy of recovery from aphasia following stroke using magnetoencephalography as a functional imaging technique. He has published extensively in the use of magnetoencephalography as a functional imaging tool to map reading function in children with reading disabilities and adults who are being evaluated for surgery that may affect eloquent cortex. He is author or co-author on over 90 peer reviewed publications.


James A. Ferrendelli MDJames A. Ferrendelli, MD. Neurologist

Dr. Ferrendelli, M.D., is a professor of neurology at McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). He is highly experienced in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia as well as epilepsy and other seizure disorders.

He has authored dozens of peer-reviewed articles on neurology in scientific journals and served on the editorial boards of multiple medical journals. He is a member of many medical professional organizations and is a longtime leader in the treatment of epilepsy and other neurological disorders.


Elliott Friedman, M.D. Neuroradiologist

Dr. Friedman is Associate Professor of Diagnostic and Interventional Imaging. He finished his medical school and internship at Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana, and completed his residency in radiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.  His Neuroradiology fellowship was from Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia. He is an expert neuroradiologist and specializes in the neuroimaging of epilepsy, using an array of techniques, including MRI, functional MRI, PET and SPECT imaging.


Harris Katherine webKatherine M.J. Harris, M.D. Neurologist

Dr. Harris is fellowship trained in epilepsy and intracranial EEG and certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Her clinical interests include seizures and epilepsy, medical and surgical treatments for epilepsy, stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG), and critical care EEG. A native Houstonian, Dr. Harris graduated summa cum laude from the undergraduate neuroscience program at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where she received the Outstanding Research in Neuroscience Award and was named Outstanding Senior in Neuroscience. She received her medical degree from McGovern Medical School at UTHealth in 2014, and completed neurology residency training at the same institution in 2018, followed by fellowships in epilepsy in 2019 and in intracranial EEG in 2020, also at McGovern Medical School. She completed the Healthcare Management Certificate Program at the University of Houston-Clear Lake and the Physician Educator Certificate Program at McGovern Medical School. An assistant professor of neurology at McGovern Medical School, Dr. Harris is a member of the team at the Texas Comprehensive Epilepsy Program and also is the epilepsy fellowship associate program director. Her research is focused on improving quality of life for people with epilepsy. She also has interests in medical education, mentorship, and resident and fellow wellness. Dr. Harris works with adult patients at UTHealth Neurosciences-Neurology to control their seizures through individualized treatment options.


Nuria Lacuey, M.D, PhD. Neurologist

Dr. Lacuey is an Epileptologist with expertise in the medical and surgical treatment of epilepsy. She completed her two year epilepsy and clinical neurophysiology fellowship at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. She has specialized training in evaluating patients with medically refractory epilepsy for surgical treatment options. She received her PhD on sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP), and worked as an Assistant Professor in Neurology and as an Epileptologist at Case Western Reserve University. Her main research interests are in the brain mapping of cardiorespiratory function and mortality of epilepsy. Dr. Lacuey is Assistant Professor of Neurology at the University of Texas Health Science Center’s (UTHSC) McGovern Medical School. She has published her research in numerous journals, including JAMA Neurology, Neurology and Epilepsia.


John C. Mosher, PhD. Professor

Dr. Mosher is a Professor of Neurology and Scientific Director of Magnetoencephalography Research at the University of Texas Health Science Center McGovern Medical School. Dr. Mosher is an expert in the field of signal analysis, source modeling and visualization of Magnetoencephalography (MEG) and Electroencephalography (EEG) data. His main research interests are in developing research and real-time brain imaging tools, and translating these into clinical practice.
Dr. Mosher received his Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from the Signal and Image Processing Institute of the University of Southern California. He developed MEG research software programs at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, then later became a Director of MEG Research at the Cleveland Clinic Neurological Institute.
Dr. Mosher has authored nearly 200 papers appearing in Google Scholar, with over 10,000 citations.


Rajan Patel, M.D. Neuroradiologist

Dr. Patel is Assistant Professor in Diagnostic and Interventional Imaging. He finished his medical school at Pandit Deendayal Upadhyah Medical College. His Pediatric Radiology and Neuroradiology fellowships were from UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. Dr Patel is an expert neuroradiologist and further specializes in epilepsy neuroradiology.

 


Sandipan Pati, M.D. Neurologist

Dr. Sandipan Pati is dual board certified in neurology and epileptology by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. His clinical and research interests are focused on treatment-resistant epilepsies, with the goal of developing efficient neuromodulation paradigms to treat seizures and cognitive co-morbidities like depression and memory loss.

Dr. Pati received his medical degree at the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research in Pondicherry, India, and is a member of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP) in the United Kingdom. He completed residency training in the UK in internal medicine at the University of Birmingham NHS Hospitals; in neurology at John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford University Hospitals NHS in Oxford; and in epilepsy at the National Epilepsy Center, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery of University College London Hospitals. After moving to the United States, he completed additional residency training in neurology at Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. He went on to complete fellowship training in epilepsy and clinical neurophysiology at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Boston in 2014. Dr. Pati joined UTHealth Neurosciences from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he was an associate professor of neurology and saw patients in the Epilepsy Neuromodulation Clinic.
An associate professor of neurology at McGovern Medical School, Dr. Pati is a member of the team at the Texas Comprehensive Epilepsy Program and the Texas Institute for Restorative Neurotechnologies at UTHealth Neurosciences. His career goal is to improve the lives of people with epilepsy. He sees patients at UTHealth Neurosciences-Texas Medical Center.


Sudhakar Selvaraj, M.D, PhD. Psychiatrist

Dr. Sudhakar Selvaraj is an Assistant Professor and the director of the Depression Research Lab in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. He also serves as the Director of the UTHealth Student Counseling Center, which provides mental health services to students at UTHealth. He qualified in medicine in India and completed clinical psychiatry residency training at the University Oxford and Maudsley Hospital and Institute of Psychiatry in London. He studied the role of serotonin transporters in major depressive disorders for his PhD under the supervision of Professor P.J. Cowen at the University of Oxford, UK. He has broad experience in clinical psychiatry with specific interest in treating and managing patients with mood disorders such as major depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders. His research has primarily focused on understanding the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the mood and psychotic disorders. He has specific training and expertise in psychopharmacology and brain imaging techniques, both structural and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging/Spectroscopy and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging and its applications in neuropsychiatric disorders.


Shaun O. Smart, M.D. Neurologist

Dr. Smart is Assistant Professor in Neurology, Director of the Continuous EEG Monitoring Program and Co-director of the Neurohospitalist Fellowship Program. He is an expert in Neuro-Hospitalist Medicine and Epilepsy. Dr. Smart attended the University of Miami where he received undergraduate degrees in Biomedical Engineering, Physics and Philosophy while being part of the University of Miami Honors College. He received his medical degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. and completed his residency in Neurology at the University of South Florida. He has worked in Miami, Florida at Baptist Hospital as the Assistant Medical Director of the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit and at Palmetto General Hospital as the Medical Director of the Epilepsy division.


Ai Sumida, M.D. Neurologist

Dr. Sumida is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at McGovern Medical School at UT Health. She is a board-certified epileptologist who is fellowship trained in magnetoencephalography and neurosurgical epilepsy. Her main practice is located in The Woodlands, where she treats patients with epilepsy in the clinic and oversees an inpatient Epilepsy Monitoring Unit.
Dr. Sumida received her medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York. She then completed her neurology residency and epilepsy fellowship in Miami, Florida, at the Jackson Memorial Hospital and University of Miami Hospital. She moved to Houston and completed an advanced fellowship in epilepsy, learning to analyze and interpret magnetoencephalography and stereotactic EEGs to further her skills in the care of patients who may be surgical candidates for the treatment of epilepsy.
Dr. Sumida is a member of the American Academy of Neurology, American Epilepsy Society, American Clinical Neurophysiology Society, and the American Clinical Magnetoencephalography Society. She believes in the importance of academic medicine and values the interdisciplinary approach to patient care. She is committed to providing honest, compassionate, and collaborative care to her patients.


Sudha Tallavajhula, M.D. Neurologist

Dr. Tallavajhula is an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology at McGovern Medical School at UTHSC. She is Medical Director of the Neurological Sleep Medicine Center at The Institute of Rehabilitation and Research, Memorial Hermann Hospital, and Director of the Ambulatory EEG Monitoring Program. Dr. Tallavajhula completed her fellowship training in clinical neurophysiology/epilepsy and then in sleep medicine both at the McGovern Medical School. She underwent residency training in neurology at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas after medical school in India. She currently practices both epilepsy and sleep medicine in several locations across the greater Houston area. Her areas of interest include sleep disorders in patients with neurological conditions, quality care in community sleep medicine, nocturnal and symptomatic epilepsies.


Melissa Thomas, M.D. Neurologist

Dr. Thomas is Assistant Professor in Neurology. She is Director of the Intraoperative Monitoring Program. She received her undergraduate education at Brown University and her medical degree from the University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY. Following her Neurology residency she completed her Clinical Neurophysiology fellowship at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, Houston, Tx. She is an expert epileptologist and neurophysiologist, and specializes in the medical and surgical treatment of intractable epilepsies.


Stephen Thompson, M.D. Neurologist

Dr. Thompson is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at the McGovern School of Medicine and Director of the Stereotactic EEG (SEEG) Program. He is an expert in the presurgical and invasive evaluation of intractable focal epilepsies, and has special interest in imaging and signal post-processing technologies for epilepsy surgery. He received his medical degree from the University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, Canada and did his neurology residency at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. He completed his two year clinical fellowship in Clinical Neurophysiology, EEG and Epilepsy at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio.


Jessica A Johnson, MSN, FNP. Epilepsy Surgery Nurse Practitioner

Jessica Johnson is a Nurse Practitioner/ Neurosurgery Epilepsy program coordinator. She finished her masters in Nursing from University of Texas Houston. She works closely with patients and navigates their journey from clinic to surgery.

 

 

 


Morgan E Talbot, BSN. Nurse Navigator

Morgan Talbot is our Epilepsy Clinical Project Manager and Nurse Navigator. She is a helping hand to all patients seen in the UT epilepsy clinic and Memorial Herman hospital EMU. Born and raised Kentuckian who has recently moved to Houston to continue her career in Neurology. She completed her bachelors of science in nursing degree at the University Of Kentucky and launched her career in the Neuro intensive care unit as a nurse. After finding she really enjoyed the complexity of clinical research she started with the University of Louisville’s pediatric clinical trials unit which ran over 250 studies at any given time. Her focus was inpatient neurology studies as well as NIH funded projects. After 3 years she accepted a position with a partnering hospital as nurse navigator. The position also involved research with the its focus being infections disease. She was published at a national level for work done with Hepatitis C alongside her physician led team. Once the project came to end she decided to move closer to her mother in Houston, Tx. She joined the amazing epilepsy team at UT Health as a nurse navigator to be a helping hand to all patients seen in the UT epilepsy clinic and Memorial Herman hospital EMU. She has returned to school to obtain her MBA in healthcare management and is an iatrical part of the clinical operations of the epilepsy division.


Jaison S Hampson, MBBS. Research Program Manager

Dr. Hampson is the Program Manager for Research in the Department of Neurology at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. He received his medical degree from the Pondicherry University, India, and completed the ECFMG certification. Since graduation, he is actively involved in medical research and has years of research experience in both non-clinical and clinical (phase 2 and phase 3) studies working at Case Western Reserve University, IHA ClinSite, University of Pennsylvania, Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia, and Pondicherry University. He has completed immense research training and understands the principles of clinical research and management. He is an expert in project submissions, administration, and monitoring.


Johnson P Hampson, MSBME. Biomedical Engineering Manager

Johnson Hampson is a Neurological Imaging specialist who works with Neurosurgeons’ and Neurophysiologists’ to localize seizure onsets and facilitate surgical navigation. After his masters in Biomedical Engineering from Michigan, Johnson pursued a career in medical image processing to bridge the gap between Medicine and Engineering. His work has tremendously improved visualization of postop SEEG electrodes for surgical planning and education. He is an expert in image post-processing for epilepsy surgery. He has written and co-authored multiple peer review publications on chronic pain, cancer fatigue and SUDEP research.


Administrative Staff Contact

  • Andrew Coulter
    Administrative Coordinator
    Texas Comprehensive Epilepsy Program
    (832) 325-7071 tel
    (713) 512-2239 fax

Clinical Fellowship

Laura Vilella Bertran, M.D
UTHealth Department of Neurology

 

 

 

 

 

Pedro Balaguera Cuervo, M.D.
UTHealth Department of Neurology

 

 

 

 

 

Chaitanya Ganne, M.D, PhD
UTHealth Department of Neurology

 

 

 

 

 

Amr Hassan, M.D.
UTHealth Department of Neurology

 

 

 

 

 

Elia Malek, M.D.
UTHealth Department of Neurology

 

 

 

 

 

Sherwin Oommen, M.D
UTHealth Department of Neurology

 

 

 

 

 

An Kim Tran, M.D
UTHealth Department of Neurology

 

 

 

 

 

Research Fellowship

Blanca Talavera De La Esperanza, M.D
UTHealth Texas Comprehensive Epilepsy Program

 

 

 

 

Manuela Ochoa-Urrea, M.D
UTHealth Texas Comprehensive Epilepsy Program

 

 

 

 

 

Shirin Jamal-Omidi, M.D
UTHealth Texas Comprehensive Epilepsy Program