David Darrow, MD, MPH, has joined the U’s Neurosurgery Department faculty as an Assistant Professor. A 2020 graduate of the department’s neurosurgical residency program, Dr. Darrow earned his MD and MPH (Master’s in Public Health) from University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, TX; and a BS in physics and BS in mathematics from Texas A&M University in College Station.

As a clinician, Dr. Darrow treats patients with pain (trigeminal neuralgia, facial pain, chronic pain), movement disorders (Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, dystonia), neuropsychiatric disease, and epilepsy. “My practice is everything about pain and proper functioning of the nervous system to help patients feel like themselves again,” said Dr. Darrow. “I want to extend my experience and expertise in functional neurosurgery by providing deep brain stimulation and neuromodulation.”

In addition to patient care, Dr. Darrow is devoting 75 percent of his time to research, thanks to support from MnDRIVE (Minnesota’s Discovery, Research, and InnoVation Economy) and the Institute of Translational Neuroscience. He is working with Alex Herman, PhD, of the U’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, in the Herman Darrow Lab. “Alex and I are focused on the main systems of the brain – reward, cognitive, and mood,” he said. “We want to know how all these systems affect one another to better understand how we can treat chronic pain, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and addiction.”

Dr. Darrow’s work with the E-STAND (Epidural Stimulation After Neurologic Damage) spinal cord injury study will also continue at two locations in the Twin Cities. Published results from the study have shown that spinal cord stimulation can immediately restore some voluntary movement and autonomic functions, such as cardiovascular, bowel, and bladder, years after a paralyzing injury — without any significant rehabilitation. “This was an opportunity to use epidural stimulation combined with my background in mathematics, to collaborate with people from multiple disciplines, including biomedical engineering, and set up a truly innovative trial,” said Dr. Darrow.

He will build on the skills he learned during his chief resident year to continue teaching neurosurgery residents at the U, while engaging several in research. Dr. Darrow especially likes to balance evidence-based medicine with neuromodulation in such a way that treatments are tailored for each patient.

In his spare time, Dr. Darrow enjoys a good book, cycling, amateur radio, and sailing.

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