The Stanford Stroke Center Team - Faculty

Gregory W. Albers, MD
Director, Stanford Stroke Center
Coyote Foundation Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences

Dr. Albers has been the Director of the Stanford Stroke Center since its inception in 1992. He is a leader in the clinical care of stroke patients as well as cerebrovascular research and education. Dr. Albers has published over 250 articles in the medical literature and has been the principal investigator of more than 60 clinical studies. He has chaired multiple consensus panels that have published national and international guidelines for stroke treatment and prevention. Under his guidance, the Stroke Center has trained more than 30 clinical stroke specialists; many of these individuals are directing stroke centers at academic institutions thoughout the country. Dr. Albers' current research focus is the use of new MRI techniques to expand the treatment window for reperfusion therapy. He is also a leader in the effort to redefine TIA as well as clarify its prognosis and optimal management.

Marion S. Buckwalter, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, and Neurosurgery

Dr. Buckwalter joined the Stroke Center in 2002 after her fellowship training at University of California San Francisco. Specialty trained in both neurocritical care and stroke, she oversees the care of patients who are neurologically critically ill. She also maintains a basic science laboratory at Stanford. Her lab focuses on how inflammatory responses after brain injury affect neurological recovery. In the United States, there are 4 million people currently living with the effects of stroke, and another 4.3 million living with the effects of traumatic brain injury. Of the people who have had a stroke, many are disabled to the degree that they cannot work, and a significant proportion are unable to walk, feed themselves, or communicate with their families the way they could prior to their stroke. Despite this very high number of people who are suffering, there is a large knowledge gap regarding the mechanisms by which neurological recovery occurs, and not a single FDA-approved therapy available to help people recover. There is reason to think that such a therapy might be obtainable - we know that some people, especially younger ones, experience significant recovery after stroke. Animal studies, almost entirely done in young animals, also demonstrate significant recovery after neurological injury. Dr. Buckwalter's goal is thus to better understand the mechanisms that contribute to recovery in the young, and how they are influenced by inflammatory responses. With better knowledge of these responses, she hopes to be able to develop new therapies that will help people recover better from stroke and other brain injuries.

Anna Finley Caulfield, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences

Dr. Finley Caulfield joined the Stanford Stroke Center in 2004 from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. She is specialty-trained both in stroke and neurocritical care. She cares for acute stroke patients and other neurologically critical ill patients in the intensive care unit. Currently, her research interests include hypothermia after cardiac arrest and comparing health care provider's predications of future neurological function in neurologically critical ill patients to their 6-month outcome.

Paul George MD, PhD
Clinical Instructor, Neurology and Neurological Sciences

Dr. George joined the Stanford Stroke Center in 2012 to complete his Vascular Neurology fellowship and has remained as a Clinical Instructor.  His clinical and research interests are centered on acute stroke and stroke recovery.  He cares for hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke patients in the inpatient and outpatient settings.   His research focuses on the application of novel biotechnologies to improve recovery from stroke.  Currently, limited treatment options are available for stroke patients outside of the acute timeframe. He is working in the lab of Dr. Steinberg combining stem cell therapeutics and novel polymers to improve healing after stroke. His work also utilizes biomedical methods to better understand the mechanisms of neural recovery after injury.

Karen Hirsch, MD
Assistant Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences

Program Director, Neurocritical Care

Dr. Karen G. Hirsch joined the Stanford Stroke Center in 2012 as an Assistant Professor after completing neurology residency at the Johns Hopkins University and fellowship in neurocritical care at the University of California, San Francisco. She cares for critically ill patients with neurologic disorders in the intensive care unit and for patients with cerebrovascular disease in the inpatient stroke unit. Dr. Hirsch’s research focuses on novel imaging techniques such as functional brain imaging in patients with cardiac arrest and traumatic brain injury. She also studies methods of non-invasive measurement of cerebral blood flow, oxygenation, and cerebrovascular autoregulation and how these parameters might be targeted to improve outcome in patients with neurologic injury. In the outpatient clinic, she sees patients with head injury, stroke and other neurovascular diseases in addition to patients who have been discharged from the neurological intensive care unit.

Maarten Lansberg, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences

Dr. Lansberg joined the Stanford Stroke Center in 1997. His main clinical and research interest is the acute treatment of stroke patients. His research has focused on defining the utility of modern imaging techniques for the evaluation of acute stroke. These techniques include diffusion-weighted MRI, perfusion-weighted MRI and CT perfusion. The ultimate goal of his research is to develop more effective treatment strategies for stroke patients. Dr. Lansberg is currently leading a National Institutes of Health funded multicenter clinical trial investigating the role of CT Perfusion in identifying patients who are most likely to benefit from stroke therapies.

Neil Schwartz, MD, PhD
Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences

Dr. Schwartz joined the Stanford Stroke Center in 2004 as a Fellow in Vascular Neurology and has remained on as Faculty since 2007. Currently, his primary focus is the care of patients with cerebrovascular disease in both the inpatient and outpatient setting. His expertise extends to critically ill patients in the Neurointensive Care Unit with ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes. He has a particular interest and expertise in cervical artery dissection, non-atherosclerotic vasculopathies, and stroke in the young adult. Dr Schwartz is a national leader in neurological education and is the Program Director for the Stanford Neurology Residency Program and serves as one of the Unit-Based Medical Directors for Stanford Hospital & Clinics.

Chitra Venkatasubramanian, MBBS, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences

Dr. Venkatasubramanian is a board certified vascular neurologist and neurointensivist who joined the Stanford Stroke Center in 2005 as a Fellow after completing successive residency training in internal medicine and neurology at Stanford University Medical Center. She also holds a Masters degree in Clinical Trials from LSHTM, University of London and is a board certified neurosonologist. She has been on faculty since 2007.  Her primary focus is the clinical care of neurologically critically ill patients in the intensive care unit and patients with acute stroke and TIA in the inpatient stroke unit. In addition, she sees patients with stroke and neurovascular diseases in her stroke clinic and patients discharged from the neurological ICU, in the "Outcomes clinic".

Her research focuses on the study of brain edema and tissue perfusion in intracerebral hemorrhage using novel MRI techniques and biomarkers. She is the Stanford prinicipal investigator for several clinical trials in intracerebral hemorrhage. She also spearheads protocol development and quality improvement in the areas of emergency anticoagulation reversal, hypothermia after cardiac arrest, brain death and organ donation and pre-hospital neurocritical care for Lifeflight transport. She is keenly interested in the introduction of novel technologies in the ICU for delivering cutting edge neurocritical care.

Nirali Vora, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences

Dr. Vora provides comprehensive care for all stroke patients, as well as hospitalized adults with acute or undiagnosed neurological conditions. She specializes in treating vascular disorders including TIA, vasculitis, dissection, venous thrombosis, and undetermined or “cryptogenic” causes of stroke. She leads the Stanford Global Health Neurology program, through which she started the first stroke unit in Zimbabwe and gained experience in HIV neurology and other neuro-infectious diseases. Additional research interests include stroke prevention, eliminating disparities in health care, and global neurology education. She joined the Stanford Stroke Center in 2013 and is a board-certified neurologist, with additional fellowship training in vascular neurology.