All doctors are ABNS-certified or Board-eligible.

Dr. Joseph NeimatJoseph S. Neimat, MD

Chairman, Department of Neurosurgery

Curriculum Vitae  

The appointment of Joseph S. Neimat, M.D., was approved by the UofL Board of Trustees at its Jan. 14 meeting.

“In Joseph Neimat, the UofL School of Medicine is getting a chair with an excellent balance of expertise in research, clinical care and medical education,” Dean Toni M. Ganzel, M.D., said. “His knowledge and skills will greatly benefit our students, residents, patients and community.”

Neimat comes to UofL from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., where he has held a variety of positions: associate professor and the director of human neurophysiological research, neurotrauma, epilepsy surgery and the functional neurosurgery fellowship in the Department of Neurosurgery; and a founding member of the Vanderbilt Initiative in Surgery and Engineering. He was medical director of inpatient neurosurgery and neurosurgery operating rooms at Vanderbilt, and served on the curriculum planning committee of Vanderbilt University Medical School.

He also was chief of neurosurgery for Tennessee Valley Health Care of the Veterans Administration and held joint appointments with Vanderbilt’s Center for Integrative & Cognitive Neuroscience, Psychiatric Neuroimaging Program and Department of Psychology.

Neimat’s current research interests include investigation of the affective and cognitive properties of the basal ganglia – structures located deep in the brain that are responsible for normal movement. His research also examines the clinical application of neural stimulation in the treatment of refractory medical disease, or disease that is resistant to current therapies. He has received funding from the National Institutes of Health as well as from industry to support his research.

He serves as an ad-hoc reviewer for the NIH Study Section on Clinical Neuroscience and Neurodegeneration. He also serves on the Boards of Directors of American Society for Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery and the World Society for Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery. He is the lead or co-author of approximately 90 peer-reviewed articles, published abstracts and textbook chapters.

Neimat earned a bachelor’s degree at Dartmouth, double majoring in music and biochemistry, and then earned a master’s in neurobiology and a medical degree from Duke University. He completed his residency at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and a fellowship in functional neurosurgery at the University of Toronto. He is board certified in neurological surgery.

Thomas J. Altstadt, MD, FAANS

Associate Professor

Curriculum Vitae

Indiana University School of Medicine, M.D.
Neurological Residency Training at Indiana University School of Medicine

Dr. Altstadt specializes in minimally invasive and complex spine surgery and the application of image-guided navigation to the treatment of spinal disorders. He also performs general and peripheral nerve neurosurgery.

Dr. Altstadt joined the University of Louisville Department of Neurosurgery in August, 2012. Prior to coming to UofL, he practiced neurosurgery from 2008-2012 in Oregon with Southern Oregon Neurosurgical & Spine Associates, PC. He is licensed in Kentucky, Indiana and Oregon.

As a junior in medical school, Dr. Altstadt was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. He went on to complete his medical degree, general surgery internship, neurological surgery residency, and an additional postgraduate fellowship in complex spinal surgery at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. Dr. Altstadt is the recipient of the American College of Surgeons Award and the Pittman Surgical Scholarship Award and is the author of numerous peer reviewed articles.


BoakyeMaxwell Boakye, MD, MPH, MBA, FACS, FAANS

Ole A., Mabel Wise & Wilma Wise Nelson Endowed Chair
Chief of Spinal Neurosurgery

Curriculum Vitae

Rutgers University, B.S. Mathematics and Physics
Weill Cornell Medical College, M.D.
Neurosurgical Residency Training at SUNY-Upstate
Subspeciality training in complex spinal neurosurgery at Emory University
  Training in spinal oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Dr. Boakye specializes in general and complex spinal neurosurgery, spinal radiosurgery and minimally invasive neurosurgery.

In January 2011, Dr. Boakye moved his outcomes research laboratory and spinal cord injury labs from Stanford University to the Center for Advanced Neurosurgery at the University of Louisville. He recently submitted 4 neurosurgical outcomes research grants and one KSCHIRT grant investigating longitudinal outcomes of morphological sequelae of traumatic brain injury. Accomplishments this year include 6 published peer-reviewed publications, 1 accepted peer-reviewed publication, completion of University of Louisville enrollment for use of Riluzole in acute spinal cord injury, development of neurotrauma registry at the University and establishment of human transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS lab) at Frazier rehab institute. He has also helped to implement a protocol for diffusion tensor imaging, voxel based morphometry and resting state FMRI at the Department of Neuroradiology at the University of Louisville.

The overall goals of my lab is to understand the physiology and plasticity of the sensorimotor system in health and in patients with spinal cord and brain injury and to use that knowledge to develop new surrogate markers of recovery, new methods of injury prognostication and new therapies for spinal cord and brain injury. Research in this section uses noninvasive multimodal methodologies including functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI), diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), electroencephalography (EEG), somatosensory evoked potentials (SEP), and peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) technologies to gain a comprehensive understanding of the physiology and plasticity of the sensorimotor system in healthy patients and in patients with spinal cord and brain injury.


Robert F. James, MD, FAANS

Associate Professor
Chief, Vascular Neurosurgery

Curriculum Vitae

West Chester University, B.S., Chemistry and Biology
Tulane University School of Medicine, M.D.
Neurosurgical Residency Training at University of Maryland Medical Center? and R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center
Interventional Neuroradiology Training at University of Maryland Medical Center
Cerebrovascular and Endovascular Neurosurgery Fellowship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Dr. James’ clinical interests include open and minimally-invasive brain aneurysm treatments, aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage, arteriovenous malformations (AVM), arteriovenous fistulas, acute stroke, cavernous malformations, carotid artery stenosis treatments including carotid stenting and open carotid endarterectomy, carotid-cavernous fistula, peripheral nerve entrapment surgery, trigeminal neuralgia (tic douloureux) microvascular decompression, Adult Chiari syndrome, Moyamoya disease, traumatic brain injury, sports-related concussion, meningiomas, head and neck tumor embolization, and radiosurgery (Gamma Knife and Cyberknife).

Past Experience: Dr. James is board-certified as a diplomate of the American Board of Neurological Surgery and is a Senior Member of the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery. Dr. James is a member of an elite group of neurosurgeons dual-trained in both open cranial neurovascular surgery and minimally-invasive endovascular neurosurgery. Dr. James served as faculty and Instructor of Clinical Neurosurgery with the Department of Neurological Surgery at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Dr. James then joined the faculty at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University as an Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery and was successful in building the first joint cerebrovascular and endovascular neurosurgery program in eastern North Carolina serving a population of over 1.3 million people.

Current Position and Expertise: Dr. James was recruited to join the University of Louisville School of Medicine as Associate Professor of Neurosurgery and Chief of Vascular Neurosurgery. Dr. James is a nationally known and highly regarded expert in both open cerebrovascular and minimally-invasive endovascular neurosurgery. This dual-training allows Dr. James to offer an unbiased medical opinion in regards to which treatment option is best for his patients.

Dr. James has been invited to speak at numerous national neurosurgery and neuroendovascular meetings in his area of expertise and has published many scientific articles on cerebrovascular disease treatments. He is a committed educator having taught dozens of residents and fellows as faculty at national neuroendovascular practical courses. Dr. James gained recent recognition as the only neurosurgeon invited to write two chapters in the cerebrovascular section of Neurosurgery Knowledge Update, a new book planned for publication by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS).

Cerebrovascular and Stroke Research: Dr. James won the 2012 Robert Simon Chair of Research from the Brain Aneurysm Foundation and the East-West Collaboration Grant Award for his research evaluating heparin in aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. He has gained additional grant funding to lead a national, multi-center clinical trial based out of the University of Louisville that will evaluate low-dose heparin administration following cerebral aneurysm rupture. This study is designed to reduce neuroinflammation and prevent memory and cognitive deficits commonly seen in patients who survive a ruptured brain aneurysm. In addition, Dr. James will be bringing the HEAT aneurysm coiling trial to the University of Louisville that will compare gel coated coils to traditional coils in an attempt to understand which type of coil is better at fixing brain aneurysms. Dr. James will also be bringing a National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded clinical trial named MISTIE 3 to the University of Louisville that will evaluate new surgical treatments for hemorrhagic stroke, where current treatment options are very limited. Dr. James’ interest in clinical research stems from his commitment to find the safest and most effective methods to treat his patients who often have the most complex neurovascular problems. He would like to improve our understanding of these potentially devastating cerebrovascular disorders and to improve outcomes for all patients who suffer from them.



Haring J.W. Nauta, MD, PhD, FACS

Director, Neurosurgery Residency Program

Curriculum Vitae

Duke University, B.S., Biology and Chemistry; Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, M.D.; Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Ph.D.; Neurosurgical Residency Training at University of Toronto

Dr. Nauta’s long and distinguished career began when he was a Guest Investigator at the Institut fur Hirnforschung der Universitat in Zurich, Switzerland. From there he became an Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Toronto. Two years later, he joined the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston as an Associate Professor of Neurosurgery.

He then spent an eight year stint as an Associate Professor of Neurosurgery and Radiation Oncology at the prestigious Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Afterwards, he returned to the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, this time as a Professor of Neurosurgery. He later served as Chairman of their Neurosurgery department.

Dr. Nauta joined the University of Louisville in 2010. At UofL, he specializes in brain and spinal cord tumors, aneurysms and AVMs, lumbar stenosis, cervical disc disease, Chiari malformation, syringomyelia, adult hydrocephalus and special procedures for pain. He is also the Director of the department’s Residency Program.


 Brian Williams, MD

Assistant Professor
Director of Brain Tumor Program

Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Brian Williams is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Louisville. He joined the faculty in August 2016 after completing his residency in neurological surgery and specialty training in neurosurgical oncology and skull base surgery. Dr. Williams has special expertise in treating primary and metastatic tumors of the brain, spine, and skull base. He has multiple awards recognizing his excellence in research including the Integra Foundation Award from the Congress of Neurological Surgeons and the Crutchfield Gage Award from the Neurosurgical Society of the Virginias. Dr. Williams's laboratory effort focuses on understanding the stem cell biology of glioblastoma tumor cells and the role of hypoxia signaling in peritumoral edema.

In addition to his sub-specialty, Dr. Williams performs general neurosurgery and spinal surgery including spinal deformity correction procedures and minimally invasive procedures. He is licensed in Kentucky and Texas.