Neuromodulation @ University of Utah



Neuromodulation @ University of Utah

The Rolston Lab studies how information is processed in the brain, and how this processing goes awry in diseases like epilepsy and movement disorders. We also investigate how electrical stimulation rewires the brain in neurological and psychiatric diseases.


Lab Members

Lab Members


John Rolston

Dr. John Rolston is a neurosurgeon and neuroscientist at the University of Utah, where he is the Director of Epilepsy Surgery and Director of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery. Clinically, he specializes in epilepsy surgery (including laser ablation), deep brain stimulation (DBS) for movement disorders (Parkinson’s, dystonia, tremor), trigeminal neuralgia, and neuromodulation for psychiatric disorders (such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and Tourette’s syndrome). Dr. Rolston received his Bachelor’s degree in computer science from Columbia University, before studying brain-computer interfaces for epilepsy during his PhD, where he worked with Dr. Steve Potter at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Dr. Robert Gross at Emory University. He received an MD from Emory University before completing his residency training in neurosurgery at the University of California, San Francisco.

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Tyler Davis, MD, PhD

Tyler Davis received both the MD and PhD degrees from the University of Utah in 2007 and 2013 respectively. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Utah. 

His research interests include the development of clinically viable neural interface systems for a broad range of applications including prosthetics and the treatment of epilepsy. 

BP Headshot.jpg

Brian Philip, M.Sc.

Brian Philip received a B.S. in Biology from SUNY Albany and a M.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering from SUNY Binghamton. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Neural Interfaces Engineering at University of Utah working under supervision of Dr. John Rolston. His aims are to identify and model how diseases affect information processing within the brain and  how to modulate neural activity to treat the affected regions.

Available Positions

Post-doc and graduate student positions available! Please send a CV and statement of interest to




Journal Articles

  1. Rolston JD, Chang EF. “Critical language areas show increased functional connectivity in human cortex.” (in press) Cerebral Cortex.
  2. Muller L, Rolston JD, Fox N, Knowlton R, Rao V, Chang EF. “Direct electrical stimulation of the human cortex evokes high gamma activity that predicts conscious somatosensory perception.” (in press) Journal of Neural Engineering
  3. Krucoff MO, Chan AY, Harward SC, Rahimpour S, Rolston JD, Muh C, Englot DJ. “Rates and predictors of success and failure in repeat epilepsy surgery: a meta-analysis and systematic review.” (in press) Epilepsia.
  4. Rolston JD, Deng H, Wang DD, Englot DJ, Chang EF. "Multiple Subpial Transections for Medically Refractory Epilepsy: A Disaggregated Review of Patient-Level Data." (in press) Neurosurgery.
  5. Harward SC, Chen WC, Rolston JD, Haglund MM, Englot DJ. “Seizure Outcomes in Occipital Lobe and Posterior Quadrant Epilepsy Surgery: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” (in press) Neurosurgery.
  6. Burke JF, Peters A, Rolston JD. “Intracranial electroencephalography for Alzheimer’s.” (2017) Neurosurgery 81(3):N23-N24.
  7. Englot DJ, Hassnain KH, Rolston JD, Harward SC, Sinha SR, Haglund MM. “Quality-of-life metrics with vagus nerve stimulation for epilepsy from provider survey data.” (2017) Epilepsy & Behavior 66:4-9.
  8. Rolston JD, Englot DJ, Starr PA, Larson PS. “An unexpectedly high rate of revisions and removals in deep brain stimulation surgery: Analysis of multiple databases.” (2016) Parkinsonism and Related Disorders 33:72-77. 
  9. Rolston JD, Han SJ, Chang EF. “Systemic inaccuracies in the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database: Implications for accuracy and validity for neurosurgery outcomes research.” (2017) Journal of Clinical Neuroscience 37:44-47.
  10. Rolston JD, Englot DJ, Knowlton RC, Chang EF. “Rates and complications of adult epilepsy surgery in North America: Analysis of multiple databases.” (2016) Epilepsy Research 124:55-62. 
  11. Desai SA, Rolston JD, McCracken CE, Potter SM, Gross RE. “Asynchronous distributed multielectrode microstimulation reduces seizures in the dorsal tetanus toxin model of temporal lobe epilepsy.” (2016) Brain Stimulation 9(1):86-100. 
  12. Rolston JD. “Surgical Strategies for Epilepsy in Eloquent Areas.” (2016) J Epilepsy 2:103. 
  13. Michalak SM, Rolston JD, Lawton MT. “Incidence and Predictors of Complications and Mortality in Cerebrovascular Surgery: National Trends From 2007 to 2012” (2016) Neurosurgery 79(2):182-93. 
  14. Rolston JD, Han SJ, Aghi MK. “Nationwide shift from microscopic to endoscopic transsphenoidal pituitary surgery.” (2016) Pituitary 19(3):248-50. 
  15. Englot DJ, Rolston JD, Wright CW, Hassnain KH, Chang EF. “Rates and Predictors of Seizure Freedom With Vagus Nerve Stimulation for Intractable Epilepsy.” (2016) Neurosurgery 79(3):345-53. 
  16. Ramos A, Rolston JD, Gauger GE, Larson PS. “Spinal subdural abscess following laminectomy for symptomatic stenosis: A report of two cases and review of the literature.” (2016) American Journal of Case Reports 17:476-83. 
  17. Rolston JD, Englot DJ, Cornes S, Chang EF. “Major and minor complications in extraoperative electrocorticography: a review of a national database.” (2016) Epilepsy Research 122:26-9. 
  18. Englot DJ, Nagarajan SS, Wang DD, Rolston JD, Mizuiri D, Honma SM, Mantle M, Tarapore PE, Knowlton RC, Chang EF, Kirsch HE. “The sensitivity and significance of lateralized interictal slow activity on magnetoencephalography in focal epilepsy.” (2016) Epilepsy Research 121:21-28. 
  19. Rolston JD, Chang EF. “Stereotactic Laser Ablation for Hypothalamic Hamartoma.” (2016) Neurosurgery Clinics of North America 27(1):59-67.
  20. Wang DD, Knox R, Rolston JD, Englot DJ, Barkovich AJ, Tihan T, Auguste KI, Knowlton RC, Cornes SB, Chang EF. “Surgical management of medically-refractory epilepsy in patients with polymicrogyria.” (2016) Epilepsia 57(1):151-61.
  21. Michalak SM, Rolston JD, Lawton MT. “Prospective, Multidisciplinary Recording of Perioperative Errors in Cerebrovascular Surgery: Is error in the eye of the beholder?” (2016) Journal of Neurosurgery 124(6):1794-804. 
  22. Han SJ, Rolston JD, Zygourakis CC, Sun MZ, McDermott MW, Lau CY, Aghi MK. “Preventing Delays in First-Case Starts on the Neurosurgery Service: A Resident-Led Initiative at an Academic Institution.” (2016) Journal of Surgical Education 73(2):291-5. 
  23. Birk HS, Han SJ, Rolston JD, Rowland NC, Lau C, Theodosopoulos PV, McDermott MW. “Resident-led Implementation of a Standardized Handoff System to Facilitate Transfer of Postoperative Neurosurgical Patients to the ICU” (2016) Cureus 18;8(1):e461 
  24. Rolston JD, Ramos A, Heath S, Englot DJ, Lim DA. “Thalamotomy-like effects from partial removal of a ventral intermediate nucleus deep brain stimulator lead in a patient with essential tremor: Case Report.” (2015) Neurosurgery 77(5):E831-7. 
  25. Rolston JD, Englot DJ, Wang DD, Garcia PA, Chang EF. “Corpus callosotomy versus vagus nerve stimulation for atonic seizures and drop attacks: A systematic review.” (2015) Epilepsy & Behavior 51:13-17. 
  26. Rolston JD, Englot DJ, Benet A, Li J, Cha S, Berger MS. “Frontal Operculum Gliomas: Language Outcome following Resection.” (2015) Journal of Neurosurgery 122(4):725-34. 
  27. Rolston JD, Han SJ, Parsa AT. “Quality Improvement in Neurosurgery.” (2015) Neurosurgery Clinics in North America 26(2):xiii-xiv. 
  28. Rolston JD, Bernstein M. “Errors in Neurosurgery.” (2015) Neurosurgery Clinics in North America 26(2):149-55. 
  29. Han SJ, Rolston JD, Lay CY, Berger MS. “Improving patient safety in neurologic surgery.” (2015) Neurosurgery Clinics in North America 26(2):143-7. 
  30. Asher AL, Parker SL, Rolston JD, Selden NR, McGirt MJ. “Using clinical registries to improve the quality of neurosurgical care.” (2015) Neurosurgery Clinics of North America 26(2):253-63. 
  31. Rolston JD, Ouyang D, Englot DJ, Wang DD, Chang EF. “National trends and complication rates for invasive extraoperative electrocorticography in the USA.” (2015) Journal of Clinical Neuroscience S0967-5868(14)00717-6. 
  32. Zygourakis CC, Rolston JD, Lee HS, Partow C, Kunwar S, Aghi MK. “Pituicytomas and Spindle Cell Oncocytomas: Modern Case Series from the University of California, San Francisco.” (2015) Pituitary 18(1):150-8.
  33. Scheer JK, Smith JS, Clark AJ, Lafage V, Kim HJ, Rolston JD, Eastlack R, Hart RA, Protopsaltis TS, Kelly MP, Kebaish K, Gupta M, Klineberg E, Hostin R, Shaffrey CI, Schwab F, Ames CP, International Spine Study Group (ISSG). “Comprehensive study of back and leg pain improvements after adult spinal deformity surgery: analysis of 421 patients with 2-year follow-up and of the impact of the surgery on treatment satisfaction.” (2015) Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine 22(5):540-53.
  34. Scheer JK, Mundis GM, Klineberg E, Hart RA, Deviren V, Burton DC, Protopsaltis TS, Gupta M, Rolston JD, Bess S, Shaffrey CI, Schwab F, Lafage V, Smith JS, Ames CP, International Spine Study Group (ISSG). “Recovery following adult spinal deformity surgery: the effect of complications and reoperation in 149 patients with 2-year follow-up.” (2015) European Spine Journal. 
  35. Rolston JD, Zygourakis CC, Han SJ, Lau CY, Berger MS. “Medical Errors in Neurosurgery.” (2014) Surgical Neurology International 5(Suppl 10):S435-40. 
  36. Rolston JD, Han SJ, Bloch O, Parsa AT. “What clinical factors predict incidence of Deep Venous Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism in Neurosurgical Patients?” (2014) Journal of Neurosurgery 121(4):908-18. 
  37. Zygourakis CC, Rolston JD, Treadway J, Chang S, Kliot M. “What do hotels and hospitals have in common? How we can learn from the hotel industry to take better care of patients.” (2014) Surgical Neurology International 5(Suppl 2):S49-53. 
  38. Han SJ, Rolston JD, Molinaro AM, Clarke JL, Prados MD, Chang SM, Berger MS, Desliva A, Butowski NA. “Phase II Trial of 7days on/7 days off temozolmide for recurrent high-grade glioma.” (2014) Neuro-oncology 16(9):1255-62. 
  39. Rolston JD, Han SJ, Lau CY, Berger MS, Parsa AT. “Frequency and predictors of complications in neurological surgery: national trends from 2006-2011.” (2014) Journal of Neurosurgery 120(3):736-45. 
  40. Rolston JD, Han SJ, Cotter JA, El-Sayed IH, Aghi MK. “Gangliogliomas of the optic pathway.” (2014) Journal of Clinical Neuroscience 21(12):2244-9.
  41. Englot DJ, Han SJ, Rolston JD, Ivan ME, Kuperman RA, Chang EF, Gupta N, Sullivan JE, Auguste KI. “Epilepsy surgery failure in children: a quantitative and qualitative anaylsis.” (2014) Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics 14(4):386-95. 
  42. Han SJ, Rolston JD, Jahangiri A, Aghi MK. “Rathke's cleft cysts: review of natural history and surgical outcomes.” (2014) Journal of Neuro-oncology 117(2):197-203. 
  43. Wang DD, Lau D, Rolston JD, Englot DJ, Sneed PK, McDermott MW. “Pain experience using conventional versus angled anterior posts during stereotactic head frame placement for radiosurgery.” (2014) Journal of Clinical Neuroscience. 
  44. Han SJ, Saigal R, Rolston JD, Cheng JS, Lau CY, Mistry RI, McDermott MW, Berger MS. “Targeted reduction in neurosurgical laboratory utilization: resident-led effort at a single academic institution.” (2014) Journal of Neurosurgery 120(1):173-7. 
  45. Smart O, Rolston JD, Epstein CM, Gross RE. “Hippocampal seizure-onset laterality can change over long timescales: A same-patient observation over 500 days.” (2013) Epilepsy & Behavior Case Reports 1:56-61. 
  46. Rolston JD, Han SJ, McDermott MW. “Keyhole revision after failed subdural craniostomy for chronic subdural hematoma: technical note.” (2013) Curēus. 
  47. Wang DD, Ouyang D, Englot DJ, Rolston JD, Molinaro AM, Ward M, Chang EF. “Trends in surgical treatment for trigeminal neuralgia in the United States of America from 1988 to 2008.” (2013) Journal of Clinical Neuroscience 20(11):1538-45. 
  48. Englot DJ, Rolston JD, Wang DD, Sun PP, Chang EF, Auguste KI. “Seizure outcomes after temporal lobectomy in pediatric patients.” (2013) Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics 12(2):134-41.
  49. Englot DJ, Ouyang D, Wang DD, Rolston JD, Garcia PA, Chang EF. “Relationship between hospital surgical volume, lobectomy rates, and adverse perioperative events at US epilepsy centers.” (2013) Journal of Neurosurgery 118(1):169-74.
  50. Englot DJ, Rolston JD, Wang DD, Hassnain KH, Gordon CM, Chang EF. “Efficacy of vagus nerve stimulation in posttraumatic versus nontraumatic epilepsy.” (2012) Journal of Neurosurgery 117(5):970-7.
  51. Rolston JD, Blevins LS Jr. “Gamma knife radiosurgery for acromegaly.” (2012) International Journal of Endocrinology 2012:821579
  52. Rolston JD, Englot DJ, Wang DD, Shih T, Chang EF. “Comparison of seizure control outcomes and the safety of vagus nerve, thalamic deep brain, and responsive neurostimulation: evidence from randomized controlled trials.” (2012) Neurosurgical Focus 32(3):E14.
  53. Englot DJ, Wang DD, Rolston JD, Shih TT, Chang EF. “Rates and predictors of long-term seizure freedom after frontal lobe epilepsy surgery: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” (2012) Journal of Neurosurgery 116(5):1042-8.
  54. Quigg M, Rolston J, Barbaro NM. “Radiosurgery for epilepsy: clinical experience and potential antiepileptic mechanisms.” (2012) Epilepsia 53(1):7-15.
  55. Pastrana EA, Saavedra FM, Murray G, Estronza S, Rolston JD, Rodriguez-Vega G. “Acute adrenal insufficiency in cervical spinal cord injury.” (2012) World Neurosurgery 77(3-4):561-3.
  56. Rolston JD, Desai SA, Laxpati NG, Gross RE. “Electrical stimulation for epilepsy: experimental approaches.” (2011) Neurosurgery Clinics of North America 22(4):425-42.
  57. Rolston JD, Quigg M, Barbaro NM. “Gamma knife radiosurgery for mesial temporal lobe epilepsy.” (2011) Epilepsy Research and Treatment 2011:840616.
  58. Rolston JD, Laxpati NG, Gutekunst CA, Potter SM, Gross RE. “Spontaneous and evoked high-frequency oscillations in the tetanus toxin model of epilepsy.” (2010) Epilepsia 51(11):2289-96.
  59. Rolston JD, Gross RE, Potter SM. “Closed-loop, open-source electrophysiology.” (2010) Frontiers in Neuroscience 2010;4.
  60. Hales CM, Rolston JD, Potter SM. “How to culture, record and stimulate neuronal networks on micro-electrode arrays (MEAs).” (2010) Journal of Visualized Experiments 30;(39)
  61. Desai SA, Rolston JD, Guo L, Potter SM. “Improving impedance of implantable microwire multi-electrode arrays by ultrasonic electroplating of durable platinum black.” (2010) Frontiers in Neuroengineering 2010;3:5.
  62. Rolston JD, Gross RE, Potter SM. “NeuroRighter: closed-loop multielectrode stimulation and recording for freely moving animals and cell cultures.” (2009) Conference Proceedings of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society 2009:6489-92.
  63. Rolston JD, Gross RE, Potter SM. “Common median referencing for improved action potential detection with multielectrode arrays.” (2009) Conference Proceedings of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society 2009:1604-7.
  64. Jiménez L, Pastrana EA, Rodriguez-Vega G, Rolston JD. “Ventilator bundle compliance: Report from a neurosurgical intensive care unit.” (2009) Critical Care & Shock 12:109-116.
  65. Schacter SC, Guttag J, Schiff SJ, Schomer DL, Summit Contributors. “Advances in the Application of Technology to Epilepsy: The CIMIT/NIO Epilepsy Innovation Summit.” (2009) Epilepsy & Behavior 16(1):3-46.
  66. Rolston JD, Gross RE, Potter SM. “A low-cost multielectrode system for data acquisition enabling real-time closed-loop processing with rapid recovery from stimulation artifacts.” (2009) Frontiers in Neuroengineering 2009;2:12.
  67. Gross RE, Rolston JD. “The clinical utility of methods to determine spatial extent and volume of tissue activated by deep brain stimulation.” (2008) Clinical Neurophysiology 119(9):1947-50.
  68. Rolston JD, Wagenaar DA, Potter SM. “Precisely timed spatiotemporal patterns of neural activity in dissociated cortical cultures.” (2007) Neuroscience 148(1):294-303.

Book Chapters

  1. Rolston JD, Lau CY, Berger MS. “Improving Patient Safety.” (2016) Youmans and Winn Neurological Surgery, 7th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier.
  2. Harward SC, Rolston JD, Englot DJ. “Seizures in Meningioma.” (in press) McDermott and Theodosopoulos: Meningiomas. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier.

Book Reviews

  1. Rolston JD. “Neuroengineering by D.J. DiLorenzo and J.D. Bronzino.” (2009) Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery 87:199-201.