Walter L. Copeland Laboratory for Neurological Research

The Walter L. Copeland Laboratory serves as a central facility for research and development within the Department of Neurological Surgery. Located on the ninth floor of Scaife Hall, the laboratory was dedicated on November 29, 2001 by L. Dade Lunsford, MD.The laboratory houses several research disciplines and core facilities which provide resources and services for a wide range of neurosurgery faculty, residents, visiting fellows, and students. Core services in the areas of biochemistry, histology, and immunohistochemistry are offered in this facility. Neurotrauma, brain tumor, , brain imaging, and neuroanatomical research are the primary initiatives being conducted in the laboratory. A significant amount of this work is funded by The Walter L. Copeland Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation, a fund that has provided resources for research at the University of Pittsburgh since 1961. 

The laboratory for Clinical Neurotrauma Research Team is located in the Copeland Laboratory. Led by David O. Okonkwo, MD, PhD, the team conducts innovative clinical research on brain monitoring methods and biomarkers as well as the evaluation of neurotherapeutics for traumatic brain injury. 

The Surgical Neuroanatomy Laboratory and the Fiber Tractography Laboratory are also located in the Copeland Laboratory. Both of these laboratories are under the direction of Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda MD. Residents and visiting fellows train in neuroanatomy and the development of minimally invasive endoNeurosurgical approaches to the brain. New routes to various brain locations are developed using in vitro models.

The Fiber Tractography Lab is focused on the application of HDFT for presurgical planning and intraoperative navigation to facilitate brain function preservation and improve resection rates in patients with complex brain lesions. The laboratory’s work is also centered on studying the structure and connectivity of the fiber tracts forming the “normal” human brain, and their structural alteration in patients with brain tumors, vascular lesions, stroke, and neurodegenerative diseases. 

Wendy Fellows-Mayle, PhD, is coordinator of the Copeland Laboratory.