Gene G. Gurkoff, Ph.D.

Associate Professor



Traumatic Brain Injury


Locations and Contact

Neurosciences Building

Neurosciences Building
1515 Newton Ct.
Davis, CA 95616

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Philosophy of Care

My primary research interests are in traumatic brain injury and epilepsy. The primary focus of traumatic brain injury research is acute neuroprotection. The majority of epilepsy research is related to reducing seizures. There is little research in either field related to the chronic injury-related dysfunction including cognitive, and social deficits. Moreover, there are minimal efforts to develop innovative therapies to improve the quality of life for these individuals with chronic behavioral and emotional dysfunction.

My lab uses animal models of traumatic brain injury and epilepsy to better understand the physiological and anatomical basis for chronic cognitive and social deficits in both the pediatric and adult rat. Our current focus is on using advanced in-vivo electrophysiology techniques to identify systems-level changes in brain function and with the goal of developing novel and innovative neuromodulatory approaches for treating patients suffering chronic cognitive deficits following traumatic brain injury.

Clinical Interests

Dr. Gurkoff’s current research focuses on how brain injuries, such as traumatic brain injury and epilepsy, can lead to alterations in brain connectivity, brain excitability and cognitive dysfunction. Moreover, Dr. Gurkoff hypothesizes that using techniques to modulate neural activity, either electrically or chemically, can entrain injured networks and improve outcome.

His goal is to work with his surgical colleagues to translate innovative and efficacious therapeutic interventions for trauma and epilepsy patients from the bench to the bedside.

Research/Academic Interests

Dr. Gurkoff's research is centered around decoding changes in neural activity in models of traumatic brain injury and epilepsy that correlate with cognitive changes. Further, he is using these data to develop novel tools, and specifically deep brain stimulation, with the goal of improving or restoring outcome in individuals with chronic deficits. Dr. Gurkoff is committed to working with a diverse team, including individuals with different expertise (i.e. basic neuroscience, neuroengineering and clinical) and career experience (i.e. undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate training).


Neurological Surgery

Center/Program Affiliation

Center for Neuroscience

Undergraduate School

Sc.B., Neuroscience, Brown University, Providence RI 1998

Other School

Ph.D., Neuroscience, UC Los Angeles, Los Angeles CA 2006


Neurological Surgery/Neuroscience, UC Davis, Davis CA 2007-2012

UC Davis Neuroscience Graduate Group: Outstanding Graduate Mentor in Neuroscience, 2018, 2019

UC Davis Neuroscience Graduate Faculty: Outstanding Service Award, 2018

Alan Faden Award of Excellence in Neurotrauma Research, 2005

International Neurotrauma Society Student Travel Award, 2004

Complete List of Published Work in MyBibliography:

González EA, Calsbeek JJ, Tsai YH, Tang MY, Andrew P, Vu J, Berg EL, Saito NH, Harvey DJ, Supasai S, Gurkoff GG, Silverman JL, Lein PJ. Sex-specific acute and chronic neurotoxicity of acute diisopropylfluorophosphate (DFP)-intoxication in juvenile Sprague-Dawley rats. Curr Res Toxicol. 2021 Sep 14;2:341-356. doi:10.1016/j.crtox.2021.09.002. PMID:34622217.

Izadi A, Schedlbauer A, Ondek K, Disse G, Ekstrom AD, Cowen SL, Shahlaie K, Gurkoff GG. Early Intervention via Stimulation of the Medial Septal Nucleus Improves Cognition and Alters Markers of Epileptogenesis in Pilocarpine-Induced Epilepsy. Front Neurol. 2021 Sep 7;12:708957. doi:10.3389/fneur.2021.708957. PMID:34557145.

Ondek K, Pevzner A, Tercovich K, Schedlbauer AM, Izadi A, Ekstrom AD, Cowen SL, Shahlaie K, Gurkoff GG. Recovery of Theta Frequency Oscillations in Rats Following Lateral Fluid Percussion Corresponds With a Mild Cognitive Phenotype. Front Neurol. 2020 Dec 4;11:600171. doi:10.3389/fneur.2020.600171. PMID:33343499.

Ondek K, Brevnova O, Jimenez-Ornelas C, Vergara A, Zwienenberg M, Gurkoff G. A new model of repeat mTBI in adolescent rats. Exp Neurol. 2020 Sep;331:113360. doi:10.1016/j.expneurol.2020.113360. Epub 2020 May 20. PMID:32442552.

Moxon K, Shahlaie K, Girgis F, Saez I, and Gurkoff GG. From adagio to allegretto: The changing tempo of theta frequencies in epilepsy and its relation to interneuron function. Neurobiology of Disease. 2019;129;161-181. doi:10.1016/j.nbd.2019.02.009.

Izadi A, Pevzner A, Lee DJ, Ekstrom AD, Shahlaie K, Gurkoff GG. Medial septal stimulation increases seizure threshold and improves cognition in epileptic rats. Brain Stimul. 2019 May-Jun;12(3):735-742. doi:10.1016/j.brs.2019.01.005. Epub 2019 Jan 17. PMID:30733144.


Scangos KW, Carter CS, Gurkoff G, Zhang L, Shahlaie K. A pilot study of subthalamic theta frequency deep brain stimulation for cognitive dysfunction in Parkinson's disease. Brain Stimul. 2018 Mar-Apr;11(2):456-458. doi:10.1016/j.brs.2017.11.014. Epub 2017 Nov 23. PMID:29203130.

Izadi A, Ondek K, Schedlbauer A, Keselman I, Shahlaie K, Gurkoff G. Clinically indicated electrical stimulation strategies to treat patients with medically refractory epilepsy. Epilepsia Open. 2018 Nov 16;3(Suppl Suppl 2):198-209. doi:10.1002/epi4.12276. PMID:30564779.

Lee DJ, Izadi A, Melnik M, Seidl S, Echeverri A, Shahlaie K, Gurkoff GG. Stimulation of the medial septum improves performance in spatial learning following pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus. Epilepsy Res. 2017 Feb;130:53-63. doi:10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2017.01.005. Epub 2017 Jan 17. PMID:28152425.