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University of Nebraska Medical Center

Epilepsy Fellowship

Epilepsy affects millions of people around the world, including 3 million adults and 470,000 children in the U.S. Approximately 20,000 Nebraskans have epilepsy, and of those, about 6,000 have drug-resistant epilepsy and require specialized care. There is a shortage of specialists in Epileptology throughout the country and especially in the Midwest. Because of the shortage of specialists and high patient volumes from the vast catchment area, fellows at our training program have an opportunity to learn by seeing some of the most complex and fascinating epilepsy cases.

The fellowship training at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) takes place at a Level 4 Epilepsy Center where we provide intensive neurodiagnostic monitoring, extensive medical, neuropsychological and psychosocial treatments, and deliver access to a broad range of surgical procedures.

Facilities

Our Epilepsy Center includes an eight-bed Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) for adult and pediatric patients referred for diagnostic EEG and presurgical evaluation. We treat over 300 patients annually in the EMU. Fellows also spend one month at Children's Hospital and Medical Center with the pediatric epilepsy team.

We are one of only a handful of medical centers across the country to have a magnetoencephalography (MEG) scanner where our fellows may be trained with an experienced faculty member.

  • We are the ninth largest responsive neurostimulation (RNS) center in the U.S. by volume.
  • We perform 25-30 resective epilepsy surgeries and implant over 40 neurostimulation devices each year.
  • Our surgeons are well versed in all surgical modalities, including stereotactic EEG, laser ablation, and implantation of all available devices – RNS, vagal nerve stimulator (VNS) and deep brain stimulator (DBS).
  • An invasive electrode placement is performed using the Robotic Stereotactic Assistance (ROSA).
  • Bi-weekly multidisciplinary epilepsy surgery conferences provide all members of the care team with an opportunity to hold real-time discussions to optimize patient care outcomes.

Faculty and Staff

Olga Taraschenko, MD, PhD, Director, Epilepsy Fellowship

Shelley Lee, DO, Associate Program Director, Epilepsy Fellowship

  • Five board-certified epileptologists and one clinical neurophysiologist with experience and research interests in complex epilepsy surgeries, neurostimulation devices for seizures, ketogenic diet, autoimmune seizures and pediatric epilepsy.
  • Two dedicated neurosurgeons (including an epilepsy-surgery trained specialist) with experience in robotic-assisted techniques and placement of all available neurostimulation devices.
  • A team of experienced neuropsychologists, advanced care providers, nurse case managers, social workers and administrative support dedicated to the epilepsy center.
  • Epilepsy dietician skilled in administration of specialty diets effective to control drug-resistant seizures.
  • Research scientists with interests in signal processing analysis and advanced imaging.

Fellow Learning Opportunities

UNMC has all resources necessary to provide a state-of-the-art epilepsy training to fellows. We have highly skilled faculty with expertise in patient care, research, and education; innovative clinical and surgical programs; a team of specialized support staff; robust support infrastructure, and a broad referral base that allows us to routinely see patients with both common and rare seizure disorders. Fellow learning opportunities include:

  • Introductory EEG and clinical bootcamp rotation in July allowing for mastery of basic EEG and clinical topics prior to EMU/ICU rotations
  • Weekly didactic conferences by epilepsy faculty, including teaching conferences for residents/fellows and informal EMU-EEG reviews
  • Bi-weekly multidisciplinary surgical conferences
  • Weekly Grand Rounds lectures
  • Monthly epilepsy journal club
  • Scheduled epilepsy clinic with epilepsy faculty
  • Monthly neuromodulation (RNS) clinic with faculty and field engineers 
  • Opportunities to participate in and lead pre-surgical testing such as cortical stimulation and WADA testing
  • Elective time in MEG, neuropsychology, research, neuroradiology, clinic, EMU/ICU EEG

Fellow Research Opportunities

Epilepsy fellows will also have extensive opportunities to engage in research and learn through formal mentorship and instruction. Our research opportunities include:

  • Formal research mentorship from epilepsy program faculty
  • Opportunities to participate in basic, translational, and clinical research with our epilepsy faculty
  • Opportunities to present original research at national neurology/epilepsy meetings and to publish research in academic journals
  • Opportunities to present at the Annual Resident and Fellow Research day at the Department of Neurological Sciences and UNMC
  • Opportunity to secure intramural research funding through the IDeA-CTR grants and other mechanisms
  • Opportunities to participate in clinical trials involving medications and devices for epilepsy treatment
To Apply
We will be participating in the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) beginning with 2024-2025 enrollment. Interviews are by invitation only. Interested candidates should submit their application through Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS).
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