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John  Rolston

John Rolston

Columbia University, BS Computer Science
Emory University, MD, PhD, Neuroscience
University of California, San Francisco, Neurosurgery Residency



Current Research

Dr. Rolstonís lab investigates how electrical stimulation can be used to map and ultimately rewire the brain. These tools are used to better understand neural information processing and how it is disordered in diseases like epilepsy, Parkinsonís, and psychiatric illness. Dr. Rolston is also active in promoting patient safety in neurosurgery, and has lead several studies examining the frequency and causes of neurosurgical errors and complications.

Selected Publications

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. Epilepsia 2017 Oct 10;:

Burke JF, Peters A, Rolston JD, Intracranial Electroencephalography for Alzheimer's. Neurosurgery 2017 Sep 1;81(3):N23-N24

Rolston JD, Lim DA, In Reply: Thalamotomy-Like Effects from Partial Removal of a Ventral Intermediate Nucleus Deep Brain Stimulator Lead in a Patient With Essential Tremor. Neurosurgery 2017 Mar 29;:

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. J Clin Neurosci 2017 Mar;37:44-47

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. Epilepsy Behav 2017 Jan;66:4-9

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. Parkinsonism Relat Disord 2016 Dec;33:72-77

Englot DJ, Rolston JD, Wright CW, Hassnain KH, Chang EF, Rates and Predictors of Seizure Freedom With Vagus Nerve Stimulation for Intractable Epilepsy. Neurosurgery 2016 Sep;79(3):345-53

Englot DJ, Rolston JD, Wang DD, Kirsch HE, Nagarajan SS, Chang EF, 206 Spikes, Slowing, and Functional Connectivity: Multimodal Magnetoencephalography in Epilepsy Surgery. Neurosurgery 2016 Aug;63 Suppl 1:181

Rolston JD, Englot DJ, Knowlton RC, Chang EF, Rate and complications of adult epilepsy surgery in North America: Analysis of multiple databases. Epilepsy Res 2016 Aug;124:55-62

Michalak SM, Rolston JD, Lawton MT, Incidence and Predictors of Complications and Mortality in Cerebrovascular Surgery: National Trends From 2007 to 2012. Neurosurgery 2016 Aug;79(2):182-93

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, Recovery following adult spinal deformity surgery: the effect of complications and reoperation in 149 patients with 2-year follow-up. Eur Spine J 2016 Aug;25(8):2612-21

Ramos AD, Rolston JD, Gauger GE, Larson PS, Spinal Subdural Abscess Following Laminectomy for Symptomatic Stenosis: A Report of 2 Cases and Review of the Literature. Am J Case Rep 2016 Jul 12;17:476-83

Rolston JD, Han SJ, Aghi MK, Nationwide shift from microscopic to endoscopic transsphenoidal pituitary surgery. Pituitary 2016 Jun;19(3):248-50

Michalak SM, Rolston JD, Lawton MT, Prospective, multidisciplinary recording of perioperative errors in cerebrovascular surgery: is error in the eye of the beholder? J Neurosurg 2016 Jun;124(6):1794-804

Rolston JD, Englot DJ, Cornes S, Chang EF, Major and minor complications in extraoperative electrocorticography: A review of a national database. Epilepsy Res 2016 May;122:26-9

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. Epilepsy Res 2016 Mar;121:21-8

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. J Surg Educ 2016 Mar-Apr;73(2):291-5

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. Epilepsia 2016 Jan;57(1):151-61

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. Brain Stimul 2016 Jan-Feb;9(1):86-100

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. Cureus 2016 Jan 18;8(1):e461

Rolston JD, Chang EF, Stereotactic Laser Ablation for Hypothalamic Hamartoma. Neurosurg Clin N Am 2016 Jan;27(1):59-67

Rolston JD, Ramos AD, 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. Neurosurgery 2015 Nov;77(5):E831-6; discussion E836-7

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. Epilepsy Behav 2015 Oct;51:13-7

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, 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. J Neurosurg Spine 2015 May;22(5):540-53

Rolston JD, Ouyang D, Englot DJ, Wang DD, Chang EF, National trends and complication rates for invasive extraoperative electrocorticography in the USA. J Clin Neurosci 2015 May;22(5):823-7

Rolston JD, Han SJ, Parsa AT, Quality improvement in neurosurgery. Neurosurg Clin N Am 2015 Apr;26(2):xiii-xiv

Rolston JD, Englot DJ, Benet A, Li J, Cha S, Berger MS, Frontal operculum gliomas: language outcome following resection. J Neurosurg 2015 Apr;122(4):725-34

Han SJ, Rolston JD, Lau CY, Berger MS, Improving patient safety in neurologic surgery. Neurosurg Clin N Am 2015 Apr;26(2):143-7, vii

Asher AL, Parker SL, Rolston JD, Selden NR, McGirt MJ, Using clinical registries to improve the quality of neurosurgical care. Neurosurg Clin N Am 2015 Apr;26(2):253-63, ix-x

Rolston JD, Bernstein M, Errors in neurosurgery. Neurosurg Clin N Am 2015 Apr;26(2):149-55, vii

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. Pituitary 2015 Feb;18(1):150-8

Rolston JD, Han SJ, Cotter JA, El-Sayed IH, Aghi MK, Gangliogliomas of the optic pathway. J Clin Neurosci 2014 Dec;21(12):2244-9

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 analysis. J Neurosurg Pediatr 2014 Oct;14(4):386-95

Rolston JD, Han SJ, Bloch O, Parsa AT, What clinical factors predict the incidence of deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism in neurosurgical patients? J Neurosurg 2014 Oct;121(4):908-18

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. J Clin Neurosci 2014 Sep;21(9):1538-42

Han SJ, Rolston JD, Molinaro AM, Clarke JL, Prados MD, Chang SM, Berger MS, DeSilva A, Butowski NA, Phase II trial of 7 days on/7 days off temozolmide for recurrent high-grade glioma. Neuro Oncol 2014 Sep;16(9):1255-62

Han SJ, Rolston JD, Jahangiri A, Aghi MK, Rathke's cleft cysts: review of natural history and surgical outcomes. J Neurooncol 2014 Apr;117(2):197-203

Rolston JD, Han SJ, Lau CY, Berger MS, Parsa AT, Frequency and predictors of complications in neurological surgery: national trends from 2006 to 2011. J Neurosurg 2014 Mar;120(3):736-45

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. J Neurosurg 2014 Jan;120(1):173-7

Rolston JD, Zygourakis CC, Han SJ, Lau CY, Berger MS, Parsa AT, Medical errors in neurosurgery. Surg Neurol Int 2014;5(Suppl 10):S435-40

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. Surg Neurol Int 2014;5(Suppl 2):S49-53

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. J Clin Neurosci 2013 Nov;20(11):1538-45

Englot DJ, Rolston JD, Wang DD, Sun PP, Chang EF, Auguste KI, Seizure outcomes after temporal lobectomy in pediatric patients. J Neurosurg Pediatr 2013 Aug;12(2):134-41

Smart O, Rolston JD, Epstein CM, Gross RE, Hippocampal seizure-onset laterality can change over long timescales: A same-patient observation over 500†days. Epilepsy Behav Case Rep 2013;1:56-61

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. J Neurosurg 2013 Jan;118(1):169-74

Englot DJ, Rolston JD, Wang DD, Hassnain KH, Gordon CM, Chang EF, Efficacy of vagus nerve stimulation in posttraumatic versus nontraumatic epilepsy. J Neurosurg 2012 Nov;117(5):970-7

Pastrana EA, Saavedra FM, Murray G, Estronza S, Rolston JD, Rodriguez-Vega G, Acute adrenal insufficiency in cervical spinal cord injury. World Neurosurg 2012 Mar-Apr;77(3-4):561-3

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. J Neurosurg 2012 May;116(5):1042-8

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. Neurosurg Focus 2012 Mar;32(3):E14

Rolston JD, Blevins LS Jr, Gamma knife radiosurgery for acromegaly. Int J Endocrinol 2012;2012:821579

Quigg M, Rolston J, Barbaro NM, Radiosurgery for epilepsy: clinical experience and potential antiepileptic mechanisms. Epilepsia 2012 Jan;53(1):7-15

Rolston JD, Desai SA, Laxpati NG, Gross RE, Electrical stimulation for epilepsy: experimental approaches. Neurosurg Clin N Am 2011 Oct;22(4):425-42, v

Rolston JD, Quigg M, Barbaro NM, Gamma knife radiosurgery for mesial temporal lobe epilepsy. Epilepsy Res Treat 2011;2011:840616

Rolston JD, Laxpati NG, Gutekunst CA, Potter SM, Gross RE, Spontaneous and evoked high-frequency oscillations in the tetanus toxin model of epilepsy. Epilepsia 2010 Nov;51(11):2289-96

Hales CM, Rolston JD, Potter SM, How to culture, record and stimulate neuronal networks on micro-electrode arrays (MEAs). J Vis Exp 2010 May 30;(39):

Rolston JD, Gross RE, Potter SM, Closed-loop, open-source electrophysiology. Front Neurosci 2010;4:

Desai SA, Rolston JD, Guo L, Potter SM, Improving impedance of implantable microwire multi-electrode arrays by ultrasonic electroplating of durable platinum black. Front Neuroeng 2010;3:5

Schachter SC, Guttag J, Schiff SJ, Schomer DL, Advances in the application of technology to epilepsy: the CIMIT/NIO Epilepsy Innovation Summit. Epilepsy Behav 2009 Sep;16(1):3-46

Rolston JD, Gross RE, Potter SM, NeuroRighter: closed-loop multielectrode stimulation and recording for freely moving animals and cell cultures. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc 2009;2009:6489-92

Rolston JD, Gross RE, Potter SM, Common median referencing for improved action potential detection with multielectrode arrays. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc 2009;2009:1604-7

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. Front Neuroeng 2009;2:12

Gross RE, Rolston JD, The clinical utility of methods to determine spatial extent and volume of tissue activated by deep brain stimulation. Clin Neurophysiol 2008 Sep;119(9):1947-50

Rolston JD, Wagenaar DA, Potter SM, Precisely timed spatiotemporal patterns of neural activity in dissociated cortical cultures. Neuroscience 2007 Aug 10;148(1):294-303