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Neurological Surgery Residency

The residency program at UC Irvine's Department of Neurological Surgery is designed to provide experience in adult and pediatric neurosurgical practice. Practice settings include the university's medical center, health maintenance organizations and private practice sites.

Training takes place at UC Irvine Medical Center, Tibor Rubin Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Long Beach (VA) and CHOC Children’s Hospital in Orange. These settings offer our residents exposure to a wide variety of patients with neurosurgical conditions.

In addition to these clinical rotations, our residents are trained in neuropathology and neuroradiology. Residents also undergo an extensive didactic program of core lectures, seminars and neurosurgery journal clubs, conferences and grand rounds as well as a full year of research activities that they select.

The residency program, which is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), was officially launched on July 1, 2008. The seven-year program generally accepts two new resident trainees every other year and one new resident trainee the years in between.

Program Mission Statement

Neurological Surgery Residency Training Program in Department of Neurological Surgery at University of California Irvine’s mission is to build a strong foundation to train safe and competent neurosurgeons, align with UCI School of Medicine’s mission: Discover. Teach. Heal. The program is not only to train residents who can provide patients with the best possible care, but also to inspire them to discover the challenge and excitement of treating complex neurosurgical conditions and to nurture innovation and research. These future neurosurgeons will spur innovation and advance technological developments and treatment methods that will ultimately improve the health of patients in Orange County and beyond.

Program Aim

Neurological Surgery Residency Training Program in Department of Neurological Surgery at University of California Irvine’s aim is to support and train compassionate residents with knowledge, clinical, surgical, basic science and clinical research skills in neurosurgery. These trained graduates will be the future neurosurgeons who will practice effective and ethical neurosurgery, who aim to advance the field of neurosurgery through their practice career and serve the local community. To accomplish these aims, the program incorporates hands-on education combined with an extensive didactic program of core lectures, grand rounds, conferences, seminars and journal clubs in neurosurgery; recruits a comprehensive group of core faculty who have extensive expertise in the latest surgical treatments and are dedicated to imparting their skills to the neurosurgeons of tomorrow; and collaborates with prestigious UC Irvine research organization in lifelong development of clinical research skills. Overall, program thrives to provide a safe and compassionate educational environment to train the residents in becoming independent, competent, empathic, and caring neurosurgeons.

Overview »

The first year (PGY-1) includes five months of surgical training tailored toward neurosurgical relevance; three-months rotation in neuro-critical care; one-month rotation in trauma and a three-months rotation in basic neuroscience. During the the next 6 years, residents receive a variety of required neurosurgical training that includes, for example:

  • PGY-2: 12 months neurosurgery at UC Irvine Health Medical Center
  • PGY-3: 7 months neurosurgery at UC Irvine Health Medical Center; 3 months endovascular neurosurgery at UC Irvine Health Medical Center; 2 months of stereotactic radiosurgery (gamma knife); 2 months of stereotactic radiosurgery at UC Irvine Health Medical Center
  • PGY-4: 6 months pedia;tric neurosurgery at Childrens Hospital of Orange County; 6 months at Tibor Rubin Veterans Affairs Medical Center - Long Beach
  • PGY-5: 6 months of spine; optional 2-3 months of neurinterventional surgery; 6 months at UC Irvine Medical Center 
  • PGY-6: 12 months as Chief Resident at UC Irvine Medical Center
  • PGY-7: 12 months research/enfolded fellowship at UC Irvine Medical Center

Beginning with the PGY-2-7 year, residents are expected to prepare and submit at least one manuscript annually for peer review publication.

They are expected to take the American Board of Neurological Surgery (ABNS) written examination for either practice or credit each year of training beginning with the PGY-1 year. The earliest year they can take the examination for credit is PGY-4. Residents must pass the ABNS exam by the completion of PGY-6 in order to progress to the final chief residency year.

Assuming these requirements are met and faculty evaluations are satisfactory, a resident will complete the entire program in 7 years.

Affiliated Hospitals »

CHOC Children's Hospital of Orange County

CHOC is a 202-bed, not-for-profit pediatric hospital in Orange that offers a full spectrum of healthcare services including most specialties. CHOC has pediatric medical/surgical units, a pediatric intensive care unit, a neonatal intensive care unit, a cardiovascular intensive care unit, a neuroscience unit and an oncology intensive care unit. At present, it is the 15th busiest pediatric hospital in the United States.

Tibor Rubin Veterans Affairs Medical Center

The Tibor Rubin Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VA) has 237 beds and is a comprehensive tertiary care center with the main medical center in Long Beach, two veteran community centers and five community clinics located in the neighboring regions. Already well established as a critical educational partner, the VA offers state-of the-art technology along with a strong commitment to high quality education and advanced research, providing diverse experiences in primary care, tertiary care and long-term care in medicine, surgery, psychiatry, physical medicine and rehabilitation, neurology, oncology, dentistry, spinal cord injury, geriatrics, and extended care. Some of the special programs include Cardiac Imaging Lab, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Preservation Amputation Care Treatment Program, Radiation Therapy Program, Spinal Cord Injury Unity, Women’s Health Program and Blind Rehabilitation Program.

Application Process »

Residency Match applications are processed online through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). Applicants must register with both ERAS and the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) to participate in the services of each.

PGY-1 is a categorical year of training under the direction of the Department of Neurological Surgery.

Resident Eligibility

Appointment to a UC Irvine training program is contingent upon verification of the following documentation:

  • Current dean's letter (within the past 12 months).
  • Three current letters of recommendation (within the past 12 months).
  • Proof of passing USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 (including scores).
  • Proof of passing USMLE Step 3 (as required by training program).
  • Proof of license status:
    • If applicable, copy of valid California medical license (original to be re-copied by residency/fellowship coordinator at orientation)
    • In accordance with the California Medical Practice Act, Chapter 2065, all trainees who have completed 24 months of postgraduate training in any medical specialty, in California, regardless of whether or not academic credit was awarded, must be licensed
    • Graduates of U.S. medical schools who have 23 months or more of previous training in an ACGME program in another state in any discipline, regardless of whether or not academic credit was awarded, have 12 months to be licensed in California
    • International medical graduates who have 24 months of postgraduate training in an ACGME program in another state in any discipline, regardless of whether or not academic credit was awarded, must be licensed in California prior to commencement of training, proof of valid DEA card (original to be re-copied by residency/fellowship coordinator at orientation)
  • Proof of most recent ACLS, BLS or PALS card. These certification cards must be issued by the American Heart Association (AHA).
  • Proof of current ECFMG certificate:
    1. International medical graduates must have a current ECFMG certificate from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates® (ECFMG) and ECFMG-issued J-1 visa or provide proof of permanent residence status.
    2. International medical graduates must have a current Medical Board of California "Postgraduate Training Authorization Letter" (PTAL) (issued within the past 12 months) from the Medical Board of California.
  • Verification of employee health screening.
  • Verification of attendance at orientation.
  • Verification of background check.

In addition, male trainees must have registered with the Selective Service between the age of 18-26 or meet criteria for an exemption and have a "Status of Information" letter issued by the VA Office of Academic Affiliations. In order to train or work at a Veterans Health Administration facility, resident in ACGME-accrediated programs must provide evidence of registration in the Selective Service program or evidence of exempt status issued by the VA Office of Academic Affiliations through a Status of Information letter.

For more information on matching, please visit the Society of Neurological Surgeons (SNS) website.

For more information on UC Irvine Graduate Medical Education Office, please visit the UC Irvine Graduate Medical Education (GME) website.

Meet our Residents »

The Department of Neurological Surgery's residents for 2023-2024:


Jordan Xu, MD, attended Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio. He was awarded the Crile Research Award in 2014. He enjoys rock climbing, reading and traveling.

Jordan Xu


Alvin Chan, MD, was born and raised in Southern California. He went to UCLA for undergraduate and the Medical College of Wisconsin for medical school. His research focus has been on spine and functional neurosurgery. His hobbies and interest include basketball and spending time with his friends and family.


Alvin Chan


Jordan Davies, MD, earned his bachelor's degree in neuroscience at Brigham Young University in Provo, UT. He then attended medical school at the University of South Florida in Tampa under the Health Professions Scholarship Program with the United States Air Force. While in Tampa he was in the SELECT program, which complements clinical education with training in leadership and healthcare improvement. He completed his first year of residency at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and has transferred to UCI to complete his residency training. After residency, he will serve for a time as a neurosurgeon in the Air Force. His current neurosurgery interests are wide, but focus on trauma, pediatrics, neuro-oncology and functional neurosurgery. Outside of work he enjoys exploring new places and cuisine, watching and playing most sports, and spending time at the beach and hiking with his beautiful wife and children.

Jordan Davies


Jessica K. Campos, MD grew up in the Chicagoland area.  She studied Chemical Engineering at Vanderbilt University before obtaining her medical degree from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.  She went on to complete a postdoctoral research fellowship within the Department of Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  Her research centered on the clinical outcomes and technical nuances of treating cerebral aneurysms, emergent large vessel occlusions, and vascular malformations; including investigating the role of GIIb/IIIA receptor antagonists in treating acute ischemic events during endovascular flow diversion.  As a resident, her clinical interests are widely inclusive of many aspects of neurosurgery.  Outside of the hospital, she enjoys running, hiking, yoga, traveling and spending time with her extended family. 

Jessica Campos


Angie Zhang, MD was born in China and raised in Northern California, having moved to the U.S. at the age of 4. She completed her undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley, where she graduated with honors in Biology and Psychology. She then went on to attain her medical degree from the University of South Florida, where she was selected to take part in the SELECT program, a physician leadership and healthcare improvement-focused graduate program that complemented her clinical studies. She was awarded multiple scholarships during her medical training and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Robert A. Good Honor Society. Her neurosurgical interests include neuro-oncology, pediatric neurosurgery, and functional neurosurgery. Outside of medicine, she enjoys hiking, traveling, art and writing.

Angie Zhang


Alexander Lopez, MD, MS was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. He attended the University of Southern California (USC), where he double majored in Neuroscience and Biological Science, earning departmental honors in Neuroscience. Also, Alex completed his Masters in Marine Biology and Environmental Science, finishing undergrad and graduate school at USC within four years. He attended Meharry Medical College, where he was awarded many scholarships and nominated by his classmates to be inducted into the Gold humanism honor society. While in medical school, Alex assisted in starting a company to enhance laparoscopic surgical training, worked as a TEDmed Research Scholar, volunteered as a trans-buddy liaison, and developed augmented reality neuroanatomical models for patient education. Alex spent a year between his third and fourth years of medical school as a Vanderbilt and NIH funded research scholar. He led a research project using artificial intelligence to auto-segment the cerebellum to better understand movement disorders. Alex’s research interests include spine and functional neurosurgery. In his spare time, Alex enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking, rescue scuba diving, yoga, sailing, soccer, and photography.

Alex Lopez


Scott Self, MD was born and raised in the Seattle area before attending Brigham Young University in Provo, UT to earn a bachelor’s degree in music performance. He attended medical school at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. While in medical school, he was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society as a third-year student and earned the honors in research distinction for his work in novel pharmacological treatments of a subtype of familial vascular malformation syndromes. His clinical interests include pediatric, functional, and neuro-oncological neurosurgery. Outside of medicine, he enjoys all things Disney, exploring California, reading fantasy novels, and spending time with his beautiful wife and children.  

Alex Lopez


Jeremy Guinn, MD was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. He attended Elon, University where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. He was inducted into the Phi Lambda Upsilon and Pi Mu Epsilon academic honor societies and attended medical school at Meharry Medical College. While in medical school, he completed a year-long research fellowship with Dr. Dean Chou at the University of California, San Francisco, studying spinal deformity. His clinical interests include spinal deformity, skull base surgery and peripheral neurosurgery. Outside of neurosurgery he enjoys playing and watching sports (particularly soccer, basketball, and football), weight lifting, running, and listening to and playing music, and he has played guitar for many years. 

Alex Lopez


Alexander Himstead, MD, obtained his bachelor’s degree in Biology and Spanish at Chapman and graduated Summa Cum Laude with Departmental Honors in both fields. During college, Alex engaged in electrophysiology research, studying changes in learning and memory with age in Aplysia californica. He also helped organize global health trips in Ghana and Panama. Alex attended medical school at the University of California, Irvine where he was elected President of the Flying Samaritans Global Health Initiative, and spent one summer in rural Panama researching the implementation of a novel medical device. He was inducted to the Alpha Omega Alpha Junior and Senior honors societies, awarded the Vincent P. Carroll Research Award, and the Christopher & Mehrangitz Award to the Senior Student with Most Honors and Promise in 2022. Alex matched at UCI, where he was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honors Society in 2023. His neurosurgical interests include skull base and cortical neoplasms, translational brain mapping of language and cognition, and multi-omic analysis of brain tumors. Outside of neurosurgery, Alex enjoys yoga, calisthenics, long-distance running, travel, coffee/tea, and spending time with his family. 


Himstead Alex


Isidora Beach, MD, was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. She graduated from the Chancellor’s Honors Program at the University of Tennessee with majors in Bioethics and Hispanic Studies as the outstanding graduate in her major. She then attended medical school at the Robert Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont, where she started the school’s Latino Medical Student Association. Before residency, Isidora completed a year-long research fellowship with Dr. Bruce Tranmer at the University of Vermont Medical Center, where she studied applications of artificial intelligence and computer programming in various subspecialties of neurosurgery including endovascular, pediatrics, tumor, functional and spine. Her clinical interests include global health, pediatrics, and functional neurosurgery. Outside of work, Isi enjoys running, hiking, skiing, traveling, all things music and art, and spending time with her friends and family.  

Alex Lopez


Gianna Fote, MD, PhD, was born in Southern California, where she worked as an Ocean Lifeguard for seven summers. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Biology at Yale University, where she became president of the Undergraduate Biological Society and Captain of the water polo team, winning division MVP twice. She then matriculated to the MD/PhD program at UC Irvine. Her PhD thesis work on cellular dysregulation in Alzheimer’s Disease was published in the Journal of Cell Science. During her PhD, she was awarded an NIH F30 Fellowship, and was an invited speaker at the International Gordon Seminar on autophagy. Throughout her PhD years Gianna led review sessions for the Medical Neuroscience course, volunteered to perform baseline concussion testing for NCAA athletes, and served as president of the UCI Neurosurgery interest group. Upon graduation, she was awarded the UCI Mind Cotman scholar award, the Meyskens Medical Research Award, the Vincent Carroll Memorial Research Award, and the Department of Neurological Surgery Outstanding Student Award. She looks forward to continuing her research with UCI Neurosurgery faculty on lysosomal storage disorders and hydrocephalus and serving patients in Orange County during her residency at UCI.

Alex Lopez

Residency Program Alumni »

Residency Program Alumni

We're proud to acknowledge the alumni of our Department of Neurological Surgery residency program:

Class of 2023
Joseph Falcone, MD

Class of 2022
Benjamin Ball, MD

Class of 2021
Nathan Oh, MD and Diem Kieu Tran, MD

Class of 2020
George Hanna, MD and John Roufail, MD

Class of 2019
Michelle Paff, MD

Class of 2018
Sean Kaloostian, MD

Class of 2017
Catherine Christie, MD

Class of 2016
Daniela Alexandru, MD

Amandip S. Gill, MD

Class of 2014
Christopher M. Owen, MD 

Class of 2013
Alexa Lynne Reeves, MD


For more information about the Department of Neurological Surgery's residency program, contact:

Kiarash Golshani Kiarash Golshani
Residency Program Director
Department Neurological Surgery
University of California, Irvine
200 South Manchester Ave. Suite 210
Orange, CA 92868
Tel: (714) 456-6966
Fax: (714) 456-8212

Leslie Weterrings
Residency Program Coordinator
Department of Neurological Surgery
University of California, Irvine
200 South Manchester Ave. Suite 210
Orange, CA 92868
Tel: (714) 456-6966
Fax: (714) 456-8212