University of Wisconsin–Madison

Robert Dempsey


Manucher J. Javid Professor & Chairman

Dr. Robert J. Dempsey, MD, is the Manucher Javid Professor and Chairman of Neurological Surgery at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. He specializes in cranial neurosurgery and has extensive experience in the neurosurgical management of brain tumors, cerebrovascular neurosurgery and microvascular decompression. Dr. Dempsey is an internationally recognized expert on teaching neurosurgery.

Currently, Dr. Dempsey has multiple NIH-funded research projects with a focus on cerebral ischemia and the repair of the injured brain. He has published more than 300 scientific articles on these subjects. He has been a principal investigator of grants from the National Institutes of Health, Veterans Administration and the American Heart Association, leading a group of neurosurgeons and scientists dedicated to improving patient care.

Dr. Dempsey is an educator and mentor of medical students, residents and fellows worldwide. He has three times been awarded the Clinical Teaching Award by UW students. He has been a visiting professor at multiple colleges and is presently a course co-director of Research Update in Neuroscience for Neurosurgeons. He has also been an officer of the major organizations involved in neurosurgical education, both in the U.S. (past president of the Society of Neurological Surgeons) and internationally (chair of the Foundation for International Education in Neurological Surgery). He has received the Society of Neurological Surgeons Distinguished Service Award and the National Medical Student Teaching Award and for more than 25 years of service, teaching and operating in developing countries worldwide, he received the Humanitarian Award from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. In 2021, Dr. Dempsey received the Neurosurgical Society of America (NSA) Medal for national excellence in Neurosurgery. In 2022, he was awarded the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (WFNS) Medal of Honor, the highest award in world neurosurgery.

Professional Certifications and Education

Board Certification: Neurological Surgery
Medical School: University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, 1977
Internship: University of Michigan Hospital
Residency: University of Michigan Hospital