Main Campus Entrance-MKE
Shekar Kurpad, MD, PhD

Shekar N. Kurpad, MD, PhD

Sanford J. Larson Professor and Chair


  • Neurosurgery
    8701 Watertown Plank Rd.
    Milwaukee, WI 53226


Fellowship, Spinal Surgery, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, 2001
Fellowship, Skull Base Surgery, University of Tennessee, Memphis, TN, 1998
Residency, Neurological Surgery, University Hospitals of Cleveland, Cleveland, OH, 1995-2001
PhD, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC, 1995
MD, Bangalore University, Bangalore, India, 1991


Dr. Kurpad received his MD from Bangalore Medical College, Bangalore, India in 1991, and his PhD from Duke University (Durham, NC) in 1995. He completed an internship in general surgery at University Hospitals of Cleveland, Case Western Reserve University, in 1996, and a residency in neurosurgery at that same institution in 2001. Dr. Kurpad completed three clinical fellowships as follows: July-December 1998, Skull Base Surgery, University of Tennessee (Memphis); July-December 2000, Neuro-Oncology, University Hospitals of Cleveland; and January-June 2001, Spinal Neurosurgery, Medical College of Wisconsin.

Dr. Kurpad has held appointments as Guest Scientist, Intramural Program, National Institute of Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health in July 2001; Guest Scientist, Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, from August 2001-June 2002; and Invited Guest Faculty, University of Toronto School of Medicine, 2014. He was honored in 2015 by the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine with the Distinguished E. Harry Botterell Professorship in Neurosurgery.

Dr. Kurpad joined the faculty of MCW as Assistant Professor, Department of Neurosurgery, in January 2002. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2007 and achieved the rank of Professor with Tenure in 2014. Dr. Kurpad has served as Adjunct Faculty in the Departments of Neuroscience and Speech Pathology and Audiology at Marquette University since 2005, and as Adjunct Professor in MCW’s Department of Cell Biology, Neurology and Anatomy since 2007.

Dr. Kurpad specializes in the treatment of both spinal and cranial disorders. His clinical expertise lies in surgery for spinal trauma, tumors of the spine and spinal cord, degenerative disease of the spine, spinal deformities, skull base tumors, general neurosurgery, and minimally invasive methods for the treatment of spinal disorders. From 2002-2015, Dr. Kurpad served as Chief, Neurosurgery Service at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center and has been listed in Best Doctors in America since 2007. He is board certified with the American Board of Neurological Surgery.

Dr. Kurpad has extensive research experience in spinal cord injury and is internationally recognized in the field of imaging biomarkers for spinal cord injury and cervical myelopathy. As the recipient of the prestigious Van Wagenen fellowship from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Dr. Kurpad conducted cellular transplantation research for spinal cord injury at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. He runs a laboratory at MCW with international collaborators for the study of spinal cord injury and has served as principal investigator on several peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed grants. Dr. Kurpad has been continuously funded extramurally since 2006 and has secured nearly $6 million in total grant funding. He has previously had extramural funding from the VA, NIH, and private foundations for cell transplantation and imaging biomarker research for spinal cord injury totaling over $2 million. He played a key role in establishing a $1 million spinal cord injury endowment by the Bryon Riesch Paralysis Foundation at MCW. He has active current extramural funding from the VA Research Service, Rick Hansen Foundation, and Craig Nielsen Foundation totaling over an additional $1.7 million. He serves on the editorial boards of several journals and is a study section reviewer for the VA Research Service. In March 2012, Dr. Kurpad filed a patent for algorithm sequence for human spinal cord diffusion tensor imaging.

Dr. Kurpad is a member of the Executive Committee of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) and the Joint AANS/CNS Section on Neurotrauma and Critical Care. He serves as the Chair of the International Division of the CNS and has been a member of the Executive Committee of this organization since 2011, holding a number of leadership roles for the past six years. He also is a fellow of the American Association for Neurological Surgeons; honorary life member of the Neurological Society of India; and member of the North American Skull Base Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Society for Neuroscience, and the American Association of South Asian Neurosurgeons.

Dr. Kurpad has significant medical student and graduate student teaching experience, and has mentored many medical students, PhD students, residents, and post-doctoral fellows.

Dr. Kurpad has published more than 140 articles, original papers, book chapters, and reviews, and has presented about 50 local, regional, national, and international lectures and workshops. His MCW committee memberships include the Clinical Competency Committee (Department of Neurosurgery), Practice Services and Operations Committee, Trauma Committee, Inpatient Advisory Council, Steering Committee for the Neuroscience Service Line (Froedtert Hospital), MCW/MCP Compensation Committee, Stem Cell Committee, Neuroscience Center Board, and the Institutional Financial Advisory Committee (MCW).

Clinical Programs

Research Interests

  • Brain tumor biology
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Translational applications of neural and mesenchymal stem cells in neurotrauma and neurooncology