Connecticut Children’s Division of Neurosurgery seeks to better understand disorders that affect the pediatric nervous system. As part of the state’s only health system 100% dedicated to children, we are committed to advancing the field of pediatric neurosurgery. We work with other researchers regionally and nationally to improve pediatric neurosurgical understanding and clinical care.

Core Research Areas

Brain Tumors
  • Understand how small bits of genetic material affect pediatric brain tumor growth and survival
  • Improve outcomes in pediatric brain tumor patients
Patient Outcomes
  • Create more accurate models of pediatric cranial deformities to develop better treatments and screening
  • Use machine learning (Artificial Intelligence) to better understand how neurosurgical treatments impact pediatric patient outcomes
  • Optimize training and education in pediatric neurosurgery
  • Engage in national efforts for advocacy and education for pediatric neurosurgical patients
  • Improved outcomes in pediatric patients with hydrocephalus through participation in the implementation/quality improvement arm of the multi-center Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network.
Skull, Neck & Spine
  • Use ultrasound to prevent bone resorption after procedures involving the skull
  • Optimize evaluation and management of conditions impacting the spine at the junction of the head and neck

Recent Research Breakthroughs

  • We identified a unique set of small molecules in the blood stream of pediatric patients with the most common type of brain tumor, juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma. These molecules may be able to screen children for this type of brain tumor without relying on sedated imaging.
  • Our group has created a machine learning model capable of screening more than 95% of congenital cranial deformities using only a set of digital photos. This inexpensive and non-invasive screening tool may help reduce the use of CT scans, which expose babies with cranial deformities to potentially harmful radiation.
  • We led efforts to define best practices for the healthcare transition process in pediatric neurosurgery.
  • We developed and/or validated standardized measurement techniques for children with loose ligaments of the upper neck in Down syndrome and for children with a condition of the junction of the brain and spinal cord known as Chiari malformation.
  • We worked with other members of the Pediatric Craniocervical Society to look at growth of the spine after placement of screws and rods to stabilize the spine.
  • We worked with other members of the Pediatric Craniocervical Society to develop standards for the use of traction to treat spine deformity as well as how best to manage spinal cord injury in children.
  • Healthcare transition is the process of moving from a pediatric to an adult model of health care with or without transfer to a new physician. Dr. Martin led efforts by the American Society of Pediatric Neurosurgeons to evaluate the current practice of healthcare transition among members and to define best practice for transition for pediatric neurosurgical patients.
  • Dr. Martin maintains an active interest in disorders involving the craniocervical junction. As a member of the Pediatric Craniocervical Society, Dr. Martin has worked to further our understanding of issues to include:
    • Growth of the cervical spine after the placement of spinal instrumentation in children
    • The development of measurement standards for complex Chiari malformation and Down syndrome
    • Standards for the use of cervical traction in complex spinal stabilization and reconstruction