Dr. Starr is Professor of Neurological Surgery and holds the Dolores Cakebread Endowed Chair in Neurological Surgery. His clinical interests are in functional neurosurgery, especially in the use of implanted devices to improve brain function. He is co-director, with Dr. Jill Ostrem, of the UCSF Surgical Movement Disorders clinic, a multidisciplinary clinic serving a large population of patients with Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, and tremor. In 2013, this clinic was designated as a Bachman-Strauss Center of Excellence in the treatment of movement disorders, one of four such Centers of Excellence in the United States. Dr. Starr directs an NIH-funded laboratory devoted to analyzing how movement disorders affect the network function of the brain, understanding the central mechanisms of therapeutic neurostimulation, and improving the effectiveness of neurostimulion.
Dr. Starr and colleagues pioneered the use of electrocorticography (direct brain recording using an implanted cortical electrode) as a tool to understand Parkinson’s disease and dystonia. In 2013, this effort culminated in the first implant of a chronic multi-site (cortex and basal ganglia) brain recording device in a patient with Parkinson’s disease, as part of a ten patient study of a novel, totally implantable bidirectional neural interface. With Dr. Paul Larson and Dr. Alastair Martin, he has developed a new approach to improve the accuracy of delivery of devices and drugs to deep brain targets using interventional MRI, in conjunction with a skull mounted aiming device and a dedicated software system (Clearpoint system, MRI interventions).