ZVAMC Biomedical Engineering and Neurosurgery Labs Announce Change in Leadership

Headshot of Dr. Frank PintarFebruary 6, 2024

Dr. Frank A. Pintar, Chair of the Marquette-MCW Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, has announced that he will be stepping down from his duties as director of the Neuroscience Research Laboratories (NRL) at the Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center (ZVAMC), a position that he has held since 1990. The Neuroscience Research labs, initially created under the Department of Neurosurgery by Dr. Anthony Sances, and Sanford J. Larson in 1965, have evolved into a joint research program between the Departments of Neurosurgery and Biomedical Engineering that has been active at the ZVAMC since 2017. Dr. Pintar’s visionary and collaborative leadership has expanded the Neuroscience Research Labs to its current level consisting of six Neurosurgery and two Biomedical Engineering faculty and an additional joint faculty member of both departments, 37 full-time staff, 13 MCW graduate students, 40,000 square feet of laboratory space including the Vehicle Crash Laboratory (VCL) and Neuroscience Research Facility (NRF), and approximately $30 million in current research funding. Dr. Shekar Kurpad, Chair of Neurosurgery, and Founding Director of the Wisconsin Institute of Neuroscience (WINS), extends his sincere gratitude to Dr. Pintar for his excellent leadership over the past 33 years.

Headshot of Dr. Brian StemperHeadshot of Dr. Matthew BuddeHeadshot of Dr. Aditya Vedantam

Stepping in to replace Dr. Pintar will be three MCW faculty members—Brian Stemper, Ph.D.; Matthew Budde Ph.D.; and Aditya Vedantam, M.D. Brian D. Stemper, Ph.D., Professor of Biomedical Engineering with joint appointment in Neurosurgery, will serve as director of the labs and represent the research focus on basic and injury biomechanics in military and vehicular environments. Dr. Stemper has been a member of the labs for over 25 years and faculty at MCW for over 19 years, and has led research programs supported by NIH, Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), Department of Defense (DOD), and Department of Transportation (DOT) NHTSA. Matthew D. Budde, Ph.D., and Aditya Vedantam, M.D., will serve as co-directors. Dr. Budde is an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery and has been a member of NRL since 2011. He will represent the neuroscience and imaging focus of the labs. Dr. Aditya Vedantam, M.D., is a practicing neurosurgeon, leading the Robotic Spinal Neurosurgery program at Froedtert and MCW, director of the Center for Cervical Myelopathy at WINS, and active NIH-funded researcher in the Department of Neurosurgery. He has been a member of the labs as faculty since 2021 and will represent the clinical biomechanics and imaging focus of the labs. Both Drs. Budde and Vedantam have active research programs supported by NIH, DVA, and DOD.

The leadership team will take over all leadership duties for Dr. Pintar and usher the Neuroscience Research Labs into the future. Their duties will include oversight and direction of the NRL, fostering internal/external collaborations, providing mentorship for junior faculty members of the NRL, and recruiting new cross-platform faculty to enhance the NRL research portfolio and provide new collaborative research opportunities for existing NRL faculty. The Leadership Team will also oversee budgetary decisions for the NRL including annual fiscal year budgets for the departments of Neurosurgery and Biomedical Engineering, as well as investment in pilot funding and new research directions for the labs.

A major focus of the Leadership Team will be to work with Dr. Shekar Kurpad and Dr. Michael McCrea on integration and leadership of NRL biomechanics, neuroscience, and clinical research with the Wisconsin Institute of Neuroscience (WINS) to support the mission of the WINS and neuroscience research at MCW and enhance the visibility of the research enterprise at the NRL.

Drs. Pintar, Kurpad and McCrea would also like to acknowledge Christy Stadig, M.S., for her role in the remarkable growth in the laboratories. Working with Dr. Pintar since 1995, Christy has been instrumental in stewardship of this priceless resource, day to day management of the large and diverse group of students, biology and engineering technicians, engineers, as well as faculty needs.

Drs. Kurpad, McCrea, and Pintar would like the thank the new leadership team for taking on this important task and offer their support to the Team and the NRL moving forward.


Learn more about ZVAMC LABS