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Department Faculty

Steven H. Graham, MD, PhD

Professor of Neurology
Vice-Chairman for Research
Director, Geriatric Research Educational and Clinical Center (GRECC)

Connolly Family Chair in the Stroke Institute
Phone: (412) 648-3299

Specialized Areas of Interest

Neurons; stroke; brain trauma.


Dr. Graham’s research focuses on the mechanisms by which neurons die after stroke and brain trauma. New insights into the mechanisms by which cyclooxygenase 2 (COX2), the enzyme that is the target of drugs such as Vioxx, injures neurons after anoxia in vitro were obtained during the 2004-5 academic year. These results suggest that prostaglandins, not the peroxidase activity of the enzyme itself, are responsible for COX2’s toxic effect on neurons. Other ongoing research projects address the role of the Fas cell death receptor in stroke and brain trauma. An adenovirus associated viral vector that expresses cFLIP-L, an endogenous inhibitor of Fas-induced cell death, has been constructed and is being tested in models of ischemia in vitro. We have found that mice with mutations in the Fas ligand have fewer apoptotic neurons 24 h after traumatic brain injury, consistent with a role of Fas in neuronal death after TBI.

As Vice-chair for Research he oversees the rapidly growing research program of the Department. Dr. Graham is also Director of the Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System.  The GRECC is funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs and provides an integrated program of basic biomedical, clinical and health services research, education of trainees and practitioners, and clinical demonstration projects designed to advance knowledge regarding care of the elderly, with an emphasis on stroke.  The clinical projects of the GRECC utilize existing geriatric programs to pilot model demonstration projects designed to improve the non-institutional care of the frail elderly in the community. The GRECC accounted for over $6,000,000 in externally funded research report (direct dollars, independent of the GRECC funding), had more than 35 trainees, 1300 attendees at CME activities, and 2 active clinical demonstration projects in the last fiscal year

Dr. Graham's publications can be reviewed through the National Library of Medicine's publication database.

Professional Organization Membership

Society for Neuroscience
American Academy of Neurology
National Stroke Council, American Heart Association
National Stroke Association

Editorial Service

• Editorial:

Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism

• Ad Hoc Reviewer:

Annals of Neurology
Brain Research
Experimental Neurology
Journal of Neurochemistry
Journal of Neuroscience

Dr. Graham

Dr. Graham