James FitzGerald studied Physics at Oxford University, graduating in 1992, then switched to medicine, also at Oxford, graduating in 1998. He trained in Neurosurgery in Nottingham and Cambridge. After obtaining a PhD in neuroelectronic interfacing at Cambridge University he returned to Oxford to take up a Consultant position in 2012.
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
I work on implanted electronic devices that interface directly with parts of the nervous system.
At present my main research focus is on the development of a novel type of interface capable of recording signals from motor axons in severed peripheral nerves after amputation, with the aim of using these signals to control sophisticated prosthetic limbs.
This requires advances in several areas including polymer microfabrication techniques, implantable electrophysiological recording systems, microsurgical implantation methods, and the development of multichannel signal processing and pattern recognition algorithms. A further problem is that like virtually all surgical implants, interfaces evoke a foreign body response that leads to the deposition of scar tissue on their surfaces, which leads to gradual electrical failure of the device. A major strand of my work at present concerns the development of techniques for long term scar suppression, and I have recently shown that drug elution is a very promising approach to this (see Journal of Neural Engineering 2016;13:026006 for further details).
I am also a consultant neurosurgeon in Oxford Functional Neurosurgery, which has the UK's largest clinical practice in deep brain stimulation, spinal cord and dorsal root ganglion stimulation and peripheral nerve stimulation, for the treatment of movement disorders and neuropathic pain. Alongside and closely intertwined with this clinical work we run a research programme investigating the mechanisms by which neuromodulation treatments work and how they can be improved and their use expanded to new indications. I am chief investigator of the UK multicentre PENTAGONS trial, an RCT evaluating dorsal root ganglion stimulation in the treatment of painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy (PDN).
I am the founder and clinical lead of the UK Deep Brain Stimulation Registry, and also serve on the board of the Neuromodulation Society of the UK and Ireland (NSUKI), the steering committee of the UK National Neuromodulation Registry (NNR), and the editorial board of Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface, the journal of the International Neuromodulation Society.
The effect of levodopa on saccades - Oxford Quantification in Parkinsonism study.
Lu Z. et al, (2019), Parkinsonism Relat Disord, 68, 49 - 56
Revisiting the rules for anatomical targeting of ventralis intermediate nucleus.
Nowacki A. et al, (2019), J Clin Neurosci
Burst Occipital Nerve Stimulation for Chronic Migraine and Chronic Cluster Headache.
Garcia-Ortega R. et al, (2019), Neuromodulation
The Importance of the Location of Dorsal Root Ganglion Stimulator Electrodes Within the Nerve Root Exit Foramen.
Martin S. et al, (2019), Neuromodulation
Deep brain stimulation of chronic cluster headaches: Posterior hypothalamus, ventral tegmentum and beyond.
Nowacki A. et al, (2019), Cephalalgia