Alexandra Urban (Popescu), MD, FAAN, FAES

  • Associate Professor
  • Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs
  • Director, Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology Fellowships

Dr. Urban has focused her clinical practice on diagnosing and treating patients with the most challenging epilepsies including epilepsy in pregnancy. Dr. Urban dedicated 7 years as the Medical Director of Adult Epilepsy Surgery Program at UPMC, which according to the National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC), is among the top 10 most productive programs out of 225 in the country. She served for 5 years as the Medical Director of the PUH EEG laboratory – the central EEG Laboratory for the entire UPMC System of 32 hospitals. Dr Urban currently oversees the Responsive Neurostimulation Program at UPMC. RNS is the first device to provide responsive neurostimulation, automatically monitoring brain signals and providing stimulation to abnormal electrical events to stop seizures.  Since 2017, she has been the Program Director of the Clinical Neurophysiology and Epilepsy fellowships, guiding 5 to 7 fellows per year.  Dr. Urban has been recognized for her excellent teaching skills of medical students and residents and fellows, including receiving the UPMC Neurology Residents Excellence in Didactic Teaching Award in 2017. Dr Urban is active on several committees in our health system that focus on system-wide neuro-diagnostics initiatives, and quality improvement.  Dr Urban’s contributions have been recognized by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and the American Epilepsy Society (AES) by granting her the fellow status.

Education & Training

  • MD, University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Carol Davila” Romania, Medicine
  • Resident, Neurosurgery Clinic of Bucharest, Romania, Neurosurgery
  • Intern, Yale University, Norwalk Hospital, Internal Medicine
  • Resident, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Neurology
  • Fellow, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Clinical Neurophysiology EEG/Epilepsy

Specialized Areas of Clinical, Research and/or Educational Interests 

  • Research: Epilepsy surgery; Neurostimulation. 
  • Clinical: Epilepsy in pregnancy; Intractable epilepsy (seizures not responding to medications);
  • Education: training physicians in the art of EEG reading and Epilepsy.

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology: Neurology
  • American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology: Clinical Neurophysiology
  • American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology: Epilepsy
  • American Board of Clinical Neurophysiology (ABCN): Epilepsy Monitoring

Professional Organization Membership

  • American Academy of Neurology (AAN)
  • American Epilepsy Society (AES)
  • American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN), Epilepsy Committee

Honors & Awards

  • Fellow, American Clinical Neurophysiology Society (ACNS
  • Fellow, American Epilepsy Society (AES)
  • American Epilepsy Society Program Director Committee 
  • Excellence in Clinical Neurophysiology Award, Vanderbilt University 
  • UPMC Neurology Residents Excellence in Didactic Teaching Award 

Selected Recent Publications

Kokkinos V, Zaher N, Antony A, Bagić A, Richardson MR, Urban A. The intracranial correlate of the 14&6/sec positive spikes normal scalp EEG variant. Clin Neurophysiol. 2019 Jun 21;130(9):1570-1580. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2019.05.024. PMID:31302567

Meador KJ, Pennell PB, May RC, Marter LV, McElrath FT, Brown C, Gerard E, Kalayjian L, Gedzelman E, Penovich P, Cavitt J, French J, Hwang S, Pack AM, Sam M, Birnbaum A and Finnell R for the MONEAD Investigator Group*. (*Urban A, Co-PI, a member of the MONEAD Investigator Group). Fetal loss and malformations in the MONEAD study of pregnant women with epilepsy. Neurology. 2019 Dec 5. pii: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000008687. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000008687. PMID:31806691

Paolini SL, Pilato M, Rajasekaran V, Waters JFR, Bagic A, Urban A. Outcomes in three cases after brivaracetam treatment during pregnancy. Acta Neurol Scand. 2020 Jan 14. doi: 10.1111/ane.13222. PMID: 31943124

Kokkinos V, Richardson M, Urban A. : The hippocampal barque: an epileptiform but non-epileptic hippocampal entity. Front Hum Neurosci. 2020 Mar 18;14:92. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2020.00092. eCollection 2020. PMID: 32256330

Chamberlain JM, Kapur J, Shinnar S, Elm J, Holsti M, Babcock L, Rogers A, Barsan W, Cloyd J, Lowenstein D, Bleck TP, Conwit R, Meinzer C, Cock H, Fountain NB, Underwood E, Connor JT, Silbergleit R; Neurological Emergencies Treatment Trials; Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network investigators. *. (*Urban A, ESETT study site PI, a member of the NETT). Efficacy of levetiracetam, fosphenytoin, and valproate for established status epilepticus by age group (ESETT): a double-blind, responsive-adaptive, randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2020 Apr 11;395(10231):1217-1224. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30611-5. Epub 2020 Mar 20.PMID: 32203691