Alexandra Urban (Popescu), MD, FAAN, FAES

Associate Professor of Neurology


  • Vice Chair, Clinical Affairs
  • Director, Epilepsy Fellowship

Biographical Sketch

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

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

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, Mark Richardson R, Urban A. The intracranial correlate of the 14&6/sec positive spikes normal scalp EEG variant. Clin Neurophysiol. 2019 Sep;130(9):1570-1580. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2019.05.024. Epub 2019 Jun 21. PMID: 31302567.

Meador KJ, Pennell PB, May RC, Van Marter L, McElrath TF, Brown C, Gerard E, Kalayjian L, Gedzelman E, Penovich P, Cavitt J, French J, Hwang S, Pack AM, Sam M, Birnbaum AK, Finnell R; MONEAD Investigator Group. Fetal loss and malformations in the MONEAD study of pregnant women with epilepsy. Neurology. 2020 Apr 7;94(14):e1502-e1511. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000008687. Epub 2019 Dec 5. PMID: 31806691; PMCID: PMC7251524.

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 May;141(5):438-441. doi: 10.1111/ane.13222. Epub 2020 Jan 24. PMID: 31943124.

Kokkinos V, Richardson RM, 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. PMID: 32256330; PMCID: PMC7093588.

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