James F. Castellano, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Neurology

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Castellano joined the UPMC Epilepsy Division in 2018. He earned his MD and PhD from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. He investigated the role of epigenetics in hippocampal synaptic plasticity at the National Institute on Aging before completing a residency in neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center in New York. He then completed a combined adult/pediatric epilepsy fellowship also at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Castellano is currently board certified in Neurology and Epilepsy.

In collaborations with the departments of neurosurgery (David Okonkwo MD, PhD) and critical care (Jonathan Elmer MD, MS), James F. Castellano MD, PhD investigates post-traumatic epilepsy.  Specifically, their work has highlighted the prevalence of this condition, risk factors, recovery patterns, and electrophysiological biomarkers. They have shown this condition to be highly prevalent and independently impair neural recovery.  Additionally, they have identified acute quantitative electrophysiologic biomarkers of post-traumatic epilepsy.  Ongoing efforts are aimed at developing novel biomarkers and anti-epileptogenic therapeutics.

Education & Training

  • Fellow, Albert Einstein College of Medicine/ Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY, Epilepsy
  • Resident, Albert Einstein College of Medicine/ Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY, Neurology
  • Intern, Albert Einstein College of Medicine/ Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY, Medicine
  • MD, PhD, Icahn SOM at Mount Sinai - New York, NY, Medicine

Specialized Areas of Clinical, Research and/or Educational Interests 

  • Research: Epigenetics; Epileptogenesis; Pharmacoresistant Epilepsy; Post-Traumatic Epilepsy
  • Clinical: Critical Care EEG; Neurophysiologic Intraoperative Monitoring; Epilepsy Surgery

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology:  Neurology
  • American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology:  Epilepsy

Professional Organization Membership

  • American Academy of Neurology
  • American Epilepsy Society
  • American Clinical Neurophysiology Society
  • American Medical Association

Honors & Awards

  • NeuroNext Fellowship
  • American Epilepsy Society Fellows Program
  • Leo M. Davidoff Medical Student Teaching Award
  • Resident Scholarship to the AAN Meeting 
  • Outstanding Intern Award in Preliminary Medicine

Selected Recent Publications

Castellano JF, Fletcher BR, Patzke H, Long JM, Sewal AS, Kim DH, Kelley-Bell B, Rapp PR. (2014) Reassessing the effects of histone deacetylase inhibitors on hippocampal memory and cognitive aging. Hippocampus 24: 1006-1016.

Castellano JF, Fletcher BR, Kelley-Bell B, Kim DH, Gallagher M, Rapp PR. Age-related memory impairment is associated with disrupted multivariate epigenetic coordination in the hippocampus. PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e33249. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0033249. Epub 2012 Mar 15. PMID: 22438904; PMCID: PMC3305324.

Castellano JF, Meyer JA, Lado FA. A Case Series of Adult-Onset Rasmussen's Encephalitis: Diagnostic and Therapeutic Challenges. Front Neurol. 2017 Oct 25;8:564. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2017.00564. PMID: 29118737; PMCID: PMC5660978.

Melachuri SR, Stopera C, Melachuri MK, Anetakis K, Crammond DJ, Castellano JF, Balzer JR, Thirumala PD. The efficacy of somatosensory evoked potentials in evaluating new neurological deficits after spinal thoracic fusion and decompression. J Neurosurg Spine. 2020 Mar 6:1-6. doi: 10.3171/2019.12.SPINE191157. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32114528.

Pease M, Gonzalez-Martinez J, Puccio A, Nwachuku E, Castellano JF, Okonkwo DO, Elmer J. Risk Factors and Incidence of Epilepsy after Severe Traumatic Brain Injury. Ann Neurol. 2022 Oct;92(4):663-669. doi: 10.1002/ana.26443. Epub 2022 Aug 3. PMID: 35713346; PMCID: PMC9489614.

Matthew Pease, Arka N Mallela, Jonathan Elmer, David O. Okonkwo, Lori Shutter, Niravkumar Barot, Jorge Gonzalez-Martinez, and James F. Castellano.  Post-traumatic epilepsy delays recovery from severe traumatic brain injury.  Neurology. 2023 Mar 22. PMID: 36948595.

Mathew Pease, Jonathan Elmer, Ameneh Zare, Arka Mallela, Juan Ruiz-Rodriguez, Daniel Sexton, Niravkumar Barot, Jorge Gonzalez-Martinez, Lori Shutter, David Okonkwo, James Castellano.  Predicting post-traumatic epilepsy using admission electroencephalography after severe traumatic brain injury.  Epilepsia. 2023 Apr 18. PMID: 37073101.