Brain Institute Research Initiatives and News

To ensure that the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Brain Institute remains solidly at the forefront in its field, a team of neuroscientists has forged active collaborations with universities and industry partners to advance care.

Brain Function and Neuromodulation

Several scientists associated with the Brain Insitute  are developing advanced neuroengineering techniques to study functional dynamics and identify the most subtle abnormalities underlying neurological disorders. These studies will facilitate diagnoses, promote neuromonitoring in the ambulatory as well as critical care setting and enhance neurosurgical guidance. They also support the development of novel neuromodulation therapies.

Non-Invasive Neurological Therapies

The Brain Institute has begun research on a revolutionary technology for non-invasive, effective and safe treatment of a large variety of common or devastating brain disorders. It will allow:

  • Targeted focal ablations of brain tissue with high precision. Benefits compared to conventional surgery include outpatient  surgery avoiding the discomfort and risks including  the wound, trauma to normal brain tissue, bleeding, infection, pain  and prolonged recovery.
  • Targeted therapeutics by selective opening of the blood-brain-barrier to achieve greater concentrations of medications at specific brain sites to enhance efficacy with minimal side effects on surrounding brain or rest of the body.


The Brain Institute has been involved in research on genomic markers to optimize the selection of medical therapies, enhancing their efficacy and safety. The initial focus of this personalized medicine strategy is on ion-channel epilepsies and brain tumors.

Brain Institute News

Nicklaus Children’s Hospital’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center Designated a Level 4 Epilepsy Center by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers

April 18, 2022 – Nicklaus Children’s Hospital’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center has been reaccredited as a level 4 epilepsy center for 2022-23 by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC). It is one of few pediatric epilepsy centers in the state designated as level 4.

Research on revolutionary technology for incisionless treatment of brain tumors

December 03, 2021 – It sounds like a medical protocol straight out of a science fiction movie: A brain tumor neatly eliminated with an incisionless form of surgery. Five patients have undergone MR guided focused ultrasound at Nicklaus Children's with favorable results. Most were able to return home soon after their surgeries with reduced seizures and symptoms.

Speak Now For Kids Family Advocacy: Mark's Story

August 10, 2020 – For the last nine years, Mark Coiras and his family have called Nicklaus Children’s Hospital their second home. Today, the Coiras family shares a piece of Mark’s journey as they advocate for access to pediatric care and Medicaid funding in support of this year’s Speak Now For Kids Family Advocacy Week.

Dr. John Ragheb Contributes to Development of New CDC Guidelines for Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

November 02, 2018 – Dr. John Ragheb, Director of the Division of Neurosurgery at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, is among a group of renowned physicians who developed the first evidence-based guideline in the U.S. on mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and concussions among children, published by the CDC in September. 

Pediatric Neurosurgeon and Chief of Surgery for Nicklaus Children’s Passes Away

May 24, 2018 – The medical staff, employees and volunteers of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital mourn the passing of our esteemed Dr. Sanjiv Bhatia, a longstanding leader and dedicated champion for children with complex medical conditions and their families.

New Device Helps Children with Drug-Resistant Epilepsy Manage Seizures

April 25, 2018 – Grant is the first pediatric patient in South Florida to utilize the SenTiva VNS device, which is currently the smallest and lightest responsive therapy for epilepsy available on the market. The device, used in combination with epilepsy medications, has been shown to be effective in reducing seizure frequency and duration. 

Duchenne Regional Family Summit

December 02, 2017 – CureDuchenne Cares and The Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Brain Institute hosted a free educational and social event for Duchenne family and caregivers. Attendees were able to learn about important DMD care topics, share their practical advice and connect with other families.

Researchers Find New Hope for Children with Neurofibromatosis

March 29, 2017 – Dr. Ziad Khatib, pediatric neuro-oncologist, discusses treatments for children with fibromatosis in this WPLG Local 10/ segment.

Dr. Roberto Tuchman to Address Autism Innovations & Global Impact at International Conference

February 08, 2017 – Dr. Tuchman to discuss Google, Facebook, FaceTime and the Eletric Developing and Social Brain.

Dr. Michael Duchowny Honored with The Children's Trust David Lawrence Jr. for Children Award

August 26, 2016 – Dr. Michael Duchowny is the receipient of the prestigious The Children's Trust David Lawrence Jr. for Children Award which honors individuals and programs that have reached the highest levels of excellence and achievement, their community partners and the families they have helped.

Pediatric Spasticity - New treatments mean better outcomes for all children and their parents

August 10, 2016 – Dr. Toba Niazi specializes in the surgical treatment of children with brain and spinal cord tumors, and children with cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus, spasticity, vascular malformations, craniocervical and spinal pathologies and movement disorders.

Brain Institute doctors honored at Camp Boggy Creek‬ for their commitment to helping children with epilepsy

July 29, 2016 – Congratulations to Dr. Ian Miller and Patricia Dean, ARNP, CNR, RN, who were honored last week at ‪‎Camp Boggy Creek‬ for their commitment to helping children with ‪‎epilepsy‬.

Rare Diseases Day

February 29, 2016 – Patients and families treated by the Nicklaus Children's Brain Institute came together on "Rare Diseases Day" for the launch of a family advisory committee to support families of children with rare diseases. 

The Brain Institute's 2015 Epilepsy Surgery Reunion

December 04, 2015 – Patients and families enjoyed lunch, and fun filled activities including a visit to Jungle Island.

Hydrocephalus Cases Receive Less Invasive Treatment Solutions at Nicklaus Children's Hospital

September 24, 2015 – Pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjiv Bhatia helps lead the way with sustainable care that improves and saves young patient lives.

Haiti Hydrocephalus Project

June 15, 2010 – In 2003 a team of medical volunteers, led by pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. John Ragheb, traveled to Haiti to perform surgery for children with hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus is one of the most common treatable causes of neurological disability and death in the developing world.
The team has developed a comprehensive program in Port au Prince working the local medical community to develop Haiti’s first neurosurgery training program.  The team travels regularly to Haiti to teach and  help manage children and babies with hydrocephalus, providing care for more than 1,000 children to date in the island nation.

Most Recent Press Release

Nicklaus Children's Hospital to Study the Use of Low-Frequency Focused Ultrasound Therapy to Treat Children with Aggressive Brain Tumors

November 20, 2023 – Nicklaus Children’s Hospital is to become only the third site in North America involved in a Phase I clinical trial studying the role of a new technology called low-frequency focused ultrasound (LoFU) in the care of children with a lethal type of brain tumor that forms within the brainstem.

Nicklaus Children's Hospital Ranked Once Again Amongst Best Children's Hospital by U.S. News & World Report

June 21, 2023 – Five Nicklaus Children’s Hospital specialty programs are again identified among the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report in its 2023-24 “Best Children’s Hospitals” survey results. No other hospital in South Florida has more ranked programs.

Nicklaus Children's Hospital Announces Historic Gift from Citadel Founder and CEO Kenneth C. Griffin

January 31, 2023 – Nicklaus Children’s Hospital received a $25 million gift from Citadel founder and CEO Kenneth C. Griffin will support the new five-story, 127,000-square-foot surgical tower opening in 2024. In recognition of this historic gift, it will be named the Kenneth C. Griffin Surgical Tower. The donation will enhance pediatric care for children in Florida and beyond for generations to come.

Nicklaus Children's Receives State Funding to Acquire New Technology to Support Care of Children with Complex Epilepsy

September 21, 2022 – State Senator Ileana Garcia and Senator-Elect Bryan Avila presented  Nicklaus Children's a $500,000 check funded by the state of Florida to support the work of the hospital’s Epilepsy Program, a world-leader in treating children with medically resistant epilepsy.

Nicklaus Children's Hospital Pediatric Specialty Services Again Ranked Among the Best in the Nation

June 16, 2020 – Five Nicklaus Children’s Hospital specialty programs are again identified among the best in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report’s 2020-21 “Best Children’s Hospitals” rankings, posted online today.

Dr. John Ragheb Elected President Of The American Society Of Pediatric Neurosurgeons

March 20, 2020 – Dr. John Ragheb, Director of the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery and Chief of the Department of Surgery at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, has been elected President of the American Society of Pediatric Neurosurgeons (ASPN).

Seven Nicklaus Children's Hospital Pediatric Specialty Services Again Ranked Among the Best in the Nation

June 19, 2019 – Seven Nicklaus Children's Hospital specialty programs are again identified among the best in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report's 2019-20 “Best Children's Hospitals” rankings. Nicklaus Children's has more ranked pediatric programs than any other hospital in Florida.

Eminent Pediatric Neurosurgeon Gregory W. Hornig, MD, Joins Nicklaus Children's Hospital

September 20, 2018 – Eminent pediatric neurosurgeon Gregory W. Hornig, MD, has joined the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital’s Brain Institute and Pediatric Specialists of America (PSA), the multispecialty group practice of Nicklaus Children’s Health System.

Nicklaus Children’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center Receives NAEC Accreditation

May 01, 2018 – The Nicklaus Children's Hospital Comprehensive Epilepsy Center has received accreditation by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC) as a level 4 epilepsy center. Level 4 epilepsy centers have the professional expertise and facilities to provide the highest level medical and surgical evaluation and treatment for patients with complex epilepsy.

Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Performs the World’s First Focused Ultrasound Surgery on Hypothalamic Hamartoma Tumor in Epilepsy Patient

April 20, 2017 – A multidisciplinary clinical team at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital used magnetic-resonance guided focused ultrasound to ablate a centrally located brain tumor in a young patient experiencing tumor-associated seizures.

Sanford Health and Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Collaborate to Sequence Genes

March 02, 2017 – Sanford Health and Nicklaus Children’s Hospital will sequence the genes of nearly 1,000 Latino and Hispanic people in an effort to better understand the health needs of those populations.

Nicklaus Children's Moves Patients into its New Advanced Pediatric Care Pavilion

October 26, 2016 – The Advanced Pediatric Care Pavilion, a six-story, state-of-the-art bed tower now houses the hospital's three intensive care units, the neurology-neurosurgery unit and a cardiac intensive care unit, among other enhancements.

Brain Institute Clinicians Present Epilepsy Findings at Dravet Syndrome Medical Conference

July 18, 2014 – Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, Clinicians Present Epilepsy Findings at Dravet Syndrome Medical Conference

Miami Children’s Hospital Brain Institute is Region’s First in Using Minimally Invasive Technique for Epilepsy Surgery in Children

April 10, 2012 – Epilepsy specialists at Miami Children’s Hospital are the first in the Southeast--and the second in the nation-- to offer minimally invasive laser surgery for children with seizures that don’t respond to anticonvulsant medications.

Miami Children’s Hospital Affiliation to Benefit Russian Children with Epilepsy

September 29, 2010 – The Miami Children’s Hospital Global Health Services program has formed an affiliation with the Moscow Center for Pediatric Craniofacial Surgery and Neurology in Moscow, Russia. Through the initiative, experts at Miami Children’s Hospital are collaborating with their Moscow counterparts to advance surgical care for Russian children with medically resistant epilepsy.

Russian Physicians Visit Miami Children's Brain Institute

September 18, 2009 – Neurologists from Moscow Pediatric Center of Craniofacial Surgery and Neurology, and Russian State Medical University are visiting Miami Children's Brain Institute.