Nicholas Barbaro graduated summa cum laude with a BS degree in Biology from Georgetown University in 1975 and received his MD from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (Alpha Omega Alpha) in 1979. After an internship in general surgery and residency training in neurological surgery at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), he joined the faculty of the UCSF Department of Neurological Surgery in 1985. He became Professor and Vice-Chair of Neurological Surgery and Director of the Neurological Surgery Residency Program. Dr. Barbaro was Betsey Barton Professor and Chair of Neurological Surgery at Indiana University from 2011 until early 2019.
Dr. Barbaro has extensive expertise in the treatment of disorders that are manageable by stereotactic and functional neurosurgical techniques, including epilepsy, chronic intractable pain syndromes, and movement disorders. He is internationally recognized for his work in the surgical management of epilepsy, and was the Principal Investigator in a multi-center study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the Elekta Corporation using Gamma Knife® radiosurgery to treat patients with mesial temporal sclerosis (ROSE Trial). During his residency, Dr. Barbaro did a fellowship in pain research with Howard L Fields MD, PhD of the UCSF Department of Neurology. He has been involved in studies on the epileptogenic properties of brain tissue obtained from patients undergoing epilepsy surgery. Other clinical and research interests include trigeminal neuralgia and peripheral nerve surgery, including nerve tumors.
Dr. Barbaro is involved with a number of professional organizations. He is a past president of the San Francisco Neurological Society and has served as Secretary and President of the Neurosurgical Society of America. He has served on numerous committees for the Congress of Neurological Surgery and the American Epilepsy Society. He is a Fellow in the American College of Surgeons (ACS), and served on the Neurosurgery Advisory Council to the ACS. Dr. Barbaro is also on the Medical Advisory Board of the Trigeminal Neuralgia Association. He was a member of the NSD-K Study Section for the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke branch of the National Institutes of Health. He co-chaired the Epilepsy Common Data Element Committee for the NINDS. He has reviewed proposals to the Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation (NREF) of the AANS and served on the NREF Board. He has served as Local Arrangements Chair for the AANS, served on the Scientific Program Committee, as Chair in 2012. He also served on the AANS Board or Directors. He is a member of the American Academy of Neurological Surgeons and the Society of University Surgeons.
Dr. Barbaro has had a longstanding interest in neurosurgical education. He served as the first chair of the Committee on Resident Education (CoRE) for the Society of Neurological Surgeons (SNS, was SNS Secretary and SNS President. He served on the ACGME Review Committee for Neurological Surgery, including two years as committee chair.