Peter Nakaji was born on July 26, 1968 and raised in San Diego, California. He entered Revelle College at the University of California, San Diego, and graduated with a degree in physiology. He attended medical school also at the University of California, San Diego where he served as the Chairman of the Steering Committee for his class and had a distinguished clinical career. After a year spent traveling around the world, he began residency training in Neurological Surgery at UCSD under John F. Alksne and Lawrence F. Marshall in 1995. He took a special interest in cranial neurosurgery and completed his time at UCSD with distinction, earning the Chairman's Prize each year. He completed an in-training fellowship in Minimally Invasive and Endoscopic Surgery with Dr. Charles Teo in Sydney, Australia. After finishing his residency, he completed a second fellowship in Cerebrovascular and Skull Base Surgery with Dr. Robert Spetzler at the Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) in Phoenix, Arizona, where he took a faculty position in 2004. Under Dr. Spetzler's direction he found his passion for technically complex brain surgery. In 2010, he was appointed the successor to Dr. Volker Sonntag as the program director of the neurosurgery residency at the BNI, the largest neurosurgery residency training program in the United States.
Dr. Nakaji's clinical practice is focused on cranial neurosurgery including cerebrovascular surgery, minimally invasive and endoscopic cranial neurosurgery, and brain tumor surgery, among other areas. He has a strong research interest in the application of fluorescence technologies to cerebrovascular surgery, neuro-oncology, and neuropathology and has funding and several ongoing research projects in related areas.
Dr. Nakaji's academic work has been wide-ranging within neurosurgery. He has over 100 published articles in the neurosurgical literature, many book chapters, and made numerous academic and educational presentations on neurosurgical topics. He has been an invited speaker at departments, courses, and meetings around the US and overseas including Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. He has a commitment to the developing world and directs the Barrow's charity efforts which have included work in Tanzania, Peru, Ecuador, and most recently, Nicaragua.
Dr. Nakaji takes very seriously his clinical commitment to his patients to provide with the highest level of clinical care and technical excellence. He takes equally seriously his educational responsibility for training future neurosurgeons, and has been gratified to receive the residency teaching award at the BNI in 2009 and 2012. He has dedicated himself to driving the BNI forward to ever greater heights in the coming years.
Dr. Nakaji married Nicole Nakaji in 2004. They have three wonderful children and enjoy travel, running, and hiking.