Dennis Dee Spencer, MD

Harvey and Kate Cushing Professor of Neurosurgery; Chief, Epilepsy Surgery; Director, Epilepsy Fellowship; Director, Pituitary Surgery

Physician Biography

Dr. Spencer is the Harvey and Kate Cushing Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at Yale University School of Medicine. He is a graduate of Washington University School of Medicine and completed his neurosurgical residency at Yale in 1977. He joined the Yale neurosurgery faculty following his residency, and became Chief of neurosurgery in 1987. He has an international reputation in the surgical treatment of neurological diseases causing epilepsy and developed a widely used neocortical sparing surgical approach for patients with temporal lobe epilepsy.

The primary focus of Dr. Spencer's clinical work is surgery for medically intractable epilepsy, seizure disorders associated with brain tumors, and pituitary tumors. Besides chairing the Department of Neurosurgery, he directs the Epilepsy Surgery and Pituitary Tumor Programs.  His research has brought together basic scientists and clinicians around a program concerning energetics, glutamate metabolism and the neurobiological study of human epileptogenic tissue. Study techniques include 4T MRS, C13 intraoperative glucose turnover studies, and in vivo and in vitro electrophysiology and microdialysis, immunohistochemistry, confocal and EM microscopy, and molecular biology. In particular, laboratory discoveries are correlated with the epileptogenic substrate in order to help define human epilepsy pathogenesis and potential therapies.  Dr. Spencer was the 1999 recipient of the American Epilepsy Society's Research Award in Clinical Investigation, and the 2006 Society of Neurological Surgeons' Grass Award for Excellence in Research. He is past Chairman of the American Board of Neurological Surgery, Vice Chairman of the Neurosurgery Residency Review Committee, President of both the American Epilepsy Society (2008) and the Society of Neurological Surgeons (2007-2008), and he served as interim Dean of the Yale School of Medicine 2003-2004.

Clinical Interests

  • Brain Neoplasms
  • Seizures

Patient Care

Accepts new patients? Yes
Patient Type: Adult; Child
Referrals: From patients or physicians

Patient Care Organizations

Neurosurgery: Epilepsy Surgery

Epilepsy & Seizures

Pediatric Epilepsy Program

Pituitary Program

Yale Medicine

Board Certifications

  • Neurological Surgery AB of Neurological Surgery (1980)

Clinical Trials

Conditions Study Title
Diseases of the Nervous System Feasibility Study on LITT for Medical Refractory Epilepsy
Diseases of the Nervous System Laser Ablation of Abnormal Neurological Tissue Using Robotic NeuroBlate System (LAANTERN)
Diseases of the Nervous System, Mental Health & Behavioral Research SV2A PET Imaging in Healthy Subjects and Epilepsy Patients

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Contact Info

Dennis Dee Spencer, MD
Patient Care Location
Neuroscience CenterYale Physicians Building
800 Howard Avenue, Ste Lower Level

New Haven, CT 06519
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Mailing Address
PO Box 208082
New Haven, CT 06520-8082

Curriculum Vitae