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Christopher Giza, M.D.

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Work Email Address:

Mailing Address:
UCLA Brain Injury Research Center, Neurosurgery
Department of Neurosurgery
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Los Angeles, CA 90095

10833 Le Conte Blvd
Division of Pediatric Neurology
Mattel Children's Hospital - UCLA
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Office Address:
Pediatric Neurology
Division of Pediatric Neurology
Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA
Los Angeles, CA 90095

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Department / Division Affiliations
Professor, Neurosurgery, Pediatric Neurology, Neuroscience IDP
Member, ACCESS Program, Access Neuroscience Home Area, Brain Research Institute
Faculty, Biomedical Engineering IDP

Research Interest:

Developmental Traumatic Brain Injury and Neuroplasticity

Areas of research interest and active investigation include developmental TBI and its pathophysiology. Ongoing studies include those examining impaired neurotransmission, altered developmental plasticity, acute alterations in metabolism, morphological injury, vulnerability to secondary insults and behavioral impairments. Basic research into post-traumatic brain activation, molecular signaling and experience-dependent plasticity are fundamental parts of the laboratory program. We are currently investigating the response of molecular signaling molecules after developmental TBI, and how post-injury environment may modulate the molecular and neuroplastic potential of the immature brain. Specifically, there appears to be an impairment of excitatory neurotransmission and activity-dependent neurotrophin expression that represent mechanisms underlying the injury-induced impairment of brain plasticity. Another basic research area spans the terrain between acute neuronal injury and delayed plasticity. Using induction of post-traumatic seizures as a secondary injury, we are studying the vulnerability of the injured immature brain. By conducting long-term behavioral, electrophysiological and morphological assessments of these subjects, we also gain insight into aberrant neuronal sprouting and epileptogenesis following TBI. In addition to the basic science approach to the problem of pediatric TBI, the group is currently engaged in establishing a translational/clinical program. This will be designed to capture physiological monitoring and imaging data from the acute hospitalization, with standardized outpatient clinic followup. One area of clinical investigation already underway is the study of neuropsychological function, anatomical imaging, functional brain mapping and white matter tract morphology across time in normal developing control children and in children recovering following moderate to severe TBI. A second clinical area under development will be the correlation of acute physiological variables (such as intracranial pressure, cerebral perfusion, magnetic resonance spectroscopy, acute white matter lesions, and early secondary insults) with neurological and behavioral outcomes. One important goal of the group is to translate research findings between laboratory and clinical arenas to gain better mechanistic insight into the physiological distinctions of pediatric TBI, and to better understand and to eventually facilitate how the developing brain recovers from TBI.


Christopher Giza graduated from Dartmouth College, received his M.D. from West Virginia University and completed his internship at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Giza then trained in Adult and Pediatric Neurology at UCLA, after which he worked on the Yosemite Search and Rescue team. In 1998, he returned to UCLA and joined the Brain Injury Research Center. Dr. Giza leads the Pediatric TBI program at UCLA. He traveled to Afghanistan in 2011 as a civilian advisor to the Department of Defense and in 2012 established UCLA BrainSPORT, a comprehensive sports concussion/mild TBI program for prevention, outreach, research and treatment. In 2012, he received the “Professional in the Field Award” from the Brain Injury Association of California. Dr. Giza co-Chaired the American Academy of Neurology’s committee that developed an evidence-based Practice Guideline for Management of Sports Concussions in 2013. He serves on the Center for Disease Control’s Pediatric mild TBI committee, the NCAA Concussion Task Force, the Major League Soccer Concussion Program Committee and has served as Vice-Chair for the California State Athletic Commission. He directs the NFL Neurological Care Program at UCLA. He is currently Professor of Pediatric Neurology and Neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine and Mattel Children’s Hospital - UCLA. His research interests include neuroplasticity, recovery from injury, sport-related concussions, post-traumatic epilepsy and brain development.


Prins ML, Giza CC Induction of monocarboxylate transporter-2 expression and ketone transport following traumatic brain injury in juvenile and adult rats. Developmental Neuroscience 2006; 28(4-5): 447-56.
Giza CC, Santa Maria NS, and Hovda DA. N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor subunit changes following traumatic injury to the developing brain. Journal of Neurotrauma 2006; 23(6): 950-61.
Giza, CC. Better Never Than Late: Lasting Effects of Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury. Indian Journal of Neurotrauma 2006; 3(1): 19-26.
Madikians A and Giza CC. A Clinician's Guide to the Pathophysiology of Traumatic Brain Injury. Indian Journal of Neurotrauma 2006; 3(1): 9-17.
Bhidayashiri R, Waters M and Giza CC. Neurological Differential Diagnosis: A Prioritized Approach. 2005; .
Bhidayasiri R and Giza CC. Images in Pediatric Neurosurgery - Subdural hematoma and retinal hemorrhages in an infant: accidental or non-accidental injury?. Pediatric Neurosurgery 2004; 40(3): 147-8.
Osteen CL, Giza CC and Hovda DA. Injury-induced alterations in NMDA receptor subunit composition contribute to prolonged 45calcium accumulation following lateral fluid percussion. Neuroscience 2004; 128(2): 305-322.
Giza CC, Prins ML, Hovda DA, Herschman HR and Feldman JD. Genes preferentially induced by depolarization after concussive brain injury: Effects of age and injury severity. Journal of Neurotrauma 2002; 19(4): 387-402.
Donnelly TJ and Giza CC. Differential Diagnosis Mnemonics. 2001; .
Fineman I, Giza CC, Nahed B, Lee SM and Hovda DA. Inhibition of neocortical plasticity during development by moderate concussive brain injury. Journal of Neurotrauma 2000; 17(9): 739-49.
Rabizadeh S, Ye X, Wang JJL, Sperandio S, Wang, JJL, Ellerby HM, Ellerby LM, Giza CC, Andrusiak RL, Frankowski H, Yaron Y, Moayeri NN, Rovelli G, Evans CJ, Butcher LL, Nolan GP, Assa-Munt N, and Bredesen DE. Neurotrophin dependence domain: A domain required for the mediation of apoptosis by the p75 neurotrophin receptor. Journal of Molecular Neuroscience 2000; 15: 215-229.
Schober Michelle E, Block Benjamin, Beachy Joanna C, Statler Kimberly D, Giza Christopher C, Lane Robert H Early and sustained increase in the expression of hippocampal IGF-1, but not EPO, in a developmental rodent model of traumatic brain injury. Journal of neurotrauma. 2010; 27(11): 2011-20.
Hutson Che Brown, Lazo Carlos R, Mortazavi Farzad, Giza Christopher C, Hovda David, Chesselet Marie-Francoise Traumatic brain injury in adult rats causes progressive nigrostriatal dopaminergic cell loss and enhanced vulnerability to the pesticide paraquat. Journal of neurotrauma. 2011; 28(9): 1783-801.
Babikian Talin, Prins Mayumi L, Cai Yan, Barkhoudarian Garni, Hartonian Ivet, Hovda David A, Giza Christopher C Molecular and physiological responses to juvenile traumatic brain injury: focus on growth and metabolism. Developmental neuroscience. 2010; 32(5-6): 431-41.
Kutcher Jeffrey S, Giza Christopher C Sideline assessment of sports concussion: the lure of simplicity. Neurology. 2011; 76(17): 1450-1.
Reger Maxine L, Poulos Andrew M, Buen Floyd, Giza Christopher C, Hovda David A, Fanselow Michael S Concussive Brain Injury Enhances Fear Learning and Excitatory Processes in the Amygdala. Biological psychiatry. 2011; .
Cazalis Fabienne, Babikian Talin, Giza Christopher, Copeland Sarah, Hovda David, Asarnow Robert F Pivotal role of anterior cingulate cortex in working memory after traumatic brain injury in youth. Frontiers in neurology. 2011; 1(17): 158.
Adelson P David, Pineda Jose, Bell Michael J, Abend Nicholas S, Berger Rachel P, Giza Christopher C, Hotz Gillian, Wainwright Mark S Common Data Elements for Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury: Recommendations from the Working Group on Demographics and Clinical Assessment. Journal of neurotrauma. 2011; .
Barkhoudarian Garni, Hovda David A, Giza Christopher C The molecular pathophysiology of concussive brain injury. Clinics in sports medicine. 2011; 30(1): 33-48, vii-iii.
Shrey Daniel W, Griesbach Grace S, Giza Christopher C The pathophysiology of concussions in youth. Physical medicine and rehabilitation clinics of North America. 2011; 22(4): 577-602, vii.
Sánchez Sarah M, Arndt Daniel H, Carpenter Jessica L, Chapman Kevin E, Cornett Karen M, Dlugos Dennis J, Gallentine William B, Giza Christopher C, Goldstein Joshua L, Hahn Cecil D, Lerner Jason T, Loddenkemper Tobias, Matsumoto Joyce H, McBain Kristin, Nash Kendall B, Payne Eric, Sánchez Fernández Iván, Shults Justine, Williams Korwyn, Yang Amy, Abend Nicholas S Electroencephalography monitoring in critically ill children: Current practice and implications for future study design. Epilepsia. 2013; 54(8): 1419-27.
Ip Emily Yu-Yen, Giza Christopher Conrad, Griesbach Grace Sophia, Hovda David Allen Effects of enriched environment and fluid percussion injury on dendritic arborization within the cerebral cortex of the developing rat. Journal of neurotrauma. 2002; 19(5): 573-85.
Zanier Elisa Roncati, Lee Stefan M, Vespa Paul M, Giza Christopher C, Hovda David A Increased hippocampal CA3 vulnerability to low-level kainic acid following lateral fluid percussion injury. Journal of neurotrauma. 2003; 20(5): 409-20.
Abend Nicholas S, Arndt Daniel H, Carpenter Jessica L, Chapman Kevin E, Cornett Karen M, Gallentine William B, Giza Christopher C, Goldstein Joshua L, Hahn Cecil D, Lerner Jason T, Loddenkemper Tobias, Matsumoto Joyce H, McBain Kristin, Nash Kendall B, Payne Eric, Sánchez Sarah M, Fernández Iván Sánchez, Shults Justine, Williams Korwyn, Yang Amy, Dlugos Dennis J Electrographic seizures in pediatric ICU patients: Cohort study of risk factors and mortality. Neurology. 2013; 81(4): 383-391.
Giza Christopher C, Prins Mayumi L, Hovda David A, Herschman Harvey R, Feldman Jonathan D Genes preferentially induced by depolarization after concussive brain injury: effects of age and injury severity. Journal of neurotrauma. 2002; 19(4): 387-402.
Van Cleve William, Kernic Mary A, Ellenbogen Richard G, Wang Jin, Zatzick Douglas F, Bell Michael J, Wainwright Mark S, Groner Jonathan I, Mink Richard B, Giza Christopher C, Boyle Linda Ng, Mitchell Pamela H, Rivara Frederick P, Vavilala Monica S, Vavilala Monica S National Variability in Intracranial Pressure Monitoring and Craniotomy for Children with Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury. Neurosurgery. 2013; 81(4): .
Giza Christopher C., Hovda David A. The Neurometabolic Cascade of Concussion. Journal of athletic training. 2001; 36(3): 228-235.
Kernic Mary A, Rivara Frederick P, Zatzick Douglas F, Bell Michael J, Wainwright Mark S, Groner Jonathan I, Giza Christopher C, Mink Richard B, Ellenbogen Richard G, Boyle Linda, Mitchell Pamela H, Kannan Nithya, Vavilala Monica S, Vavilala Monica S Triage of children with moderate and severe traumatic brain injury to trauma centers. Journal of neurotrauma. 2013; 30(13): 1129-36.
Giza Christopher C, Kutcher Jeffrey S, Ashwal Stephen, Barth Jeffrey, Getchius Thomas S D, Gioia Gerard A, Gronseth Gary S, Guskiewicz Kevin, Mandel Steven, Manley Geoffrey, McKeag Douglas B, Thurman David J, Zafonte Ross Summary of evidence-based guideline update: evaluation and management of concussion in sports: report of the Guideline Development Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology. Neurology. 2013; 80(24): 2250-7.
Matsumoto Joyce H, Caplan Rochelle, McArthur David L, Forgey Marcy J, Yudovin Sue, Giza Christopher C Prevalence of epileptic and nonepileptic events after pediatric traumatic brain injury. Epilepsy & behavior : E&B. 2013; 27(1): 233-7.
Sanchez Sarah M, Carpenter Jessica, Chapman Kevin E, Dlugos Dennis J, Gallentine William B, Giza Christopher C, Goldstein Joshua L, Hahn Cecil D, Kessler Sudha K, Loddenkemper Tobias, Riviello James J, Abend Nicholas S, Abend Nicholas S Pediatric ICU EEG monitoring: current resources and practice in the United States and Canada. Journal of clinical neurophysiology : official publication of the American Electroencephalographic Society. 2013; 30(2): 156-60.
Prins Mayumi L, Alexander Daya, Giza Christopher C, Hovda David A Repeated mild traumatic brain injury: mechanisms of cerebral vulnerability. Journal of neurotrauma. 2013; 30(1): 30-8.
Choe Meeryo C, Babikian Talin, DiFiori John, Hovda David A, Giza Christopher C A pediatric perspective on concussion pathophysiology. Current opinion in pediatrics. 2012; 24(6): 689-95.
Giza Christopher C, Difiori John P Pathophysiology of sports-related concussion: an update on basic science and translational research. Sports health. 2011; 3(1): 46-51.
Giza Christopher C, Maria Naomi S Santa, Hovda David A N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor subunit changes after traumatic injury to the developing brain. Journal of neurotrauma. 2006; 23(6): 950-61.
Gurkoff Gene G, Giza Christopher C, Hovda David A Lateral fluid percussion injury in the developing rat causes an acute, mild behavioral dysfunction in the absence of significant cell death. Brain research. 2006; 1077(1): 24-36.
Giza Christopher C, Prins Mayumi L Is being plastic fantastic? Mechanisms of altered plasticity after developmental traumatic brain injury. Developmental neuroscience. 2006; 28(4-5): 364-79.
Giza Christopher C, Griesbach Grace S, Hovda David A Experience-dependent behavioral plasticity is disturbed following traumatic injury to the immature brain. Behavioural brain research. 2005; 157(1): 11-22.