Spine Surgery Program

Director: Paul Park, M.D.

The University of Michigan Spine Surgery Program provides state-of-the-art, comprehensive, patient-centered services to individuals affected by spinal disorders that may require surgical intervention. Patients referred to the spine surgery program may suffer from significant pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling due to degenerative disc disease, disc herniation, stenosis, spondylolisthesis, scoliosis, spinal tumor, or traumatic injury.

We offer a broad spectrum of advanced therapeutic options performed by experienced, fellowship trained experts in the field of spinal surgery. Surgeons in the Department of Neurosurgery also work closely with colleagues in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Department of Anesthesiology Pain and the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery to ensure that each patient receives optimal surgical or medical therapy for their spine problem.

Surgical treatment options may range from outpatient minimally invasive procedures such as discectomy, laminotomy, kyphoplasty/vertebroplasty to minimally invasive fusion and artificial spinal disk surgery in addition to more complex surgeries including multi-level instrumentation and fusion for traumatic fracture stabilization, spinal deformity correction, and resection of tumors. Each therapy is custom-tailored to suit the individual patient’s specific condition. With such a broad array of treatment options, the program takes pride in its ability to provide comprehensive care in a compassionate and informed manner.


Dr. Martin Buckingham

Martin Buckingham, M.D.

Clinical Assistant Professor, Neurological Surgery

Dr. Buckingham received his medical degree from the University of Illinois and completed his Neurosurgery residency at the University of Cincinnati. He practiced Neurosurgery in Rockford, IL for seven years and then moved to the Ann Arbor area where he continued at St. Joseph Mercy for 16 years prior to coming to the University of Michigan in 2015.

Dr. Buckingham’s neurosurgical practice focuses on adult minimally invasive spine surgery.

Jacob Joseph, M.D.

Jacob Joseph, M.D.

Clinical Assistant Professor, Neurological Surgery
Clinical Assistant Professor, Emergency Medicine
Adjunct Research Assistant Professor, Kinesiology

Dr. Joseph’s clinical interests are in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI), concussion, and spinal cord injury. He is also dedicated to the treatment of patients with spinal disorders requiring complex spinal reconstructive surgery or minimally invasive spinal surgery. His research focuses on understanding the biomechanics of traumatic brain injury in sports, diagnosing concussion using novel biomarkers and imaging techniques, and developing new therapeutics for victims of TBI and spinal cord injury. Dr. Joseph serves as an Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant for the National Football League and is committed to the prevention of brain and spine injuries in athletes.

Osama Kashlan, M.D.

Osama Kashlan, M.D., M.P.H.

Clinical Assistant Professor, Neurological Surgery
Clinical Assistant Professor, Orthopaedic Surgery

Dr. Kashlan attended the Georgia Institute of Technology to study chemical and biomolecular engineering. He subsequently obtained his medical degree from Emory University. He completed his residency in neurosurgery at the University of Michigan before returning to Emory University for further training in spine surgery. While a resident at U of M, Dr. Kashlan also obtained a master of public health degree in epidemiology. After completing his spine fellowship, Dr. Kashlan returned to U of M where his practice focuses on all aspects of spinal disease with a special interest in minimally-invasive spinal surgery.

Dr. Emily Levin

Emily Levin, M.D.

Clinical Assistant Professor, Neurological Surgery

Dr. Levin was born and raised in New Orleans, LA.  Graduating from Johns Hopkins University in 2002, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering.  She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine with her Doctor of Medicine.  Following completion of her surgical internship and residency in Neurosurgery at the University of Michigan, she completed a fellowship in Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery at the University of California, San Francisco. 

Dr. Levin has a particular interest in the use of technology to improve outcomes and the patient experience during neurosurgical procedures.  She has training in minimally invasive spine surgery techniques and treats patients with spinal stenosis, claudication, radiculopathy, and spondylolisthesis.

Mark E. Oppenlander, M.D.

Mark E. Oppenlander, M.D.

Clinical Associate Professor, Neurological Surgery
Clinical Associate Professor, Orthopaedic Surgery

Dr. Oppenlander attended the University of Michigan, where he graduated with Highest Distinction and a Bachelor of Science in Cellular and Molecular Biology. He went on to earn his medical degree at the University of Michigan. He completed his residency training program in Neurological Surgery at the Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) in Phoenix, AZ. He obtained fellowship training in Complex Spinal Surgery at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, and was awarded the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh Overseas Training Sponsorship, providing opportunity to travel to London, England for further fellowship training in Complex Spine Surgery and Spinal Oncology at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery at Queen Square.

Dr. Oppenlander specializes in complex spinal operations, including spinal deformity, spinal tumors, thoracic disc disease, craniovertebral junction surgery, robotics in neurosurgery, and more. 

Paul Park, M.D.

Director, Spine Program
Professor, Neurological Surgery
Professor, Orthopaedic Surgery

Paul Park, MD, is the Director of Spinal Surgery. He was born in Los Angeles, CA and attended UCLA for college where he earned bachelor and master's degrees in biology. He subsequently obtained a MD degree from the University of Michigan and completed a neurosurgical residency at the University of Michigan. Given his interest in the spine, Dr. Park also completed an enfolded fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic Spine Institute as well as a post-residency fellowship in minimally invasive spinal surgery at the Semmes-Murphey Clinic.

Dr. Park’s clinical focus is varied and includes minimally invasive surgery as well as complex spinal reconstruction for deformity, oncology, and trauma. In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Park is an active investigator in laboratory and clinical research including involvement in many multi-center clinical trials studying spinal cord injury, minimally invasive surgery, spinal fusion, spinal deformity, infection, among others. He has authored hundreds of peer reviewed publications and book chapters on spine related topics. In addition, Dr. Park regularly gives presentations at national and international spine meetings. 

Dr. Park is an active member of multiple neurosurgical and spine societies including the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Congress of Neurological Surgeons, Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerve, Society for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery, North American Spine Society, Scoliosis Research Society, International Spine Study Group. Within these societies, he has served on a number of committees including evidence based guidelines, education, outcomes, among others. He currently serves on the editorial boards of several neurosurgery and spine focused peer reviewed medical journals.


Parag Patil, M.D.

Parag G. Patil, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Neurological Surgery
Associate Professor, Neurology
Associate Professor, Anesthesiology
Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering

A native of Pennsylvania, Dr. Patil obtained a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from MIT. After graduation, he was awarded a Marshall Scholarship to study philosophy and economics at Magdalen College, Oxford University in the UK. Upon returning to the U.S., Dr. Patil pursued combined medical and doctoral studies in biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University as a fellow of the Medical Scientist Training Program of the NIH/NIGMS. Dr. Patil completed his residency at Duke University. Following residency, Dr. Patil obtained additional clinical expertise through a fellowship in functional and deep brain stimulation surgery at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Patil’s clinical interests include brain tumors, epilepsy surgery, hydrocephalus, neurovascular disorders, spasticity surgery, neurosurgery for pain, peripheral nerve surgery, radiosurgery, spine surgery, and movement disorders surgery. His research interests include brain-machine interface, neuroprosthetic devices, intraoperative electrophysiology, motor and cognitive human systems, neuroscience mechanisms of Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), and clinical outcomes in functional neurosurgery.  

Thomas Schermerhorn, M.D.

Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor, Neurological Surgery

Dr. Schermerhorn was born and raised in Kalamazoo, MI. He received his undergraduate degree from the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY. After serving in the U.S. Army Infantry, Dr. Schermerhorn received his medical degree from Wayne State University. He then completed a neurological surgery residency at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Dr. Schermerhorn obtained sub-specialty training in complex spine surgery at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC.

In addition to a comprehensive adult neurosurgical practice, Dr. Schermerhorn's clinical focus is on the surgical treatment of degenerative and traumatic spinal disorders and spinal oncology. 

Nicholas Szerlip, M.D.

Nicholas Szerlip, M.D.

Director, Spine Oncology
Clinical Associate Professor, Neurological Surgery

Dr. Nick Szerlip is originally from New York, just north of Manhattan, but lived many places around the country while growing up.  He obtained a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Columbia University and then attended Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, where he obtained his medical degree. Dr. Szerlip completed his residency training in at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. He completed additional fellowship training at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where he examined the origins of cancer cells and effective drug delivery to treat cancer, followed by a fellowship in neurosurgical oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

Clinically, Dr. Szerlip specializes in surgical and radiation treatment of spine tumors. His goal at the University of Michigan is to continue to build a clinical and translational spine oncology program that will enable the clinic and the laboratory to work together as partners to rapidly advance care for spine cancer.  This model will foster synergy among physicians and researchers, affording patients access to the latest clinical trials and outstanding, compassionate care; it will also accelerate new therapies for future patients.

Lynda Jun-San Yang, M.D.

Lynda Jun-San Yang, M.D., Ph.D.

Clinical Professor, Neurological Surgery
Brachial Plexus Program Director

Dr. Yang obtained a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Texas A&M University. She subsequently obtained her medical and doctoral degrees from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Yang then pursued neurosurgical residency training at the University of Michigan. During residency training, she developed an interest in peripheral nerve surgery under the mentorship of Dr. John McGillicuddy. She also completed fellowship training at the Royal National Orthopedic Hospital, UK. At the University of Michigan, Dr. Yang participates actively in the multi-disciplinary Pediatric Brachial Plexus Program.

Dr. Yang’s clinical interests include brachial plexus, hydrocephalus, peripheral nerve surgery, and spine surgery. Her clinical practice focuses largely on the treatment of adult and pediatric brachial plexus and peripheral nerve disorders. 

Advanced Practice Professionals

Miriana Popadich, N.P.

Advanced Practice Nurse, Neurological Surgery
Adjunct Clinical Instructor, School of Nursing
Taubman Center Floor 2 Reception G
1500 E Medical Center Dr SPC 5338
Ann Arbor, MI 48109