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Edward Robert Smith | Education

Undergraduate School

Dartmouth College

1992, Hanover, NH

Medical School

Columbia University

1996, New York, NY


Massachusetts General Hospital

1997, Boston, MA


Massachusetts General Hospital

2003, Boston, MA


Boston Children's Hospital

2004, Boston, MA

Edward Robert Smith | Certifications

  • American Board of Neurological Surgery
  • American Board of Pediatric Neurological Surgery

Edward Robert Smith | Professional History

I focus my practice on treating patients with cerebrovascular disease and brain tumors, with a particular focus on moyamoya syndrome, arteriovenous malformations and skull base tumors. Together with my colleagues at Boston Children's Hospital, we have developed world-class programs to treat these conditions through ongoing clinical innovation.

I was reintroduced to Dr. Scott when I was a medical student at Columbia University. The neurosurgery department's chair there at the time, Ben Stein, was a former partner of Dr. Scott's and encouraged me to go and work with him. I completed a rotation here and then quickly followed that up with a fellowship under Dr. Scott's guidance. I have been at Boston Children's ever since, and am indebted to Dr. Scott for helping me to become a leader in the treatment of moyamoya syndrome, cerebrovascular disease and brain tumors.

Under the tutelage of Dr. R. Michael Scott, we have continued to refine a novel, cutting-edge surgery for children with moyamoya based on the procedure of pial synangiosis, pioneered by Dr. Scott here at Boston Children's. Surgery has proven to be the only effective long-term treatment for this disease and we are a global leader in treating children with this disorder. Our department heads one of the world's largest pediatric moyamoya programs, with 40 to 50 operations annually and more than 1,000 revascularization procedures performed overall. This high-volume international practice is mirrored throughout our department, particularly in regard to cerebrovascular malformations and brain tumors. This has enabled me and my colleagues to develop a number of important innovations, including advances in minimally invasive skull base endoscopic techniques in young children and new perioperative and surgical approaches for moyamoya and arteriovenous malformation patients. 

This clinical expertise has led to authoring a number of important guidelines and articles about these conditions. I have tried to work on a national level to drive research on pediatric neurosurgical diseases, including in my roles as former president of the Young Neurosurgeons Committee of the American Association of Neurological Surgery, the current chair of the national research committee for the pediatric section of neurological surgery and the ethics committee of the American Society of Pediatric Neurosurgery, while also lecturing and teaching nationally and internationally.

This work is equally focused here at home. In 2014, together with my colleague and friend Darren Orbach, we founded the Cerebrovascular Surgery and Intervention Center—a first-of-its-kind program that integrates translational research into clinical efforts. This center includes a dedicated translational research fellowship to train clinician-scientists and a series of funded seed grants awarded to foster research in this area. Our center is a pilot program sponsored by the hospital designed to innovate paradigms of medical care partnered with research. My colleagues and I in the Center have created 3-D models of patients' brains and blood vessels to rehearse neurointerventional procedures in advance, an innovation that has been shown to save resources and—importantly—improve patient outcomes. Our goal is for our center to serve as a national leader to transform the way that care is delivered to children.


I believe strongly in my role as a surgeon/scientist, and, in the laboratory, am lucky to have been mentored by Marsha A. Moses, a great scientist and the director of the Vascular Biology Program here at Boston Children's.  I'm a New Englander, having grown up in Dartmouth, MA, followed by my undergraduate years studying biology and rowing at Dartmouth College. My patients often give me joke books, which might be a reflection on my sense of (or lack of!) humor and desire to try to keep kids laughing if at all possible during difficult circumstances.

Edward Robert Smith | Publications

I was drawn to neurosurgery—and to Boston Children's Hospital and training with Emeritus Neurosurgeon-in-Chief R. Michael Scott in particular—when my good friend in high school was treated here for a brain tumor. That experience started me on my path to becoming a pediatric neurosurgeon.