Christopher Giza Md


Department of Pediatric Neurology, Neurosurgery

Pediatric Neurology, Mattell Children’s Hospital
310-206-3480 | 310-794-2147 (fax) 


  • BS, Dartmouth University, 1986
  • MD, West Viriginia University Hospital, 1990
  • Internship, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, 1990-91
  • Residency, UCLA School of Medicine, 1991-94

Awards and Recognitions

  • 2014 – Invited guest, President Barack Obama’s White House Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Summit.  UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT program selected and highlighted as a Summit Action Commitment
  • 2014 – Zackery Lystedt Angel Award, Sarah Jane Brain Foundation – in recognition of national efforts to prevent and treat pediatric traumatic brain injury and concussions
  • 2014 – Matson Memorial Lecturer, American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Section on Pediatric Neurological Surgery
  • 2010-2015 – Selected to Southern California Super Doctors
  • 2011 – Professional in the Field Award, Brain Injury Association of California
  • 2010 – Today’s and Tomorrow’s Children Fund (TTCF) Award – Grand Prize Recipient
  • 2007-2009 – Shields Fellow, UCLA
  • 2005 – P.S. Ramani Oration Recipient, 14th Annual Conference for the Neurotrauma Society of Inida
  • 2002-03 – UCLA Brain Injury Research Center Young Investigator Award
  • 2002-03 – American Alpine Club Research Grant Award
  • 1998 – Junior Delegate Bursary Award, International Society for Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
  • 1996 – Mead Johnson Award for Teaching Excellence in Pediatrics

Research Interests

Professor Giza’s 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.


Recent Papers

1.      Arndt
DH*, Lerner J*, Matsumoto J, Madikians A, Yudovin S, Valino HB, McArthur DL, Wu
J, Leung M, Buxey F, Szeliga C, Van Hirtum-Das M, Sankar R, Brooks-Kayal A, Giza CC. 
Subclinical early post-traumatic seizures detected by continuous EEG monitoring
in a consecutive pediatric cohort.  Epilepsia, 2013 Oct;
54(10): 1780-8.

2.     Sanchez Fernandez IS, Sanchez
SM, Arndt DH, Carpenter JL, Chapman KE, Cornett KM, Dlugos DJ, Gallentine WB, Giza CC,
Goldstein JL, Hahn CD, Lerner JT, Loddenkemper T, Matsumoto JH, McBain K, Nash
KB, Payne E, Shults J, Williams K, Yang A, Abend NS. Electrographic seizures
after convulsive status epilepticus in children and young adults. A
retrospective multicenter study.  J Pediatr, 2014 Feb;

3.     Poulos AM, Reger ML, Mehta N,
Zhuravka I, Sterlace SS, Gannam C, Hovda DA, Giza CC, Fanselow
MS.  Amnesia for Early Life Stress Does Not Preclude the Adult Development
of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms in Rats.  Biol
2014 Aug 15; 76(4):306-14.

4.     Conidi FX, Drogan O, Giza CC,
Kutcher JS, Alessi AG and Crutchfield KE.  Sports Neurology Issues in
Neurologic Practice:  A Survey of American Academy of Neurology
Members.  Neurol Clin Practice, 2014 Apr; 4(2):153-160.

5.     Vavilala MS, Kernic MA, Wang J,
Kannan N, Mink RB, Wainwright MS, Groner JI, Bell MJ, Giza CC,
Zatzick DF, Ellenbogen RG, Boyle LN, Mitchell PH, Rivara FP for the PEGASUS
(Pediatric Guideline Adherence and Outcomes) Study.  Acute Care Clinical
Indicators Associated with Discharge Outcomes in Children with Severe Traumatic
Brain Injury. Crit Care Med, 2014 Oct; 42(10):2258-66.

6.     Zemek R, Duval S, Dematteo C, … Giza CC, et
 2014.Guidelines for Diagnosing and Managing Pediatric
 Toronto, ON:  Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation.
download free at

7.     Yang A, Arndt DH, Berg R,
Carpenter JL, Chapman KE, Dlugos DJ, Gallentine WB, Giza CC,
Goldstein JL, Hahn CD, Lerner JT, Loddenkemper T, Matsumoto JH, Nash KB, Payne
ET, Fernandez I, Shults J, Topjian AA, Williams K, Wusthoff CJ, Abend NS.
 Development and validation of a seizure prediction model in critically
ill children.  Seizure2014 Oct 5; [Epub ahead of print]. 

8.     Giza CC and Hovda
DA.  The New Neurometabolic
Cascade of Concussion. Neurosurgery 2014 Oct; 75 Suppl

9.     Giza CC.  Pediatric
Issues in Sports Concussions. Continuum(Minneap Minn) 2014 Dec,20(6, Sports Neurology):1570-1587.

10. Bondi CO, Semple BD, Noble-Haeusslein LJ, Osier ND,
Carlson SW, Dixon CE, Giza CC, Kline AE. Found in translation:
understanding the biology and behavior of traumatic brain injury.Neurosci
& Biobehav Rev, 
Dec 10, 2014. [Epub ahead of print]

11. Arndt D, Goodkin H and Giza CC. 
Early post-traumatic seizures in the pediatric population.  J Child Neurol, Jan 5, 2015.[Epub ahead of print]

12. Choe MC, Giza CC.
Diagnosis and management of acute concussion. In press, Seminars in
Neurol, 2015.

13. Echemendia R, Giza CC, Kutcher
JS.  Developing Guidelines for Return to Play: Consensus and
Evidence-Based Approaches.  Broshek D and Barth J, eds. Brain Inj,
In press, 2015
; TBIN-2014-0007.R1.

14. Smith AM, Stuart MJ, Dodick DW,…Giza CC, et
al., Ice Hockey Summit II: Zero Tolerance for Head Hits and Fighting. In
press, Clin J Sports Med, 2015.