Dr. Nicole BentleyIn honor of Women’s History Month, the Department of Neurosurgery is highlighting a woman faculty member who has accomplished three major personal and professional milestones. Assistant Professor Nicole Bentley, M.D. passed her boards, welcomed baby boy James Price Bentley, and received a K23 grant all within three short months.

In fact, Bentley welcomed her baby on Nov. 19, 2020, the same day that she received notice that she passed her neurosurgery oral boards. Then in February 2021, Bentley learned that she secured a five-year K23 grant awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that will provide over $880,000 in funding for her research in Parkinson’s disease.

“Although everything seemed to be happening at once, it was really many months of hard work that all came together in a short period of time,” said Bentley. “I am so proud to be a mother, board-certified, and kick-off the NIH project next month.”

According to the NIH, the K23 grant supports the career development of individuals with a medical degree, who have the potential to develop into productive, clinical investigators, and who have made a commitment to focus their research endeavors on patient-oriented research. In other words, the grant is commissioned with developing junior faculty in mind.

“Dr. Bentley is an example of the culture we are trying to promote within the Department of Neurosurgery,” said James Markert, M.D., MPH, James Garber Galbraith Endowed Chair of Neurosurgery. “And, she is an excellent example of the talented and capable junior faculty we are fortunate to have in our department.”

Bentley will be studying cognitive dysfunction in patients with Parkinson’s disease, investigating brain activity while patients perform tasks in the operating room. She hopes to translate findings from the Career Development Award into treatment for cognitive impairment in Parkinson’s patients, for which there are currently very few options.

“It’s an exciting time. I look forward to watching James grow alongside his big brother, contributing to the field of neuroscience research, and enjoying my neurosurgical practice as a board-certified physician,” said Bentley.