Jon T. Willie, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor

Departments of Neurosurgery and Neurology

Phone: 404-727-2354

Fax: 404-712-8576


Additional Contact Information

Mailing Address:

Emory University

1365 Clifton Rd NE
Suite 6200

Atlanta, GA 30322


Dr. Jon Willie is a Functional Neurosurgeon who received his medical degree from University of Texas Southwestern Medical School.

His research interests include understanding the mechanisms of arousal is a fundamental problem in neuroscience with high potential to impact numerous neurological diseases. The orexin (also called hypocretin) neuropeptide transmitter system critically orchestrates the activity of multiple brain circuits to produce sustained wake and motivation. Indeed, loss of orexin neurons of the hypothalamus causes the sleep-wake disorder narcolepsy with cataplexy. This disorder is characterized by uncontrollable attacks of sleep and attacks of muscle paralysis triggered by emotion. Loss or dysfunction of the orexin system may also play a role in sleepiness associated with Parkinson disease and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Using animal models, we have demonstrating that replacement of orexin into the brain by direct infusion or gene-bases therapy holds great potential for reversing the sleepiness associated with these disorders. Dr. Willie's research involves translating the use of orexin-based therapies and other neuromodulatory techniques (including deep brain stimulation) into surgical practice for the treatment of sleep attacks associated with narcolepsy or Parkinson disease, cataplexy, and minimally conscious state following TBI.


Movement disorders; epilepsy; pain syndromes; peripheral nerve disorders; traumatic brain injury; spine and spinal cord injury; pituitary tumors; neuro-oncology; hydrocephalus and neuro-endoscopy; surgery for depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, narcolepsy, minimally conscious state, and metabolic syndrome; neuromodulation and molecular therapies for CNS.