Skip to main content
Dr. Cheerag Upadhyaya, UNC Neurosurgery
Dr. Cheerag Upadhyaya completed his MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management this past spring.

UNC Neurosurgery’s Spine Program accelerates with the addition of Dr. Cheerag Upadhyaya, who joined UNC Neurosurgery this month as Associate Professor, Neurosurgery. Dr. Upadhyaya’s qualifications and prior accomplishments as the director of a successful major academic multi-specialty spine program significantly enhance and elevate the leadership quotient of the Spine Division of the Department of Neurosurgery and the neurosurgical delegation to the UNC Spine center.

Dr Upadhyaya is also charged with strengthening the Dept of Neurosurgery’s business strategy and transformation to address the challenges of the ever-changing complex organism of academic health centers.

Dr. Upadhyaya is a board-certified neurosurgeon specializing in minimally invasive spine surgery. In addition to his extensive training in complex and minimally invasive spine surgery, he completed research fellowships in both the Howard Hughes Medical Institute / National Institutes of Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, resulting in a Master’s of Science. He completed medical school at the University of Florida, neurosurgical residency at the University of Michigan, and a fellowship in complex and minimally invasive spine surgery at the University of California in San Francisco.

Dr. Cheerag Upadhyaya presenting at the AANS MeetingUnder Dr. Nelson Oyesiku’s leadership, and in collaboration with Dr. Deb Bhowmick (deformity and revision spine surgery) and Dr. Michael Galgano (complex spinal oncologic surgery, scoliosis), Dr. Upadhyaya’s passion for subspecialized care will advance state-of-the-art care for all spine patients. “I’ve known of Dr. Oyesiku for years and I have the highest regard for him,” said Dr. Upadhyaya. “I’m excited about the opportunity to work with a Chairman from whom I can learn and who will be a good mentor. If you want to offer high level care, you want someone who is very focused in particular areas of neurosurgery to provide the best care for the more complex cases.”

With his extensive administrative experience, Dr. Upadhyaya recognizes the importance of interdisciplinary approaches towards spine patients by working with the orthopedics, physical therapy, neurology, pain psychology, and pain management and rehabilitation departments at UNC Health. Collaborating with these departments provides the most advanced clinical, research, and teaching opportunities. “Bringing these specialties together adds value to the patient,” explains Dr. Upadhyaya. With the knowledge acquired from his Master of Business Administration from the MIT Sloan School of Management, he will conduct research that will ultimately improve patient care by increasing access to patient care, ensuring that patients are directed to the most appropriate specialist in order to receive the care they need without falling through the cracks due to operational issues. This mission affords Dr. Upadhyaya the opportunity for collaboration with additional UNC programs including the business school, engineering school, school of public health, computer science, and data analytics, all on behalf of optimizing spine patient outcomes.

Dr. Cheerag Upadhyaya and his family - UNC Neurosurgery
Dr. Upadhyaya with his family.

Dr. Upadhyaya serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Neurosurgery Spine.  Additionally, he looks forward to returning to the academic realm, working with the medical students, residents, and fellows to train the next generation of neurosurgeons and with the community. As such, Dr. Upadhyaya enjoys the collegiality of college towns and the beautiful UNC campus / Chapel Hill.

Dr. Upadhyaya sees patients at the UNC Spine Center, located at 1350 Raleigh Road in Chapel Hill.


Written by Makenzie Hardy, Marketing Coordinator, UNC Health Department of Neurosurgery