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School of Medicine Columbia

Faculty and Staff

Leonardo Bonilha, M.D., Ph.D.

Title: Senior Associate Dean for Research
Department: Pharmacology, Physiology, Neuroscience
School of Medicine Columbia
Leonardo Bonilha Headshot


M.D./Ph.D. in Neuroscience - State University of Campinas in Brazil

Residencies and Fellowships

Neurology Residency - Medical University of South Carolina (2011)

Neurology Fellowship - Medical University of South Carolina (2012)

Board Certifications

Dr. Bonilha is board certified in Neurology, Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology


Leo Bonilha, M.D.-Ph.D., a physician scientist and professor of neurology, has been practicing medicine for more than 20 years. He is Clinical Director for University of South Carolina Brain Health and Senior Associate Dean for Research at the USC School of Medicine in Columbia.

Bonilha obtained both his Doctor of Medicine and his Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the State University of Campinas in Brazil. He worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Nottingham, UK, focusing on cognitive neuroscience. He moved to South Carolina in 2005, serving as a research Assistant Professor of Neurology at USC for the next two years. From 2007-2012, he completed his medical internship, neurology residency and fellowship in clinical neurophysiology at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).

Bonilha joined the faculty at MUSC in 2012, where he served as Director of the Neurology Residency Clinic, Director of the Language and Aphasia Clinic, Director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, Medical Director of the Stroke Recovery Research Center, Vice Chair for Research for the Department of Neurology and the Smart State Endowed Chair for Neuroimaging. Dr. Bonilha went to Emory University in 2022, where he became a Professor of Neurology, Vice-Chair of Research and Director of the Emory Comprehensive Epilepsy Center.

Bonilha’s areas of expertise include aphasia, epilepsy, seizures and language. His research focuses on understanding structural and functional network adaptations to brain injury, particularly regarding language impairments after stroke and its recovery. Additionally, his studies include neuronal networks associated with epilepsy and their response to treatment. Bonilha’s research has resulted in his co-authoring 290 peer reviewed articles and participating in four clinical trials in the past 15 years.


View Dr. Bonilha's entire publications list on PubMed.

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