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Jonathan Elmer, MD, MS

Assistant Professor, Emergency Medicine and Critical Care Medicine


Dr. Elmer is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Emergency Medicine and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.  Dr. Elmer received his medical degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine before his residency training in emergency medicine at the Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency at Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals in Boston, MA.  He then completed fellowship training in critical care medicine and neurocritical care at the University of Pittsburgh, where he also received a Masters of Science in clinical research. He joined the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh in 2012. Clinically, he attends in the NeuroTrauma intensive care unit at Presbyterian Hospital and with the Pittsburgh Post-Cardiac Arrest Service.


Dr. Elmer’s research aims to improve survival and good functional recovery after resuscitation from sudden cardiac arrest. Specifically, he works to achieve this goal by translating existing best practice neurocritical care to this important patient population, while in parallel developing and testing new strategies to detect, prevent and treat secondary brain injury.  Specific focuses of his current research are quantitative electroencephalography, multimodal neurological monitoring and big data/novel analytical methods to effectively summarize and identify patterns in these complex, longitudinal data.


Education and Training





Swarthmore College, Swarthmore PA




Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York NY




Massachusetts General Hospital and
Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston MA

Resident and Chief Resident


Emergency Medicine

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh PA



Critical Care Medicine, Neurocritical Care

Institute for Clinical Research, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh PA



Clinical Research

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh PA



K12 Scholar (5K12HL109068)

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh PA


04/17 - Present

K23 Scholar (1K23NS097629)



Selected Honors

2016     Young Investigator Award, American Heart Association Scientific Sessions - Resuscitation Science Symposium

2015     Best Abstract, American Heart Association Scientific Sessions - Resuscitation Science Symposium

2013     Fellow of the Year, Multidisciplinary Critical Care Training Program, Department of Critical Care Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

   2011     Richard Weurz Award, Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency

   2007     Alpha Omega Alpha

   2004     Phi Beta Kappa


Professional Society Service                                       

2016                  Poster session moderator: American Heart Association’s Resuscitation Science Symposium

2016-Present   Co-Chair: Emergency Neurological Life Support (ENLS) Subcommittee for Resuscitation Present After Cardiac Present Arrest protocol, Neurocritical Care Society

2016-Present    Member: 3CPR Early Career Committee of the Council on Cardiopulmonary, Critical Care, Perioperative & Resuscitation (3CPR), American Heart Association

2016-Present    Member, American Heart Association’s Fellow Research Day Task Force

2014-2016         Steering Committee, Emergency Medicine Section, Society for Critical Care Medicine



Current Research Projects

Quantitative electroencephalography and multimodal neurological monitoring after cardiac arrest

Brain injury is the most dreaded result of critical illness. For more than half a million Americans who suffer sudden cardiac arrest each year, current therapies are inadequate and outcomes are unacceptably poor. This project addresses two important, potentially preventable causes of death and disability due to post-arrest brain injury.  The first of these problems is secondary brain injury from ongoing tissue hypoxia and hypoperfusion in the days after resuscitation. Outcomes are further worsened by inaccurate neurological prognostication, which directly increases mortality through premature withdrawal of care in patients who might otherwise have had favorable recoveries. Quantitative electroencephalography (qEEG) is a tool that measures individual components or overall characteristics of electrical brain activity, and may help overcome both of these problems. We have developed innovative analytical methods to test if qEEG can noninvasively detect brain tissue hypoxia and hypoperfusion. We are validating these methods against invasive neurological monitoring, a clinically accepted but difficult-to-implement gold standard. Identification of qEEG markers of secondary brain injury would allow early and non-invasive patient care based on individualized need and real-time response to therapy. Additionally, we are using novel modeling methods to test if early qEEG signatures predict subsequent neurological deterioration and death, and test its value as one element of a multistep prognostic algorithm. 

Swine model of multimodal neurological monitoring and goal-directed treatment after opioid overdose and cardiac arrest. This work translates our human research to a large animal model, allowing controlled testing of specific interventions and measurement of a range of surrogate outcome measures (serum and CSF antioxidant reserves, platelet mitochondrial function, brain microdialysis) and treatment responsiveness. (Funded by a grant from the ZOLL Foundation)

Intracortical electroencephalographic monitoring in high-risk survivors of cardiac arrest.  This work seeks to evaluate the utility of intracortical electroencephalographic monitoring for the detection of occult seizures, spreading depolarization and early brain hypoxia in high-risk survivors of cardiac arrest. (Funded by a grant from the Laerdal Foundation).



See Jonathan Elmer’s Publications


Grants (Last 3 years)

  • 2017     National Institutes of Health - NINDS K23NS097629, PI Elmer, Quantitative electroencephalography after cardiac arrest
  • 2016     Beckwith Frontline Innovation Grant, PI Elmer, Utility of ICU diaries after severe acquired brain injury
  • 2015     Pittsburgh Emergency Medicine Foundation, PI Elmer, Long term outcomes associated with regionalized cardiac arrest care
  • 2014     K12 Career Development Program in Emergency Medicine Research, PI Callaway and Yealy NHLBI 5K12HL109068, Multimodal neurological monitoring after cardiac arrest
  • 2014     ZOLL Foundation Research Award,  PI Elmer, Swine model of multimodal neurological monitoring and goal-directed treatment after opioid overdose and cardiac arrest
  • 2014     Laerdal Foundation Research Award, PI Elmer, Intracortical encephalographic monitoring in high-risk survivors of cardiac arrest