About Bob Carter, MD, PhD

Bob S. Carter, MD, PhD, is a board-certified neurosurgeon specializing in complex intracranial surgery including brain, pituitary, and skull base tumors, and brain aneurysms.

Dr. Carter is the Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at Mass General and Visiting Professor at Harvard Medical School. One of the nation’s leading clinical neurosurgeons, Dr. Carter co-leads Massachusetts General Hospital’s brain tumor program, which brings together over 100 faculty and staff focused on brain tumor clinical care, research and education.

As a prolific researcher, Dr. Carter's scientific work has included the development of the first reported EGFRvIII directed CAR T-cell therapy, and the first characterizations of exosomes in glioblastoma.  He is a principal investigator participating in the NIH-funded Extracellular RNA Communication Consortium. Dr. Carter leads a team of clinician scientists who have developed the role of “big data” in characterizing outcomes in oncologic and vascular neurosurgery.

Dr. Carter is extensively published, and he lectures internationally on neurosurgery topics. He is an editorial board member for the Journal of Neurosurgery and editorial advisory board member for Neurosurgery.

Prior to joining Mass General, Dr. Carter served as Professor and Chair of Neurosurgery at the UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Consistently elected to America's Top Doctors®, Dr. Carter is a fellow of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and a member of numerous medical organizations, including the Congress of Neurological Surgeons and the American Academy of Neurological Surgery. He serves on the program committee for the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference and has served on the executive boards of the Joint Cerebrovascular Section and the New England Neurosurgical Society.

Clinical Interests:




Neurosurgery, MGH
55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114-2696
Phone: 617-726-8581

Medical Education

  • MD, PhD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Residency, Massachusetts General Hospital

American Board Certifications

  • Neurological Surgery, American Board of Neurological Surgery

Accepted Insurance Plans

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View my most recent research

In collaboration with Xandra Breakefield and Johan Skog,  we showed for the first time that exosomes and extracellular vesicles could serve as a blood test for brain tumors,  a "liquid biopsy" for diagnosing and measuring treatment response to brain tumors. The original publication in Nature Cell Biology showed that brain tumors release nano-sized vesicles into the blood stream, which can be used to track tumors and the response to therapy. Our collaborative research group is now a leading group for the clinical study of exosomes in neurologic cancer, with important characterizations of exosomes and extracellular vesicles in cerebrospinal fluid and blood samples. This domain of research is viewed as increasingly important across a number of diseases as investigators seek to understand the potential role of extracellular vesicles in cell-cell communication, as well as the potential for biomarker applications and therapeutics. 

Our research efforts have also focused on developing novel cell and gene based therapeutics for brain tumors, and other neurologic conditions. Our laboratory constructed the first anti-VEGFR and anti-EGFRvIII CAR T-cell receptors. Dr. Carter has served as PI on a national trial of fluorescence-guided resection of gliomas and other clinical trials designed to deliver novel biologic agents at the time of brain tumor surgery.   Dr. Carter also co-leads group of investigators developing new iPSC derived cell therapies for Parkinson's in collaboration with the Kim laboratory at Mclean Hospital.