Mahesh Karandikar, MD, PhD

Mahesh Karandikar, MD, PhD

Mahesh Karandikar, MD, PhD

  • Physician, University of Washington Medical Center
  • Physician, Fred Hutch
  • Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Washington School of Medicine


“My philosophy is that there is no place for pretense in medicine. I believe that excellent care is grounded in collaboration — among members of the health care team as well as patients and families. ”

— Dr. Karandikar

What inspired you to specialize in neurosurgery?

Many of my family members are physicians, so I was exposed to the field of medicine at a very young age. However, it wasn’t until I started volunteering as a hospital orderly during college that I considered becoming a physician myself. In medical school, I became fascinated by the central nervous system — the brain and the spinal cord. Those two structures make us who we are, and there is still a lot that remains unknown about the workings of the central nervous system. At the same time, I found that I really enjoyed the intricate, hands-on nature of performing surgeries. My specialty allows me to blend those two passions, exploring the mysteries of the brain and spine while using surgical techniques to help people who are facing cancer and other challenging conditions.

How do you like to work with patients?

My philosophy is that there is no place for pretense in medicine. I believe that excellent care is grounded in collaboration — among members of the health care team as well as patients and families. During our consultations, I welcome questions, and I encourage people to share not only what they already know about their condition and treatment but also what their health experiences have been like thus far. Through having in-depth discussions and learning from one another, we can make decisions that align with your needs and goals.

Provider Background

Specialty: Surgery

Spinal cord tumors, other neurological conditions

I am a board-certified neurosurgeon who specializes in treating patients with conditions affecting the brain and spine. At Fred Hutch, I provide surgical care for patients with both primary and metastatic spinal tumors. Before joining UW Medicine and Fred Hutch, I spent nine years in private practice.

My research interests include studying the effects of metabolic switching on neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or hydrocephalus. Triggered by a combination of intermittent fasting and physical activity, metabolic switching occurs when the body transitions from storing sugar and fat to processing them for fuel. Preliminary studies show that metabolic switching may support brain health and functionality. Another area of interest is developing better treatments for degenerative spinal conditions.

Diseases Treated



Education, Experience and Certifications

Medical Degree
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

University of Washington Medical Center, Neurological Surgery

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pediatric Neurosurgery; Johns Hopkins University, Orthopedic Spine Surgery

Board Certification
Neurological Surgery, 2017, American Board of Neurological Surgery

Internship, University of Washington Medical Center

Clinical Trials

We make promising new treatments available to you through studies called clinical trials led by Fred Hutch doctors. Many of these trials at Fred Hutch have led to FDA-approved treatments and have improved standards of care globally. Together, you and your doctor can decide if a study is right for you.

Find a Clinical Trial


Many of our Fred Hutch doctors conduct ongoing research to improve standards of patient care. Their work is evaluated by other doctors and selected for publication to the United States National Library of Medicine, the largest medical library in the world. See scientific papers this Fred Hutch provider has written.

View Dr. Karandikar's Publications

Your Care Team

At Fred Hutch, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes doctors, a patient care coordinator, a registered nurse, an advanced practice provider and others, based on your needs. You also have access to experts like nutritionists, social workers, acupuncturists, psychiatrists and more who specialize in supporting people with cancer or blood disorders.


Fred Hutch accepts most national private health insurance plans as well as Medicare. We also accept Medicaid for people from Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. We are working to ensure that everyone, no matter what their financial situation, has access to the care they need.

For the Media

The Media Relations team at Fred Hutch is available to assist members of the news media who would like to arrange interviews with providers.

Email or call 206.667.2210