2008-2009 Fellows

CNS/CSNS Medical Student Fellow

Claire Olson

CNS Medical Student Summer Fellowship in Clinical Neurosurgery

Claire Olson is in her second year at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. She graduated from UVa with a BA in neuroscience in 2006. Her earlier research experience includes working on neurogenesis of the dentate gyrus under stress in rats at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio and circadian timing mechanisms manipulating drosophila genetics within the Center for Biological Timing at UVa. Through this summer fellowship opportunity, she will endeavor to assess neurocognitive and quality of life effects of Gamma Knife radiosurgery in patients with brain metastases being treated at UVa. The summer will also offer Miss Olson the opportunity to explore the field of neurosurgery as a future career choice.

Claudia Berrondo

CNS Medical Student Summer Fellowship in Neurosurgical Research

Claudia Berrondo graduated from the University of Rochester with a BS in Neuroscience and a minor in Psychology. She is currently working on her medical degree at Dartmouth Medical School. Claudia has been interested in neurosurgery since High School and her interest grew throughout her college career. She spent two summers during college exploring this interest through her work with Dr. Murinson at Johns Hopkins Medical Institute. There she participated in clinical research focused on peripheral neuropathies and medical research studying the effects of Statins on the growth and development of neurons in rats. She will use her CNS Medical Student Summer Fellowship to work with Dr. Jensen at the Huntsman Cancer Institute to conduct research on using siRNA against HIF-1 for treating intracranial tumors.

Doniel Drazin

CNS Medical Student Summer Fellowship in Clinical Neurosurgery

Doniel Drazin graduated magna cum laude from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and earned a masters degree in psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, specializing in autism and neurodevelopmental disorders. He studied spinal cord injuries as a research assistant in the Stanford University Neurosurgery Department. At Albany Medical College, Doniel has been co-investigator on a stroke study. His team successfully developed an endovascular large animal stroke model and has been studying tamoxifen as a neuroprotectant; the team recently received an AHA grant to continue this work. Doniel has received several research awards and will use the current CNS Award to conduct stroke research under the mentorship of Dr. Alan Boulos and Dr. A. John Popp. Doniel envisions his future as an academic neurosurgeon.

Sohum K. Desai

CNS/CSNS Medical Student Summer Fellowship in Socioeconomic Research

Sohum Desai is currently a third year medical student at Texas A&M University Health Science Center. He received his B.S. degree in Biology from Texas A&M University Kingsville. Under the mentorship of Dr. Jonathan Friedman, his CNS/CSNS Medical Student Summer Fellowship in Socioeconomic Research project will study the effect of medical liability reform in Texas on neurosurgeon migration.

CNS Domestic Fellows

Abraham Boskovitz, MD

CNS/MGI Pharma Fellowship in Tumor Research

Dr. Abraham Boskovitz graduated from Medical School in Lausanne, Switzerland. During his first year of neurosurgical residency in Lausanne, he developed a specific interest in the treatment of patients with brain tumors. He was awarded funding from several sources, including the Swiss Cancer League and the SICPA Foundation, and spent four years conducting translational research in the area of targeted radioimmunotherapy of high-grade gliomas within the laboratory of Dr. Darell Bigner at Duke University Medical Center. He is currently a PGY-4 neurosurgical resident at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, MA, and will spend this research year working on the intratumoral administration of specific siRNAs in transgenic mice models of glioblastoma, within the brain tumor laboratory of Dr. Alain Charest at Tufts University.

Chirag G. Patil, MD

CNS Dandy Fellowship

Dr. Chirag Patil is a senior resident in Neurosurgery at Stanford University. He received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and subsequently attended UCSF School of Medicine. During residency Dr. Patil developed a keen interest in brain & pituitary tumors, national outcomes analysis and clinical trial design. He has recently completed the Masters program in Epidemiology at Stanford with a focus on cancer epidemiology, trial design and outcomes analysis. Under the mentorship of Drs Edward R. Laws Jr. and John R. Adler Jr., Dr. Patil is planning to conduct a randomized clinical trial that aspires to improve outcomes of patients with Acromegaly.

Dr. Patil lives in Mountain View, California with his wife Rajita who is an OB/GYN and their lovely daughter, Surya.

Christopher A. Iannotti, MD

CNS Basic/Translational Resident Research Fellowship

Dr. Christopher A. Iannotti is currently a PGY-4 resident in neurosurgery at the Cleveland Clinic. During his graduate research training, he investigated axonal growth-promoting and neuroprotective strategies following experimental spinal cord injury (SCI), and received an NIH-NINDS predoctoral fellowship to examine the neuroprotective effects of GDNF after contusive SCI. Under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Steinmetz, his CNS research project will assess the therapeutic efficacy of a combined SCI treatment strategy utilizing peripheral macrophage depletion, cAMP elevation, and Rho kinase inhibition to provide neuroprotection, and promote axonal regeneration and functional recovery following contusive SCI. Dr. Iannotti plans to utilize the CNS Basic/Translational Research Fellowship Award as a foundation for future research efforts aimed at the development of successful treatments for SCI patients.

Cian J. O’Kelly, MD

CNS/Micrus Endovascular Neurosurgery Fellowship

Dr. Cian J. O’Kelly attended medical school at the University of Alberta. He then entered the neurosurgery program at the University of Toronto. During residency Dr. O’Kelly developed an interest in cerebrovascular neurosurgery, which led to his pursuance of a Masters in Clinical Epidemiology, examining outcomes of ruptured aneurysm treatment. Upon completion of residency in 2008 Dr. O’Kelly will embark on a two year combined surgical and endovascular fellowship in Toronto. He hopes to continue research during his fellowship and career, with a particular focus on the epidemiology of cerebrovascular disease. Dr. O’Kelly is fortunate to have the love and support of his wife Dr. Melanie Bodnar and their two daughters Emmeline and Josephine.

Deb A. Bhowmick, MD

CNS/Medtronic Spine Fellowship

Dr. Deb A. Bhowmick is currently a fifth year neurosurgery resident at the University of Pennsylvania. He attended medical school at Baylor College of Medicine and completed his undergraduate studies in biochemistry at Rice University. Deb is interested in the application of molecular biology tools for the treatment of common spinal disorders. In the coming year Deb plans on availing his fellowship award to determine novel ways to enhance spinal fusion by manipulating mesenchymal stem cells found in bone marrow aspirates. He will be working in the laboratory of Dr. Adam Resnick and Dr. Phillip Storm at the University of Pennsylvania and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and is very excited by the opportunity given to him by the CNS Fellowship Committee.

Edward Chang, MD

CNS Wilder Penfield Fellowship

Dr. Edward F. Chang is a senior neurosurgery resident at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He received his BA degree from Amherst College and MD degree from UCSF. His current clinical interests are functional and epilepsy neurosurgery. His prior research experience under the mentorship of Michael Merzenich, PhD, focused upon the functional ontogeny of the auditory cortex, and the role of experience-driven plasticity during development. As the CNS Wilder Penfield Fellow, Dr. Chang will conduct an electrocorticographic investigation of dynamic language and complex sound processing networks in the human neocortex. These studies will be carried out under the guidance of Dr. Robert Knight, director of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at the University of California, Berkeley, with Drs. Nicholas Barbaro and Mitchel Berger at UCSF.

Gregory Hawryluk, MD

CNS/Synthes Spine Fellowship

Dr. Gregory Hawryluk graduated from medical school at the University of Alberta in 1999. He is currently a mid-level neurosurgery at the University of Toronto where he is also in his second year of graduate studies in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Fehlings pursuing a PhD. Dr. Hawryluk has joined the stem cell group within the lab, which has successfully achieved remyelination of traumatically demyelinated axons and functional recovery. In work supported by his CNS/Synthes Spine Fellowship, Dr. Hawryluk is seeking to better understand the effects of stem cell transplantation and the mechanisms underlying the observed benefits. Once interactions between the host tissue and transplanted cells are better defined, it is hoped that the insights will allow optimization of this strategy and greater functional recovery.

Hayan Dayoub, MD

CNS/Boston Scientific Fellowship in Cerebrovascular Research

Dr. Hayan Dayoub was born in Lattakia, Syria on the eastern rim of the Mediterranean. In 2000, he moved to the United States to advance his medical training and is where he was first introduced to research at the University of Virginia. Through a generous NIH training program, Dr. Dayoub earned a fellowship to study vascular biology at Stanford University with Dr. John Cooke. He expanded on that experience at the University of Iowa with Dr. Frank Faraci. Winning the CNS/Boston Scientific Fellowship in Cerebrovascular Research is a testament to the sound foundation these mentors instilled in him, and is a reminder that a neurosurgeon-scientist career is worthwhile. Dr. Dayoub is grateful to those who made this possible, and is hopeful this grant will refine his scientific question and add to our collective knowledge.

Jody Leonardo, MD

CNS Cushing Fellowship

Dr. Leonardo is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she graduated suma cum laude from Duquesne University. During her general surgery intern year at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA, she received the Golden Apple Award for resident excellence in medical student teaching and the Bronze Torch Award for excellence in patient care. Dr. Leonardo is in the process of completing her neurosurgical residency at the University of Buffalo where she has been granted the University of Buffalo Resident Award. She has published and presented her work on the efficacy of antimicrobrial suture and has secured grants for her research in tethered spinal cords.

Dr. Leonardo's interest in neuroendoscopy has driven her to help organize the First Annual Neuroendoscopy Course of Western New York, and she will complete a six-month fellowship in the Netherlands under the mentorship of Dr. J. A. Grotenhuis following her graduation.

Johnathan A. Engh, MD

CNS Basic/Translational Young Investigator Research Fellowship

Dr. Johnathan A. Engh is an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh Department of Neurological Surgery. He specializes in multi-modality management for brain and spinal tumors. He received his undergraduate training at Duke University and his medical degree at the University of Virginia. Most recently, he completed his neurosurgical residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Dr. Engh’s research grant focuses on cell cycle manipulation of brain tumor stem cells isolated from human patients. He is collaborating with Tao Cheng, MD, an internationally known expert in the field of stem cell cycle regulation. Together they are targeting the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor pathways of this cell population.

Johnathan lives in Pittsburgh with his wife, Kelley. They have two children: Jackson, age 4, and Natalie, age 2.

Joseph C. Hsieh, MD

CNS Charles Plante Public Policy Fellowship

Dr. Joseph C. Hsieh is a neurosurgery resident at the University of Chicago Hospitals with an interest in socioeconomics and health policy. He completed his BAS in biology and psychology and MS in biology at Stanford University, MBA at the Anderson School of Management at UCLA, MPH at the School of Public Health at UCLA, and MD at Harvard Medical School. He is pleased to serve as the Plante Public Policy Fellow from July 2008 to June 2009 through the Washington Committee of the AANS/CNS.

Spiros L. Blackburn, MD

CNS/ASAP Syringomyelia Fellowship

Dr. Spiros L. Blackburn will be a fifth year resident in neurosurgery at the Washington University in Saint Louis. Prior to residency, he attended Old Dominion University and obtained a degree in mechanical engineering, after which he completed medical school at UT Southwestern in Dallas.

Working with Dr. Michael Chicoine, his fellowship plans involve using intra-operative MRI to evaluate anatomical changes in the posterior fossa during surgical decompression. They hope to understand why certain patients improve with a bone-only surgery and if it is possible to pre-operatively identify these patients.

Dr. Blackburn’s long-term subspecialty interests include cerebrovascular, endovascular and skull base neurosurgery. This fellowship will provide invaluable experience in a necessary skill set for future academic pursuits.

Timothy H. Lucas, MD

CNS/Functional Neurosurgery Fellowship

Dr. Timothy H. Lucas obtained his undergraduate degree in his home state at the University of Florida, where he was inducted into the Hall of Fame and graduated summa cum laude following a research fellowship at NIH. While in medical school at UF, he served as Class President, President of AOA, and completed a research fellowship with Dr. Arthur Day in cerebrovascular surgery. Currently, he is a resident in Neurological Surgery and a Doctoral Candidate in Physiology & Biophysics at the University of Washington. This CNS fellowship will help fund a portion of his PhD work under Dr. Eberhard Fetz. Their work focuses on inducing plasticity using novel, translational technologies that will expand the role of neurosurgeons in treating functional conditions, stroke, TBI, epilepsy and SCI.

CNS International Fellows

Luis R. Moscote Salazar, MD

CNS Kenichiro Sugita International Fellowship

Dr. Luis Rafael Moscote Salazar is a resident of neurosurgery in Cartagena University, in Cartagena de Indias , Colombia. Luis Rafael Moscote Salazar is a Doctor of medicine, having graduated from the Libre University of Barranquilla, Colombia. He worked for Cajal Institute in Madrid-Spain for one year. His research interests include complex spine surgery, spinal trauma and spinal cord disease. Luis Rafael Moscote Salazar co-authored the book, “Neurotrauma: Foundations for an Integral Managing” He is a member of the Colombian Association of Neurosurgery.

Sanjay Gupta, MD

CNS George Ablin International Fellowship

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is a neurosurgeon practicing in Moradabad city of India. He plans to improve his experience in pediatric neurosurgery with the support of CNS Fellowship. He will be working under the guidance of Dr. James M. Drake at The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario.

Thomas Flannery, MD

CNS Lars Leksell International Fellowship

Dr. Thomas Flannery is a Specialist Registrar in Neurosurgery at the Royal Hospitals Belfast, Northern Ireland. He plans to gain further experience in Gamma Knife Radiosurgery, with specific interest in neurooncology. Dr. Flannery will be directed by Dr. Douglas Kondziolka of the University of Pittsburg.

Varun Bhargava, MD

CNS/CINN Foundation International Traveling Fellowship Award

Dr. Varun Bhargava is working as a Consultant Neurosurgeon at Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, Georgetown, Guyana South America. He established the First Neurosurgery department in the country. Dr. Bhargrava trained in Neurosurgery at Swai Man Singh Medical College in Jaipur, India. After training with Professor John D. Ward, he will upgrade the Neurosurgery department, especially in pediatric neurosurgery, vascular surgery and tumor surgery in Guyana.

Wenhua Zhang, MD

CNS/CINN Foundation International Traveling Fellowship Award

Dr. Wenhua Zhang is an associate professor and neurosurgeon in the Department of Neurosurgery at Qilu Hospital of Shandong University in China. Dr. Zhang wishes to gain increased experience in functional and stereotactic radiosurgery, with focus on the fields of deep brain stimulation, pain surgery, and radiosurgery. Meanwhile, Dr. Zhang is going to exam the neuronal basis for motor control and learning in the brain. Dr. Zhang plans to do this under the guidance of Dr. Emad N. Eskandar and Dr. Ziv M. Williams at Harvard Medical School in Boston.