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Residents’ Research Makes Strong Showing at AANS

Residents research“Neurosurgery residents” are physicians who are training to become neurosurgeons. Over the seven years of their training, neurosurgery residents cover a lot of ground.

At Columbia, residents have the chance to conduct exciting research. Under the mentorship of senior neurosurgeons like Dr. Jeffrey Bruce, Dr. Guy McKhann, and Dr. E. Sander Connolly, residents have made strides in areas such as glioblastoma (brain tumor) research, improving patient care after spine surgery, and expanding our understanding of decision-making processes of the brain.

This year, four of our residents presented their research at the 2015 meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. This annual meeting draws neurosurgeons from around the country who are eager to keep up with cutting-edge research.

Each resident was the lead author on the paper he or she presented. For a complete list of authors, see the end of each paper’s description.

Resident Hani MaloneSenior resident Dr. Hani Malone presented on research he conducted with mentor Dr. Jeffrey Bruce in the Bartoli Brain Tumor Lab. His research evaluates a new way to identify tissue of the brain tumor glioblastoma as it invades normal brain tissue. This is a very important topic in surgical treatment, and the focus of a lot of glioblastoma research right now. The results of Dr. Malone’s research are encouraging. His paper is titled “Apparent Diffusion Coefficient (ADC) and Tumor Cellularity at Infiltrating Margin of Glioblastoma.” (Full list of authors: Hani Malone, MD; Timothy Ung, BS; Daniel Chow, MD; Xiaotao Guo, PhD; Jorge Samanamud, BS; Peter Canoll, MD, PhD; Jeffrey Bruce, MD)

Resident Hannah GoldsteinDr. Hannah Goldstein, a third-year resident, also conducted glioblastoma research.  Working with mentor Dr. Jeffrey Bruce, Dr. Goldstein investigated a way to use a naturally-occurring tumor suppressing gene to fight glioblastoma. This would be one way to fight the cancer while avoiding the unpleasant side effects of chemotherapy. Dr. Goldstein’s e-presentation was called “PTEN-Long: The Use of a Tumor Suppressor in the Treatment of GBM.” Laboratory results are impressive, and research on this subject will continue. (Full list of authors: Hannah Goldstein, MD; Matei Banu, MD; Benjamin Hopkins, PhD; Ramon Parsons, MD, PhD; Peter Canoll, MD, PhD; Jeffrey Bruce, MD).

Resident Robert McGovernSenior resident Dr. Robert McGovern worked with mentor Dr. Guy McKhann. His research helps us understand more about how the brain works when making decisions. Specifically, Dr. McGovern looked at a brain area called the substantia nigra. This area in the midbrain is important in learning. Dr. McGovern observed activity in this area as people decided whether sounds fit into the category “high pitched” or “low pitched.” Some sounds were harder than others to classify–and the substantia nigra was most active when people got those tough decisions right. The title of his paper is “Human Substantia Nigra Neurons Encode Decision Outcome Categorization Uncertainty in an Auditory Categorization Task.” (Full list of authors: Robert Allen McGovern, MD; Andrew Chan, MD; Charles Mikell, MD; John Sheehy; Vincent Ferrera; Guy McKhann, II, MD)

Resident Brett YoungermanDr. Brett Youngerman, a fourth-year resident, conducted his research with mentor Dr. E. Sander Connolly. He evaluated the timing of spine surgery complications that cause a patient to be re-admitted to the hospital. Looking at thousands of spine surgeries performed over a three-year period in New York State, he found that specific complications tend to happen at certain predictable times. Well-timed, targeted follow-up about those specific complications might eliminate the need for some patients to be readmitted to the hospital. His paper is called “Timing of Complications and Unplanned Readmission after Spinal Procedures in High-Volume Medical Centers in New York State.” (Full list of authors: Brett Youngerman, MD; Geoffrey Appelboom, MD; Blake Taylor, BS;  Brad Zacharia; Daniel Kabat, MPH; William Gold, MD; E.Sander Connolly, Jr, MD)

Congratulations to these four residents and their mentors. And on behalf of doctors, patients and scientists–thank you for your work!

Learn more about the mentors above on their bio pages:

patient journey

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