Jump to: Ellen Air, MD| Nicholas C. Bambakidis, MD: CNS Past President | Gita Barry, MBA | Ruth Bristol, MD | David B. Crawford, CFA | Paul A. Gardner, MD | Jorge Gonzalez-Martinez, MD, PhD | Tiffany Hodges, MD | Brian L. Hoh, MD, MBA | Daniel J. Hoh, MD: Treasurer of the CNS Foundation and CNS | Alexander Khalessi, MD, MBA: CNS President-Elect | Ricardo J. Komotar, MD, FACS | Elad Levy, MD MBA FACS FAHA, CNS President | Brian V. Nahed, MD, MSc. | Akash Patel, MD | Jeremy Phelps, MD | Wilson Z. Ray, MD | Uzma Samandani | Clemens Schirmer, MD, PhD | Regina Shupak, CNS CEO | Scott Simon, MD | Laura Snyder, MD | Martina Stippler, MD, Chair of the CNS Foundation and CNS Secretary | Khoi Than, MD | Anand Veeravagu, MD | Ashwin Viswanathan, MD | Sarah Woodrow, MD
Ellen Air, MD
Dr. Ellen Air graduated from Northwestern University (1997) and completed her doctorate (2002) and medical degree (2004) at University of Cincinnati. She then completed her residency in Neurological Surgery at the University of Cincinnati in 2010 and fellowship in the neurosurgical treatment of epilepsy, movement disorders and pain at the University of California, San Francisco, in 2011. She is currently Neurosurgery Residency Program Director and Vice-Chair for Operations, Co-Director of Functional Neurosurgery, and Interim Neurology Division Head for Movement Disorders at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. In addition, she is Clinical Associate Professor at Wayne State University School of Medicine. She is a CNS Executive Committee Member-at-Large, ASSFN Executive Board Member, and Chair of the Joint Section for Women In Neurosurgery. Dr. Air serves on the Board of the CNS Foundation.
Nicholas C. Bambakidis, MD: CNS Past-President
Dr. Nicholas Bambakidis was born in 1971, graduated from medical school at Case Western Reserve in 1997, and finished his neurosurgical training there in 2004. Then, he was first a fellow in spine surgery and later a fellow in cerebrovascular surgery at the Barrow Neurological Institute. From 2005 until 2008 he worked at the BNI as an Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery, with a joint appointment at the University of Arizona School of Medicine. In 2008, he was recruited by the University Hospitals Neurological Institute to serve as Director of the Cerebrovascular and Skull Base Surgery Center and serve as an Associate Professor of Neurosurgery in the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. At the end of 2011, he was appointed Program Director of the School's residency program and in 2014 was promoted to Professor of Neurosurgery. In 2016, Dr. Bambakidis assumed a leadership role at University Hospitals of Cleveland as Director and Vice President of the Neurological Institute. In this role, he manages the Neurosurgery and Neurology service lines throughout the UH system, comprising 18 hospitals in northeastern Ohio. During his academic career, Dr. Bambakidis has authored nearly 100 publications and book chapters on a broad array of topics in his field of expertise and edited three major textbooks--two on skull base surgery and a second on aneurysm microsurgery. His research has centered on the ability of the central nervous system to recover after injury and has resulted in several basic science papers on this subject. Dr. Bambakidis is 2022 President of the CNS and has served on the Executive Committee since 2011 and on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Neurosurgery. He is a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, Joint Cerebrovascular Section of the AANS/CNS, and the North American Skull Base Society. Believing that patients should be equal partners in their care while trusting in the expertise and experience of their neurosurgical team, Dr. Bambakidis' philosophy of patient care is to be compassionate yet direct. Patients with complex neurological disorders deserve to be presented with all available treatment options, he says, and then be given a concrete opinion regarding the best and safest therapeutic option for them. In his free time, Dr. Bambakidis enjoys sailing, mountain biking, and scuba diving. In his role as the CNS Past President he serves as an Ex-Officio member of the CNS Foundation.
Gita Barry, MBA
Gita joined Penumbra as Vice President, Global Marketing in January 2016. Prior to joining Penumbra, Gita worked at Stryker Corporation for twelve years where she held a variety of positions with successfully greater responsibility in both Stryker’s Orthopedics group and Neurovascular division in product management, strategy, business development/integration and information technology. Prior to Stryker, Gita held various product development roles with other cardiovascular medical device companies including WL Gore and Associated and Cordis in the areas of coronary and peripheral vascular products. Gita received a BS in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Miami (FL) and an Executive MBA from Santa Clara University. Ms. Barry serves as a CNS Foundation Advisory Board member.
Ruth Bristol, MD
Dr. Ruth Bristol is the Director of Craniofacial Neurosurgery at Phoenix Children's Hospital where she is an active member of the Barrow Cleft and Craniofacial Center. As a pediatric neurosurgeon, she enjoys a diverse practice, caring for congenital, traumatic, tumor, and other causes of neurologic disease. Originally from New Hampshire, Dr. Bristol completed her neurosurgery training at the Barrow Neurological Institute and enjoyed the privilege to stay on as faculty. She recently served a 2-year term as Chair of the Department of Surgery at Phoenix Children's Hospital. Dr. Bristol was recently elected treasurer of the AANS/CNS Joint Section on Pediatric Neurosurgery and serves on the board of the CNS Foundation as the Pediatric Section’s appointee.
David B. Crawford, CFA
David B. Crawford, CFA is the President of Crawford Investment Counsel and has been with the firm since 1992. Crawford Investment Counsel has over $6.3 billion in assets under management serving both institutional and private clients. All client portfolios are internally managed utilizing the firm’s proprietary investment strategies. David is responsible for managing the organization on a day-to-day basis and works with a limited number of clients. Prior to joining Crawford Investment Counsel, David was a member of the credit department with The Federal Home Loan Bank.
David received his BA in Economics from Denison University, his MS in Finance from Georgia State University, and he has earned the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. He has served on both the Board of Mercy Care Foundation and as Chairman of Mercy Care’s Investment Committee. David currently sits on the Board of Directors for Saint Joseph’s Health System. Mr. Crawford serves on the Board of the CNS Foundation.
Dr. Paul A. Gardner, MD
Dr. Paul A. Gardner is the Peter J. Jannetta Endowed Chair in Neurosurgery and a Professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Neurosurgical Director of the Center for Cranial Base Surgery as well as Executive Vice Chairman for Surgical Services for the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).
Dr. Gardner joined the faculty of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 2008 after completing his residency and fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh. He completed his undergraduate studies at Florida State University, majoring in biochemistry, and received his Medical Degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
Dr. Gardner completed a two-year fellowship in endoscopic endonasal pituitary and endoscopic and open skull base surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. His research has focused on evaluating patient outcomes following these surgeries and more recently on molecular phenotyping of rare tumors. He is recognized internationally as a leader in the field of endoscopic endonasal surgery, a minimally invasive surgical approach to the skull base. His other surgical interests include pituitary tumors, open cranial base surgery, and vascular surgery.
Dr. Gardner is certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery and is a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Congress of Neurological Surgeons, and the North American Skull Base Society where he served as a Director-at-Large. Dr. Gardner is co-editor of the textbook Skull Base Surgery, part of the Master Techniques in Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery series published by Wolters Kluwer, he has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, and he presents frequently on the podia of local, national, and international scientific meetings and courses. Dr. Gardner serves as the Joint Tumor Section appointee to the CNS Foundation Board.
Jorge Gonzalez-Martinez, MD, PhD
Dr. Gonzalez-Martinez is a board-certified neurosurgeon subspecialized in epilepsy and functional neurosurgery, is a world-renowned pioneer in novel surgical methods for treating medically refractory epilepsy such as stereo-electroencephalography (SEEG), SEEG-guided laser ablative procedures, neuromodulatory interventions, and robot-guided surgeries, bringing for the first time innovative surgical procedures and less invasive interventions to the United States and other countries. His research focuses on neuro-electrophysiology, intracranial signal processing, and behavioral neuroscience studies. The goals of his clinical and basic science efforts are to develop safer and more efficient methods for treating patients with severe seizures and abnormal movement disorders, promoting the improvement of symptoms, in combination with better functional and quality of life outcomes.
Tiffany Hodges, MD
Dr. Tiffany Hodges is an Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine and Associate Neurosurgery Residency Program Director at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. Subspecializing in Neurosurgical Oncology, she received her bachelor's degree in neuroscience and behavioral biology from Emory University, and her medical degree and neurosurgical residency training at Duke University. During that time, she also completed a Clinical Research Training Program fellowship at the National Institutes of Health in the Surgical Neurology Branch. She then completed a Neurosurgical Oncology fellowship at MD Anderson, where her research focused on brain tumor immunotherapy and clinical trial development for patients with malignant gliomas and brain metastasis. Her current research interests are brain tumor epidemiology and clinical outcomes after therapy. Dr. Hodges is currently Co-Vice Chair of the Education Committee and Co-Chair of the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee within the CNS. She is a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, the Joint Tumor Section, and the Society of NeuroOncology. Dr. Hodges is on the Executive Committee of the CNS and serves on the Board of the CNS Foundation.
Brian L. Hoh, MD, MBA: CNS Past-President
Elected 2013 Brian L. Hoh was born in 1971 in Omaha, Nebraska. He received his B.A.S. (biological sciences, political science) from Stanford University in 1993, and his M.D. with AOA honors from Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons in 1998. He completed his internship in surgery and residency in neurosurgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital. During his neurosurgery residency, he completed an infolded 2-year fellowship in endovascular surgical neuroradiology at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He received his MBA from the University of Florida Hough Graduate School of Business with Beta Gamma Sigma honors.
Dr. Hoh joined the faculty of the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Florida in 2006 and became Chair of the department in 2018. He is currently the tenured James and Brigitte Marino Family Professor and Chair of Neurosurgery of the Lillian S. Wells Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Florida. He is a past-Program Director of neurosurgery and past-Fellowship Director of the endovascular surgical neuroradiology fellowship at the University of Florida.
Dr. Hoh is currently President-Elect, and previously Vice President, Member-At-Large and Ex-Officio member of the CNS Executive Committee. He is a past Chair and Treasurer of the Joint AANS/CNS Cerebrovascular Section and member of the Executive Committee of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. He served on the editorial board of the Journal of Neurosurgery and completed a term as co-chair in 2017. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a Fellow of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, a Fellow of the American Heart Association, and a senior member of the Society of Neurointerventional Surgery. Dr. Hoh's clinical interests are cerebrovascular and endovascular neurosurgery. His research interests are cerebral aneurysm pathophysiology and development of novel biological treatments for aneurysms. Dr. Hoh was awarded an NIH R01 Award, NIH K08 Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Award, as well as grants from the AANS NREF (Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation), Brain Aneurysm Foundation, Thomas Maren Foundation, among others, to study the pathophysiologic mechanisms of aneurysm formation and novel biologic treatments for aneurysms. He is also interested in the socioeconomics of neurosurgery and was awarded the AANS Robert D. Florin award in 2009 and the AANS Byron Cone Pevehouse award in 2012 for socioeconomic research. Dr. Hoh is Past-President of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons and serves on the Board of the CNS Foundation.
Daniel J. Hoh, MD: Treasurer of the CNS Foundation and CNS
Daniel J. Hoh, MD, is professor of neurosurgery and holds the Dunspaugh-Dalton endowed professorship at the University of Florida. He was awarded a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Stanford University and medical degree from Columbia University. Dr. Hoh completed his internship and residency training in neurological surgery at the University of Southern California and Los Angeles County General Hospital. During residency, he also spent one year of focused neurotrauma and spinal cord injury training at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center. After residency, he completed neurosurgery and orthopedic spine fellowships with Edward Benzel, MD and Gordon Bell, MD at the Cleveland Clinic Hospital, a nationally renowned comprehensive spine center. During fellowship, Dr. Hoh gained specialty training in the treatment of complex spinal disorders, including spinal cord tumors, spinal deformity, spinal reconstruction, minimally invasive surgery and spinal cord injury. Dr. Hoh is the neurosurgery director of the Univ. of Florida comprehensive spine center. He is currently on the editorial board of Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine, The Spine Journal, and Neurospine. He is on the executive board and is Treasurer of the CNS and the CNS Foundation. He is past Secretary of the AANS/CNS Joint Section of Disorders of Spine and Peripheral Nerves. Dr. Hoh additionally has served as the scientific program chair and annual meeting chair for the AANS/CNS Joint Section of Disorders of Spine and Peripheral Nerves.
Alexander Khalessi, MD, MBA: CNS President-Elect
Alexander Khalessi, MD, MBA, is the chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery and professor of neurological surgery, radiology and neurosciences at UC San Diego. As a board-certified neurosurgeon, he specializes in complex cranial surgery, endovascular neurosurgery, stroke care, and neurological oncology. In 2021, he was named the inaugural Don and Karen Cohn Chancellor’s Endowed Chair in Neurosurgery.
Under Dr. Khalessi’s leadership the Department of Neurological Surgery has experienced significant growth. The Department performs an average of 4,000 major cases annually and is one of few health systems in the nation to have two comprehensive stroke centers. The program is consistently ranked in the top 30 best neurology and neurosurgery services in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, and—combined with its sister Department of Neurosciences—is perennially ranked #1 or #2 nationally in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding.
Dr. Khalessi champions neurosurgical innovation through several national leadership roles. He is the current vice president-elect of the CNS and co-chair of the CNS Foundation. He has served on the CNS Executive Committee since 2014—including as both Scientific Program and Annual Meeting Chair. Dr. Khalessi is in his second term on AANS/CNS’ Washington Committee and has held several past Executive Committee roles in the Joint AANS/CNS Cerebrovascular Section. Dr. Khalessi also sits on the Board of Governors for the American College of Surgeons (ACS).
Dr. Khalessi is a founding member of the Medical Device Innovation Consortium (MDIC) that advises the FDA on early clinical feasibility for emerging neurovascular devices. He further serves on the NIH Interventional Advisory Panel for StrokeNet, which provides scientific oversight for federally funded research in neurovascular disease. Dr. Khalessi was selected by his peers to serve as vice chair of the UC Health Stroke and Cerebrovascular Consortium, which unites experts across all six UC campuses, and will chair the consortium in 2022.
A dedicated educator, Dr. Khalessi directs national and international training courses, including the intermediate resident course for the Society of Neurological Surgeons (SNS). Dr. Khalessi served on the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), Residency Review Committee (RRC) for Neurological Surgery, and editorial board for the Journal of Graduate Medical Education. He also participated in the authorship of the ACGME Neurosurgery and Endovascular Surgical Neuroradiology Milestone Projects.
Dr. Khalessi has published more than 150 peer-reviewed papers and monographs and more than 200 abstracts and presentations. He has served as principal or co-investigator of more than 25 clinical trials and grants. His research has spurred advances in the catheter-based treatment of ischemic stroke, endoscopic treatment of intracerebral hemorrhage, multi-modal treatment of cerebral aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), and complex surgical approaches to brain tumors. Dr. Khalessi’s research interests include the intersection between physiology, engineering, and neurosurgical technique.
Dr. Khalessi earned his medical degree at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and completed his neurosurgical residency at the University of Southern California, including an enfolded endovascular neurosurgery fellowship at State University of New York Buffalo. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in public policy and master’s degree in health services research from Stanford University, and holds a master’s degree in business administration from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management.
Dr. Khalessi resides in San Diego, California, with his wife Sara, a lawyer, and their two young sons.
Ricardo J. Komotar, MD, FACS
Dr. Komotar is Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery at the University of Miami School of Medicine. He graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in neuroscience from Duke University, spending a year at Oxford University in England to focus on neuropharmacology. He received his medical degree from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine with highest honors and completed his internship and neurosurgical residency at Columbia University Medical Center/The Neurological Institute of New York, followed by a surgical neurooncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to specialize in brain tumors.
As Director of the University of Miami Brain Tumor Initiative, Director of Surgical Neurooncology at the University of Miami, Director of the UM Neurosurgery Residency Program, and Director of the UM Surgical Neurooncology Fellowship Program, Dr. Komotar’s main clinical interests are surgical and radiosurgical (Gamma Knife) treatment of primary and metastatic brain tumors, as well as meningiomas and pituitary lesions. Dr. Komotar is an internationally recognized leader in the field of brain tumors and performs nearly 700 procedures for these conditions each year using advanced cutting-edge surgical/radiosurgical techniques, making him one of the highest volume brain tumor surgeons in the world.
His research interests include clinical trial development and translational neurooncologic investigations designed to pioneer new therapies for brain tumors. Author of over 500 peer-reviewed scientific articles, book chapters, and invited editorials, Dr. Komotar has received research funding from the National Institutes of Health as well as other national and regional grants. He has served on the Executive Committee for the Congress of Neurological Surgeons and the Executive Board for the AANS/CNS Joint Section on Tumors. He is Founder and Director of the Annual Neurosurgery Charity Softball Tournament to benefit brain tumor research. He is a member of the Society of Neurooncology and reviewer for both Neurosurgery and the Journal of Neurosurgery. Dr. Komotar is also an Emmy ® nominated physician for his work on the series “Breakthrough Medicine”. Dr. Komotar serves on the Board of the CNS Foundation.
Elad Levy, MD MBA FACS FAHA, CNS President
Dr. Elad Levy is Professor of Neurosurgery and Radiology, L. Nelson Hopkins, MD Chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery, Jacobs School of Medicine at Biomedical Sciences, at State University of New York at Buffalo. In 2017 he was appointed as one of 12 National Directors to the American Board of Neurological Surgery. In 2018 he was appointed Secretary to the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) Executive Committee and appointed to the 2018 American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) Ethics Committee for a two-year term. His most recent award in 2018 was receiving the “2018 Drake Lectureship” at the CV Section at CNS. His most recent academic appointment was in 2020, where he was appointed Distinguished Professor, State University of New York at Buffalo. Dr. Levy has a national and global reputation in the field of neurovascular disease, and has co-authored over 400 peer-reviewed publications, including several in the New England Journal of Medicine. He has also co-authored many published books in neurovascular disease, his most recent being “Decision Making in Neurovascular Disease” Thieme Publishers, May 1, 2018. Dr. Levy is President-Elect of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons and Past-Chair of the CNS Foundation.
Brian V. Nahed, MD, MSc.
Dr. Brian Nahed is a neurosurgeon specializing in brain tumors (glioblastoma, gliomas (low grade and high grade), metastatic brain tumors, and meningiomas) as well as Spinal Disorders. Dr. Nahed specializes in brain tumors of the eloquent cortex (language and motor areas of the brain) which require mapping (awake surgery, language and motor mapping, and subcortical stimulation).
Born in New York, Dr. Nahed attended UCLA where he majored in Neuroscience, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and with the department's Highest Honors. He attended the Yale School of Medicine where he was awarded the Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship and graduated with honors. Dr. Nahed completed his internship and neurosurgery residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital; where Dr. Nahed also completed a postdoctoral fellowship with Drs. Daniel Haber and Shyamala Maheswaran in the MGH Cancer Center.
Dr. Brian Nahed was recruited to the MGH Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Tumor Center in 2011. As an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Brian Nahed's research focuses on developing the first blood-based test to diagnose and monitor brain tumors. In collaboration with Drs. Haber, Maheswaran, and Stott, Dr. Nahed published the first evidence of circulating tumor cells in the blood of patients with glioma. Dr. Nahed is working to provide patients and their clinicians with the first blood test for brain tumors. Dr. Brian Nahed serves as the Associate Director of the MGH Neurosurgery Residency Program. He serves on the Executive Committee of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons and the CNS/AANS section on Tumors. He serves as the Chair of the CNS Leadership Institute, and Vice-Scientific Programming Chair. Dr. Nahed serves on the Board of the CNS Foundation.
Akash Patel, MD
Dr. Akash Patel was born in Camden, NJ in 1982. He received his B.A. in Biochemistry from Rice University and his M.D. from Baylor College of Medicine. He completed his internship in surgery and residency in neurosurgery at Baylor College of Medicine. During his residency, he was the recipient of the NIH R25 award. Dr. Patel joined the faculty of the Department of Neurosurgery at Baylor College of Medicine in 2014 where he is currently an Associate Professor, Residency Program Director and Director of Brain Tumor Surgery. He specializes in skull base oncology and has a particular interest in the treatment of meningiomas and schwannomas. Dr. Patel has an NIH-funded research laboratory studying the molecular underpinnings of inherited and sporadic meningioma.
Dr. Patel is on the Executive Committee of the CNS and serves on the Board of the CNS Foundation.
Jeremy Phelps, MD
Dr. Jeremy Phelps is a general neurosurgeon working in Oklahoma City. He completed his neurosurgery training at the University of New Mexico Medical Center. He completed his MBA at Cameron University. Dr. Phelps has served in many capacities within organized neurosurgery. He has been a member of the Executive Committee of the Council of State Neurosurgical Societies for the last 7 years and currently serves as the Recording Secretary. He routinely presents and publishes on socioeconomic topics at state, regional, and national neurosurgical meetings. Dr. Phelps serves as the CNS Foundation Board appointee for the Council of State Neurosurgical Societies (CSNS).
Wilson Z. Ray, MD
Dr. Wilson Z. Ray is a Professor of Neurosurgery and Biomedical Engineering. He is Chief of Spine Surgery and Vice Chair of Neurosurgery at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Ray completed his neurosurgery residency and a peripheral nerve fellowship at Washington University. He then completed a fellowship in complex spinal surgery at the University of Utah. Dr. Ray’s clinical and research interests lie in spinal cord injury, cervical myelopathy, minimally invasive spine surgery, and peripheral nerve regeneration. Wilson Ray currently serves as the Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves Board Representative to the CNS Foundation.
Uzma Samadani, MD PhD FACS
Dr. Uzma Samandani is a private-practice neurosurgeon in Minneapolis MN and researcher at the University of Minnesota. She moved to Minneapolis in 2015 and has been named to the Minneapolis St-Paul Magazine’s “Top Doctors in Neurosurgery” list 4 times. In 2018 she was on the cover of the “Top Doctors” edition with the byline “The Doctor Will Save You Now.” In 2018 she also was awarded the “Courageous Woman in Healthcare” award by the Women’s Health Leadership Trust. Minnesota Monthly has twice dubbed her a “Top Doctor in Minnesota”.
She has clinical expertise in both cranial and spinal surgery. She has performed one of the most extensive spine tumor resections documented in the scientific literature (5 tumors removed in a 25 hour surgery from a 15 year old girl, who remains tumor-free more than 4 years later). She also has performed several successful epidural spinal cord stimulation surgeries in people who are paralyzed to restore movement in their lower extremities as well as other spinal cord functions. Many of these patients have recovered spontaneous volitional movement and several can now walk with assistance or assistive devices.
Dr. Samadani is an Associate Professor in the Department of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at the University of Minnesota with a graduate faculty appointment in Neuroscience. She is also an attending neurosurgeon at the Minneapolis Veterans Administration Medical Center and founder of the neurodiagnostic start-up Oculogica Inc, which has developed the first baseline free concussion diagnostic cleared for marketing approval by the FDA. She holds multiple patents related to brain injury, its treatment and its consequences. She has been named one of the “Most Creative People in Business” by Fast Company magazine.
She is on the Executive Committee of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons Joint Section on Neurotrauma and Critical Care and served as Scientific Program Chair for their meeting in conjunction with the National Neurotrauma Society from 2014-7. She also served as Chair of the Board of ThinkFirst Foundation from 2019 to 2021. She is past Chair of the Minnesota State Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Research Program and a Past-President of Women in Neurosurgery. She serves on the board of the G4 Alliance, which serves the needs of the neglected surgical patient, and she has a strong interest in methods for achieving equitable brain injury care.
She has received more than six million dollars in research grants from national and international competitive funding agencies to study diagnostics, risks, outcomes and treatments for brain and spinal cord injury. She has been funded by the United States Veterans Administration, Department of Defense, National Space and Biomedical Research Institute, Abbott Diagnostic Laboratories, American College of Surgeons, American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Thrasher Research Fund, Integra, the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation and several other organizations.
She is certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgeons and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Her research on brain injury has been discussed in the New York Times, LeMonde, LeFigaro, Wired, Washington Post, Sports Illustrated, Forbes, and Minneapolis Star Tribune as well as numerous other media sources. She has been a speaker at TedMed, the North American Brain Injury Society, National Neurotrauma Society, American Association of Neurological Surgeons meeting and multiple other conferences. She has published 70 peer-reviewed scientific papers and an additional 30 reviews and chapters including in the Journal of Neurotrauma, JAMA Neurology, Journal of Neurosurgery and the New England Journal of Medicine.
Dr. Samadani also served as an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant to the National Football League from 2015 to 2018. Uzma Samadani currently serves as the Joint Trauma Section Board Representative to the CNS Foundation.
Clemens Schirmer, MD, PhD
Clemens M. Schirmer, MD, PhD, FAANS, FACS, FAHA earned his medical degree and a doctorate in medical research from Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany and at Harvard Medical School under the auspices of the Harvard Munich Alliance for Medical Education. He then completed his residency in Neurosurgery and fellowship in Interventional Neuroradiology at the Tufts Medical Center program in Boston.
ABNS board certified in neurological surgery and holding CAST certificates both in neuroendovascular surgery and neurocritical care, he currently serves as Vice Chair in the Department of Neurosurgery and holds the rank of full Professor of Neurosurgery and Neuroscience in the unmodified research track at the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. He also serves as the System Director of the Geisinger Comprehensive Stroke Centers and System Director of Cerebrovascular and Endovascular Neurosurgery, specializing in the treatment of stroke and related vascular disorders of the brain and spine using surgery, endovascular and radiation modalities. He is the Program director of the Geisinger Neurosurgery residency training program and the CAST Neuroendovascular Fellowship program.
His research interests focus on the quality metrics, variation of care, shared decision making and patient centered outcomes, genomics and biomarkers of stroke, machine learning and data analytics. He serves as principal investigator of several clinical trials in the stroke arena aiming to bringing novel and innovative therapies to the market and creating premier Geisinger initiatives such as Early Recovery, ProvenCare and ProvenExperience.
He serves as secretary of the the AANS/CNS Joint Cerebrovascular Section and the executive committee of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons where he is chair of the International Division of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, Advisor to the AMA RBRVS RUC committee and heads the AANS/CNS Coding and Reimbursement courses. He has been appointed to MEDCAC and appointed to the Premier Group Purchasing Organization Member Cardiovascular Advisory Committee and multiple CMS/Acumen Cost- and Medicare Spending per Beneficiary- Measure Development Panels.
Regina Shupak, CNS CEO
Regina Shupak began her Congress of Neurological Surgeons career in 1998. Over the past 22 years, she has served the organization and its membership in various roles, including Director of Scientific Meetings, Interim Executive Director and Deputy CEO, guiding the organization through a number of changes and challenges and launching the CNS Foundation in 2012. In 2014, Ms. Shupak became CNS CEO. Under her leadership, CNS’ education portfolio has expanded every year, bringing a wealth of new live and online content to an ever-growing group of members. Ms. Shupak has been instrumental in cultivating a robust staff culture at the CNS and enhancing the organization’s fiscal strength. The stability and adaptability she has fostered ensures the CNS will continue to serve members through whatever the future holds.
Ms. Shupak received her BSc in Hospitality Management, and a Master of Arts in Training and Development (MATD) from Roosevelt University in Chicago. Regina is a certified Paralegal, holds credentials in Training and Development and Instructional Design. Ms. Shupak serves as an Advisory Member of the CNS Foundation Board.
Scott Simon, MD
Dr. Scott Simon earned his BA in political theory at Princeton University and his MD at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. He completed his neurosurgery residency in neurosurgery with a fellowship in endovascular neurosurgery at Vanderbilt University. He is currently and associate professor of neurosurgery at the Penn State College of Medicine as well as Division Director of Cerebrovascular Surgery and Endovascular Fellowship Director.
In addition to practicing as a CAST certified subspecialist in cerebrovascular and endovascular neurosurgery Dr. Simon also has federally funded research in biomedical engineering and computer modeling of the cerebral vasculature in acute ischemic stroke. He also studies iron metabolism in animal models of intracerebral hemorrhage.
Dr. Simon is on the executive council of the Council of State Neurological Societies, the AANS/CNS Joint Cerebrovascular Section, and the Pennsylvania Neurosurgical Society. He serves on AANS committees that guide neurosurgery APP education and manage content digital and social media content. He is the Joint Cerebrovascular Section’s appointee to the CNS Foundation.
Laura Snyder, MD
Dr. Laura Snyder is a Chicago native. She earned her medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and completed her Neurosurgery residency at Barrow Neurological Institute at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. Dr. Snyder completed a fellowship in minimally invasive spine surgery at Barrow Neurological Institute and Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
Dr. Snyder treats a wide variety of spinal disorders including degenerative disease, spinal stenosis, spinal instability, scoliosis, and spinal tumors. She serves currently as the Director of Neurotrauma and the Associate Program Director of the Neurosurgery Residency at Barrow Neurological Institute. Dr. Snyder is on the Executive Committee of the CNS and serves on the Board of the CNS Foundation.
Martina Stippler, MD, Chair of the CNS Foundation and CNS Secretary
Dr. Martina Stippler is Director of Neurotrauma at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. She completed her neurosurgery training at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. She has a busy complex spine and endoscopic pituitary practice. Her research interests are in multimodal TBI management, triage of mild TBI and end of life discussion and goal of care discussion in the urgent setting. She has participated in many landmark TBI studies such as PROTECT, RESCUE acute SDH trial and, coming soon, BOOST III. She serves as Secretary for the Executive Committee of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons and as a member at large of the AANS/CNS section of Neurotrauma, and Past Chair of Women in Neurosurgery. Dr. Stippler serves as the Co-Chair of the CNS Foundation.
Khoi Than, MD
Dr. Khoi Than is Associate Professor of Neurosurgery and Orthopaedic Surgery at Duke University in Durham, NC. Born in Houston, TX, in 1982, Dr. Than graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Johns Hopkins University and stayed at Johns Hopkins for medical school. From there, he completed his neurosurgery residency at the University of Michigan and completed a one-year minimally invasive and complex spine surgery fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. After training, Dr. Than joined the faculty of Oregon Health & Science University as Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery in 2015 and later was recruited to join the faculty at Duke in 2019.
Dr. Than’s research interests are in minimally invasive spinal deformity surgery and outcomes after spine surgery. He has co-authored more than 130 peer-reviewed manuscripts and nearly 30 book chapters.
Dr. Than serves on the Executive Committee of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons as Member-At-Large, and on the Executive Committee of the AANS/CNS Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves. He is a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, North American Spine Society, Scoliosis Research Society, and as a Board member of the CNS Foundation
Anand Veeravagu, MD
Dr. Anand Veeravagu is Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery and Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, by courtesy, and Director of Minimally Invasive NeuroSpine Surgery at Stanford University. Dr. Veeravagu is board certified and is focused on advancing minimally invasive surgical techniques for diseases of the spine and cares for patients with a wide range of spinal disorders.
Dr. Veeravagu graduated from the Johns Hopkins University Biomedical Engineering program with a focus on spinal cord injury and regeneration. Committed to medical device development, neuroregeneration, and non-invasive imaging he accepted a position to complete his MD at the Stanford University School of Medicine. While a medical student, Dr. Veeravagu worked with neurosurgery and the molecular imaging program to develop novel, non-invasive imaging tools and treatments for malignant neoplasms of central nervous system.
Dr. Veeravagu subsequently completed his neurosurgical residency at Stanford University. As a resident, Dr. Veeravagu was appointed by the President of the United States as a White House Fellow in 2012, serving as Special Assistant to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel to guide Department of Defense Policy on traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and mental health treatment for the United States military. One of 14 people from around the nation to be selected, Dr. Veeravagu served as a speech writer, national security advisor, and health consultant directly to the Secretary of Defense.
After completion of his neurosurgical residency, Dr. Veeravagu was awarded the prestigious Neurosurgical Research and Education Foundation Post-Residency Clinical Fellowship Grant and completed his fellowship training in minimally invasive and complex deformity spine at Stanford University with both neurosurgical and orthopaedic training. Dr. Veeravagu also completed a clinical scholar rotation at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine focused on endoscopic and robotic spine surgery.
Dr. Veeravagu’s research efforts are focused on the utilization of large national databases to assess cost, quality, and effectiveness of various treatment algorithms as well as predictive analytics. Dr. Veeravagu is also an author and writes about current events, health policy, and public health-related topics for the San Francisco Chronicle, The Daily Beast, The BBC, and the Huffington Post. Dr. Veeravagu is on the Executive Committee of the CNS and serves on the Board of the CNS Foundation.
Ashwin Viswanathan, MD
Dr. Ashwin Viswanathan is a Professor of Neurosurgery at Baylor College of Medicine, where he serves as the Director of the Functional Neurosurgery. Ashwin’s practices focuses on intracranial and spinal neuromodulation, and has a particular interest in the surgical management of cancer pain. He has a funded research program focused on spinal cord ablation, spinal cord stimulation, and intracranial neurophysiology in movement disorders. Ashwin also serves as an elected board member of the American Society of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery and the Joint Section on Pain, and as the Section on Pain Board Representative on the CNS Foundation.
Sarah Woodrow, MD
Dr. Woodrow MD, FRCS(C), MEd is a Staff Neurosurgeon and Director of Spinal Neurosurgery at Cleveland Clinic Akron General. Dr. Woodrow completed her training in Neurosurgery at the University of Toronto. While there she also received a Master’s Degree in Health Professionals Education. Following her graduation, she completed a fellowship in complex spinal surgery at the University of Miami.
Dr. Woodrow is an academic neurosurgeon with special interests in complex spinal surgery, minimally invasive spinal surgery, robotic surgery, neurotrauma, global neurosurgery and medical education. She is board certified in Neurosurgery. She is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.
In addition to her practice in Ohio, Dr. Woodrow is heavily involved in Global Neurosurgery: She has partnered with the University of Addis Ababa Department of Neurosurgery in Ethiopia where she has been helping to train Neurosurgeons for over a decade; She is a board member of the Foundation for International Education of Neurological Surgeons (FIENS) as well as the G4 Alliance, organizations dedicated to improving the surgical care of patients in Low- and Middle-Income Countries. Dr. Woodrow also holds several leadership roles in Neurosurgery. She is the Chair-Elect for the Women in Neurosurgery Section of the AANS/ CNS, she serves as the Chair of Education for the AANS/ CNS Section of Neurotrauma, she is the North American Representative to the Women in Neurosurgery Committee of the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies and Member of the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Task force of the North American Spine Society. Dr. Woodrow serves as the Joint Section of Women in Neurosurgery appointee to the CNS Foundation.