A note from Neurosurgeon-in-Chief Mark Proctor, MD

Mark Proctor, MDDear colleagues:

As we ease into 2019, a quick note to draw your attention to some upcoming events that may interest you, as well as some recent faculty updates.

Upcoming events

Feel free to contact me if you’d like details on any of these.

April 3rd: R. Michael Scott Day

We’re pleased to announce the second annual R. Michael Scott Day on April 3, 2019, named for our esteemed Neurosurgeon-in-Chief Emeritus. This year’s speaker will be Cormac Maher, MD from the University of Michigan School of Medicine. Dr. Maher specializes in the neurosurgical treatment of children and adults with congenital anomalies. His major areas of clinical interest include Chiari malformations, tethered cord, AVMs, Moyamoya disease, cavernous malformations, pediatric brain tumors, spinal dysraphism and hydrocephalus.

June 1: Moyamoya Day, now in its third year, is devoted to recapping the latest research while offering networking opportunities for families. Last year more than 90 families attended the event, hosted by our Cerebrovascular Surgery and Interventions Center.

June 8: For the first time, we are hosting a neurosurgical educational course for primary care clinicians and families, covering the common issues we see in neurosurgery, such as flat head.

New grants and projects

Benjamin Warf, MD and Ivy Lin, PhD have received a 5-year NIH grant to study hydrocephalus outcomes in Ugandan infants undergoing ETV/CPC. They aim to develop novel tests to assess neurodevelopmental outcome and identify risk factors for early treatment failure.

Ben Warf and Cameron Sadegh, MD, are embarking on a project to collect discarded CSF samples from patients with hydrocephalus and analyze them for biomarkers that might be associated with outcomes. Ben is also working with Dr. Lin on a device using optical sensing to investigate cellular and biochemical changes in infants with hydrocephalus, and how they change after ETV/CPC treatment. These tools will, they hope, improve diagnostics, help optimize existing treatments and identify new therapeutic targets.

Scellig Stone, MD, PhD with Alexander Rotenberg, MD, PhD and Gabriel Kreiman, PhD, has launched a research project that seeks to use stereotactic EEG (SEEG) electrodes in routine clinical care to record brain electrical activity at a single-neuron level.

Kimberly Wong, PhD in the lab of Larry Benowitz, PhD, has received a 1-year NIH postdoctoral training grant to further study the role of zinc in neuro-inflammation, retinal ganglion cell (RGC) survival, and axon regeneration after optic nerve injury.

Mark Proctor, MD: I’ll be involved in several new projects. One will look at the utility of obtaining CT scans on patients with shunts. Two additional projects will evaluate outcomes of craniosynostosis treated with an endoscopic strip craniectomy (ESC) or open correction — one, in patients with lambdoid craniosynostosis or lambdoid and sagittal craniosynostosis, the other in patients with Apert syndrome and craniosynostosis.

Faculty news

  • R. Michael Scott, MD received the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award from the New England Neurosurgical Society. Well deserved!
  • Malia McAvoy, MS, a Harvard Medical student working with the department, received the 2018 Shucart Medical Student Paper Award from the New England Neurosurgical Society. Her paper was titled, Long-term function outcomes of lumbar microdiscectomy in the pediatric population: a large single-institution case series. She presented it last April at the AANS Annual Scientific Meeting.
  • Joseph Madsen, MD was honored to serve as the 2018 expert reviewer, examiner and mentor in Harvard Medical School’s Honors Program.
  • Larry Benowitz, PhD was recently selected as 1 of 10 investigators on the “Dream Team” of the Gilbert Vision Restoration Initiative, for his work on regenerating the optic nerve.

Thanks for tuning in, and don’t hesitate to reach out any time. To all a happy new year!

Mark Proctor, MD

Department of Neurosurgery
Boston Children’s Hospital