UH Neurological Institute Fall 2021 Update


Innovations in Neurology & Neurosurgery | Fall 2021

After a year’s hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, the University Hospitals Neurological Institute recently hosted two national courses, the Congress of Neurological Surgeons Skull Base Fellows Course and Surgery of the Craniovertebral Junction.

“We were extremely proud to welcome over 40 neurosurgeon registrants and faculty from around the country who came to UH to learn the latest surgical advances in the treatment of complex skull base pathology,” says Nicholas Bambakidis, MD, Vice President and Director of the UH Neurological Institute and Professor of Neurological Surgery at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. “It speaks to our eminent role in the field that we had a full registration of surgeons traveling to us to learn new and innovative techniques in skull base neurosurgery.”

Dr. Bambakidis served as course director for both of the two-day, interactive sessions, which featured national and UH Neurological Institute faculty along with faculty from the UH Ear, Nose and Throat Institute, including Cliff Megerian, MD, FACS, Chief Executive Officer of University Hospitals.

National Leadership

Warren Selman, MD, was installed as President of the prestigious Society of Neurological Surgery at its virtual meeting this past May. The oldest neurosurgical professional society in the world, the “Senior Society” is the representative body for neurosurgery to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. 

Warren Selman, MDWarren Selman, MD

Dr. Bambakidis is President-elect of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, a partner organization championing the advancement of neurosurgical education, facilitating scientific discovery, and supporting clinical translation to improve the health and lives of patients.

Two physicians serving concurrently as presidents of esteemed neurological organizations speaks to the UH Neurological Institute's national standing.

Research Update

Andrew A. Pieper, MD, PhD, Harrington Discovery Institute (HDI) Investigator and Director of the HDI Neurotherapeutics Center at UH, is the senior author of a study published in the April issue of Cell that outlines the potential to prevent nerve cell deterioration after brain injury. Additionally, the research team discovered a potential mechanistic link between traumatic brain injury and Alzheimer’s disease and identified a blood biomarker of nerve cell degeneration.

New Hire

Dustin Donnelly, MD, PhD, joined the UH Neurological Institute in August. Dr. Donnelly brings valuable expertise in robotic spinal surgery to the growing University Hospitals Spine Institute on Cleveland’s West Side. A native of Northeast Ohio, he is returning after completing a residency in neurological surgery at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston and a fellowship in complex spine surgery at Duke University Medical Center. 

Dustin Donnelly, MD, PhDDustin Donnelly, MD

“Dr. Donnelly is an accomplished and talented neurosurgeon who will further our investment in bringing high-quality neurosurgical spine providers to our West Side communities,” Dr. Bambakidis says.

Graduating Residents

This spring, the UH Neurological Institute celebrated the graduation of two of its neurosurgery residents, Byron Hills, MD, and Berje Shammassian, MD. “After seven rigorous years of training, we’re proud to see these individuals go on to continue their careers in neurologic surgery,” Dr. Bambakidis says.

David Penn, MD, MS, completed a one-year fellowship experience in Skull Base and Cerebrovascular Surgery under Dr. Bambakidis’ leadership after graduating from his residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Additionally, the following 12 physicians graduated from UH’s neurology residency program.

  • Abdullah Khalid Alamoudi, MD
  • Eman Alnosair, MD
  • Gaurav Chenji, MD
  • Patrick Fagan, MD
  • Rami Ibrahim, MD
  • Alissa Kasunich, MD
  • Saroj Kunnakkat, MD
  • Patsorn Laikijrung, MD
  • Madhura Layfield, MD
  • Stephen Layfield, MD
  • Alexander Lewis, MD
  • Thapat Wannarong, MD

“Our neurology residents faced unprecedented challenges completing their residency during a global pandemic,” Dr. Bambakidis says. “We congratulate them on their perseverance and know they are well prepared as they transition to new opportunities in their chosen field.”

At the annual residency and fellowship graduation dinner held in June, the following awards were presented.

In July, the UH Neurological Institute continued the tradition of honoring past chairs with the unveiling of a formal portrait of Anthony J. Furlan, MD. Dr. Furlan served as Chair of the UH Department of Neurology from 2008 until 2019 before stepping down to focus on research and education.

“Honoring Dr. Furlan in such a permanent fashion is very appropriate and befits his beloved stature and contributions to our understanding of neurology,” Dr. Bambakidis says.

Throughout his time at UH, Dr. Furlan has advanced the health system’s leadership on brain health as Co-Director of the UH Neurological Institute and as the Gilbert W. Humphrey Professor of Neurology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. A recognized expert in cerebrovascular disease and stroke treatment, he has organized and led several multicenter clinical trials for stroke and has been instrumental in developing national guidelines for stroke management.

For more information, contact Dr. Bambakidis at Nicholas.Bambakidis2@UHhospitals.org. or 216-844-8758.

Contributing Expert:
Nicholas Bambakidis, MD
Vice President and Director 
Warren R. Selman Chair in Neurosurgery
UH Neurological Institute
University Hospitals
Professor of Neurosurgery
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine