Miller School Researchers Present at Congress of Neurological Surgeons

Neurosurgeons, residents and fellows with the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Department of Neurological Surgery played a big role at the recent Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) meeting, held mid-September in Washington D.C.

A variety of senior faculty presented at the meeting, with multiple poster presentations and a UM reunion that brought in alumni from around the nation.

“This was an excellent conference and a great opportunity for some of our leading surgeons and researchers to present their work,” said Allan Levi, M.D., Ph.D., professor and Chair of Neurosurgery. “In particular, our people spoke about important research on novel brain tumor treatments and repairing peripheral nerve injuries.”

New Approaches to Treat Brain Tumors

One of the conference highlights was Ashish Shah, M.D., assistant professor of Neurological Surgery, who presented his work on immunotherapy, which offers brain tumor treatment beyond surgery and radiation.

Dr. Shah’s team has been studying the cancer microenvironment—the area tumors co-opt through inflammatory signals and other means. At the conference, Dr. Shah presented on strategies to enhance anti-tumor immune responses by activating the innate immune system.

The Challenge of Peripheral Nerve Injuries

From left, Dr. Jacques Morcos, Dean Henri Ford, Dr. Shelby Burks, Dr. Andrew Fanous, Dr. Anthony Hall and Dr. Allan Levi share a laugh at the dean’s reception.

Peripheral nerve injuries are challenging to treat and can cause pain, muscle weakness and other issues for patients. At the conference, Shelby Burks, M.D., took a historical perspective of clinical trials related to peripheral nerves before looking to their future.

“My presentation discussed the past, present, and future of clinical trials in peripheral nerve injury,” said Dr. Burks, adding that he emphasized two current trials taking place at the Miller School.

Brain Tumors Surgeries and Vestibular Schwannomas

Dr. Michael Ivan presenting at CNS 2023

Michael Ivan, M.D., associate professor of Clinical Neurological Surgery, shared recent research on improving outcomes following brain tumor surgeries, as well as enhanced techniques and leading-edge technologies to remove vestibular schwannomas—benign tumors in the ear that can impact hearing and balance.

Dr. Ivan also provided updates on the Glioma Connectome Project, a national consortium of researchers working to care for tumors that start in cells that support the brain and spinal cord.

“We updated a promising, multi-institutional clinical trial that we are leading at UM,” said Dr. Ivan, “which is allowing us to better understand brain connections and improve out ability to protect cognition during brain surgery.”

Miller School Highlights

Other Miller School presenters included:

  • Carolina Benjamin, M.D., assistant professor of Neurologic Surgery, whose research interests include skull base tumors
  • Gregory Basil, M.D., assistant professor and Director of Endoscopic Spine Surgery, whose focus is minimally invasive spine procedures
  • Michael Wang, M.D., professor of Neurological Surgery and Chief of Service, medical director, Minimally Invasive Spine

“It was an incredibly inspiring conference,” said Dr. Levi, “both for the work people presented and the connections we made. It’s always a highlight watching our faculty and trainees present their scientific data, and it was great seeing how the people who trained at the Miller School are faring out in the world at our alumni reception.”

Tags: brain tumors, Department of Neurological Surgery, Dr. Allan Levi, Dr. Ashish Shah, Dr. Carolina Benjamin, Dr. Gregory W. Basil, Dr. Michael Ivan, Dr. Michael Wang, Dr. Stephen Shelby Burks