CINCINNATI—Since taking the role as chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine on July 1, 2017, Joseph Cheng, MD, has been working to grow his academic and clinical team to meet patients’ needs. Over the last year, the college has hired six neurosurgery faculty with expertise in the areas of brain tumor, cerebrovascular, spinal and functional neurosurgery, rounding out Cheng’s specialty in all aspects of spinal surgery, including treatment for degenerative disease, deformities, trauma, tumors spinal cord injury and complex revision spinal surgeries.
"As an academic center, we need to build a comprehensive subspecialty faculty team of experts to serve not only our patients in the region, but also the other physicians and surgeons who rely on a Level I adult trauma center and tertiary care center for a ‘higher level of care’ such as at UC Medical Center,” says Cheng. "We have both experienced leaders in our field with national and international recognition as well as the best and brightest of the next generation of neurosurgeons who are working ambitiously to improve the outcomes and care of patients through research and education. Basically, we at UC are ‘writing the books’ being read by our community colleagues in the care of their patients.” Before starting his UC appointment as professor and Frank H. Mayfield Chair of Neurological Surgery, Cheng was previously professor and vice chair of neurosurgery at the Yale School of Medicine. He is also a UC Health physician and part of the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute.
New faculty clinicians joining UC neurosurgery and UC Health in the last year include:
Nicholas Marko, MD, associate professor and director of the UC Brain Tumor Center. Marko joined UC in October 2017 from Geisinger Health System and serves as medical director of neurosurgical oncology for UC Health. He previously served as the American Association of Neurological Surgeons William P. Van Wagenen Fellow in Applied Mathematics and Computational Cancer Research at the University of Cambridge. Marko specializes in brain tumors, proton therapy and stereotactic radiosurgery, in addition to being a nationally known pioneer in using health care applications and big data to optimize therapies for patients with brain and spine tumors.
Charles Prestigiacomo, MD, professor, who began in December 2017 and oversees cerebrovascular and endovascular neurosurgery. He joined UC from the Neurological Institute of New Jersey at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School where he had been chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery. He also directed the Cerebrovascular Center in the Department of Neurological Surgery at University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey. Prestigiacomo specializes in cerebrovascular microsurgery—aneurysms, arteriovenous malformation (AVM), cavernous malformation, carotid endarterectomy and bypass—endovascular surgery for the treatment of all brain, spinal cord and head and neck pathology—aneurysms, AVM, stroke, tumor, vessel occlusion—and stereotactic radiosurgery for vascular lesions.
Juan Torres-Reveron, MD, who joined the department in January 2018 as an assistant professor. Torres-Reveron specializes in functional neurosurgery for movement disorders and epilepsy, including deep brain stimulation. He trained at Yale University for his residency and completed his fellowship under Dennis Spencer, MD, the recognized forefather of epilepsy surgery in neurosurgery. Torres will partner with UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute physicians to provide care in conjunction with the UC Epilepsy Center, the UC Gardner Family Center for Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders as well as the Headache and Facial Pain Center, all within the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute.
Jonathan Forbes, MD, assistant professor, who began in May 2018. Forbes completed his neurosurgical residency at Vanderbilt in 2013 and went on to fulfill a four-year commitment with the U.S. Air Force that included a six-month deployment to Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan. Most recently, he completed a minimally invasive skull base fellowship at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City. Forbes specializes in endoscopic skull base surgery and minimally invasive brain surgery.
Rani Nasser, MD, assistant professor, who joined the faculty after completing his complex spine fellowship at UC with Cheng in July 2018. He completed his neurosurgical residency training at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, where he also completed an enfolded fellowship in pediatric orthopedic spine surgery. Nasser will focus on spinal tumors and complex spinal surgery.
Matthew Garrett, MD, PhD, who will start in November 2018 as an assistant professor of neurosurgery, specializing in brain tumors. Garrett had recently won the 2017 Preuss Young Scientist Award. He is completing his neurosurgical residency and PhD at UCLA and has published over 30 peer-reviewed papers in the field.
Additionally, Mario Zuccarello, MD, a professor and past chair in the Department of Neurosurgery, remains with UC Health. Zuccarello first arrived in Cincinnati in 1985, and during his nearly 30-year career as a clinician, teacher and researcher, he has held numerous leadership roles, including seven years as department chair. His expertise includes cerebrovascular surgery, particularly intracerebral hemorrhage, vasospasm, carotid stenosis and Moyamoya disease.
These surgeons join the team with Laura Ngwenya, MD, PhD, recruited in 2016 as director of the Neurotrauma Center, and Kerry Crone, MD, and John Tew, MD, who have retired from performing surgeries but are still caring for patients in the office and clinic.
"We are excited to witness the new growth of the department which builds on the legacy of Drs. Zuccarello and John Tew, respected leaders in neurosurgery, not just in Cincinnati but nationally and internationally,” says Joseph Broderick, MD, professor of neurology and medical director of the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute.
Cheng adds, "With the combination of the rich history of neurosurgery pioneers in Cincinnati, the support structure of the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute centers and leaders, and the new facility underway, we are well positioned to grow a successful regional and national destination for complex neurosurgical care.”