I am a fellowship-trained pediatric neurosurgeon who specializes in the surgical treatment of cancerous and noncancerous disorders affecting the brain and spine. With regard to cancer, I have clinical expertise in the use of minimally invasive “endoscopic” approaches to surgery for tumors at the base of the skull, such as those in or near the pituitary gland including pituitary tumors, craniopharyngiomas and tumors of the clivus. As part of a skull base team, I am able to remove these tumors through the nose. By avoiding incisions on the head, this approach does not leave external scars and is far less painful and traumatic for children.
I also specialize in patients with a type of brain tumor called low-grade astrocytoma. To the naked eye, these tumors look very much like normal brain tissue. I am able to use MRI in the operating room to distinguish between normal and tumor tissue, allowing for precise and maximal removal of tumor tissue. We also use advanced techniques to map the parts of the brain responsible for language and motor function before and during surgery so we can avoid these areas during an operation and safely remove these invasive tumors.
In my research, I am seeking to understand the events that transform benign tumors such as low-grade astrocytomas into malignant tumors. We have demonstrated that certain cells from the bone marrow travel to the brain and promote the development of the blood vessels that tumors need to grow and spread. My colleagues and I are seeking to develop a way to monitor certain cells in the blood to see if we can predict which tumors are most likely to become malignant, enabling us to provide treatment early to keep a tumor in a chronic, benign state. We are also examining the role these cells have in the metastatic spread or dissemination of other malignant tumors, including medulloblastoma.
We are performing molecular characterization of a type of tumor called brainstem glioma, which currently has no cure, with the hope of designing therapies targeted directly to the cause of this devastating childhood brain tumor. I started and am leading the Pediatric Brain Tumor Collaborative between Memorial Sloan Kettering and Weill Cornell Medical Center, where I also have an appointment. The mission of this effort is to drive the development and conduct of new clinical trials, using a multidisciplinary approach.
I truly draw inspiration from my young patients every day. I keep the goal of a happy productive childhood and continued physical, emotional, and intellectual development in mind with every treatment decision we make with our patients and their families.
- Clinical Expertise: Pediatric Neurosurgery; Pediatric Brain Tumors; Neuroendoscopy; Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery; Spinal Cord Tumors
- Languages Spoken: English
- Education: MD, PhD, Weill Cornell Medical College
- Residencies: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center
- Fellowships: Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
- Board Certifications: Neurological Surgery
Research is integral to our mission at Memorial Sloan Kettering, and clinical trials help us discover better forms of patient care and treatment. For you, this could mean access to a new therapy or therapy combination. Click to see a list of the trials I’m currently leading.