Viviane Tabar, MD, has been named the new Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK). Dr. Tabar has been a vital faculty member at MSK for more than 15 years and is currently the Theresa C. Feng Chair for Neurosurgical Oncology and the Vice Chair for Neurosurgical Research and Education. She specializes in intraoperative brain mapping techniques, allowing for brain tumors to be removed more precisely while sparing as much tissue as possible near these important areas. Dr. Tabar is the founding Director of the Multidisciplinary Pituitary and Skull Base Tumor Center at MSK, which is unique in the region as it brings together neurosurgery, head and neck surgery, and neuroendocrinology to serve patients with a diverse range of tumors and disorders.
“Dr. Tabar has contributed significantly to MSK since she began her career here, first as a fellow and then after joining the faculty in 2002,” said José Baselga, MD, PhD, MSK’s Physician-in-Chief. “She is a world-renowned leader in neurosurgical treatment, research, and education and the ideal physician to lead this esteemed department. Dr. Tabar approaches the most complex surgical cases with confidence, dedication, and compassion for her patients and will bring that same level of excellence to this new role.”
A distinguished surgeon-scientist, Dr. Tabar focuses her research on stem cell biology. She is the co-leader of the New York State consortium for the development of human embryonic stem cell–derived dopamine neurons for Parkinson’s disease. She has also developed strategies for cell-based therapies for the repair of radiation-induced brain injury. Dr. Tabar’s lab pioneered the use of pluripotent stem cells for brain tumor modeling, leading to novel insights into the biology of gliomas and to the discovery of candidate therapeutic targets for the disease.
Dr. Tabar received her medical degree from the American University of Beirut, completed a neurosurgical residency at the University of Massachusetts, and joined MSK as a clinical fellow. After conducting her postdoctoral work at the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, she returned to MSK to complete a research fellowship before joining the faculty. Her work has been published extensively, and she is the recipient of numerous awards, including from the American Association of Neurological Surgery and the American Brain Tumor Association. Dr. Tabar is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Society of Neurological Surgeons, and, most recently, the National Academy of Medicine.
“MSK represents the very best in comprehensive treatment of brain, spine, and skull base tumors,” said Dr. Tabar. “I am honored to begin leading this group of unsurpassed neurosurgery experts. Our focus will continue to be on providing our patients with the highest level of care and striving for innovative and more-effective surgical therapies.”
Dr. Tabar succeeds Philip Gutin, MD, who will retire at the end of this year and who served as the first incumbent of the Chair of Neurosurgery at MSK. Dr. Gutin’s leadership built a legacy of excellence in the treatment of brain cancer, which Dr. Tabar will continue in her new role.