2024 Southeastern Brain Tumors Neuro-Oncology Trainee Award Recipient

Congratulations Nicholas Dadario

March 28, 2024

Congratulations to medical student Nicholas Dadario, who won the 2024 Southeastern Brain Tumors Neuro-Oncology Trainee Award for his project, Intra-Tumoral Convection Enhanced Delivery of an Immunostimulatory Agent Extends Survival in GBM Model. Nicholas Dadario is currently dedicated to better understanding how the inflammatory landscape evolves in primary and recurrent Glioblastoma (GBM) and how this landscape can be leveraged with immunotherapy when delivered with convection-enhanced delivery (CED). In this project, Nicholas and co-authors Nathan Winans and Liang Lei examine how CED of a potent immunostimulatory agent ('STING') prolongs survival and modulates the immune microenvironment in GBM.

Nicholas is a rising 4th year medical student applying to neurosurgery next year. He developed a passion for neurosurgery at an early age, including the treatment of patients with brain tumors. Through this interest, he began working with several previous alumni of Columbia Neurosurgery. He quickly found Dr. Jeffrey Bruce's lab in his second year of medical school and spent a summer working in the lab. Nicholas soon decided that he wanted to complete a year of dedicated research to build the foundation of his early neurosurgical career. He believed it could be achieved in Dr. Bruce's lab alongside co-mentor Dr. Peter Canoll. Nicholas has become well known to the department, having led several of his research projects in the lab, working closely with faculty and residents in all aspects of clinical and research opportunities, and mentoring the next class of junior medical students. 

Dr. Jeffrey Bruce shared, "Nicholas is an outstanding scientist who brings a strong energy and intelligence to the fight against brain tumors.  His work is an important contribution to our research and finding better treatments for gliomas."

His teammate, Associate Research Scientist in the Department of Pathology, Liang Lei, commented, "Nick is a team player and has a keen interest in understanding the immune landscape of Glioblastoma."

This prestigious award will be presented at the Saturday tumor session of 20204's Annual American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) Meeting in Chicago later in May. This year's annual theme, "What Matters to Me," focuses on issues that all neurosurgeons agree are critically important, one of them being novel drug delivery and acceleration of medical technologies that can help patients affected by some of these difficult-to-treat conditions like Glioblastoma.