Columbia Neurosurgery Shares "A Vision for the Future" at The Brunswick School

Sharing Our Latest Innovations to Transform Care

February 29, 2024

Columbia Neurosurgery presenting its Translational Research Initiative at The Brunswick School in Greenwich, CT on Tuesday, Feb 27th 2024.

On Tuesday, members of the Columbia Neurosurgery team, Dr. E. Sander Connolly, Dr. Jeffrey Bruce, Dr. Guy McKhann, Dr. Brian Gill, Dr. Evan Joiner (Chief Resident) and Alexandra Webb Clark, Director of Programmatic Advancement served as presenters at "A Vision for the Future: Exploring Cutting-Edge Approaches to Combat Illness" a special event in partnership with The Brunswick School Nell Wall Otto Lecture Series. This lecture series honors the late Nell Wall Otto, a beloved member of the local community and former Brunswick School board member who lost her courageous battle with cancer in 2022. The lecture series' mission is to bring awareness and support to new medical advancements via presentations by medical experts poised to change the world, with Columbia Neurosurgery's team squarely in this space.

Over 200 attendees, parents and the Brunswick School community members gathered to discuss Columbia Neurosurgery's Translational Research Initiative, the department's collaboration to solve the most pressing issues in neurological disease. Translational research aims to translate basic research into results directly benefitting humans through the accelerated development of novel neurotherapeutics for rare and refractory brain and spine diseases.

Department Chair Dr. E. Sander Connolly shared how the department's culture refuses to accept the status quo for patient’s, "At Columbia Neurosurgery, we are surrounded by leaders in every area of clinical neurology and neurosurgery. Every day I come to work and am struck by the fact that I learn far more than I teach. I'm continuously coached more than I coach, which makes this such an exciting place to work." He presented his research on attempts to modulate intravascular inflammation to improve cerebral blood flow following thrombectomy for stroke as well as his efforts to develop next generation intravascular sensing stimulators which could prove critical in modulating chronic inflammation.

Following Dr. Jeffrey Bruce discussed the potential implications of convection-enhanced drug delivery (explainer video link) for brain tumors, stating, "We have an opportunity to deliver drugs directly into the brain and minimize side effects, a longstanding challenge due to the blood-brain barrier which typically inhibits most drugs from reaching the tumor site."

Next, Dr. Guy McKhann shared his project, Building a Brain-Controlled Hearing Aid. On the brain cancer neuroscience front, Dr. Brian Gill shared his project Tumor Neuron Interactions in Glioma, discussing the opportunities and promise that this field holds to improve function and quality of life for patients who are living with brain tumors.

In conclusion, Dr. Evan Joiner shared his exciting work on Epidural Stimulation including his recent NIH R25 grant to support his research on epidural stimulation for motor recovery after spinal cord injury. 

The audience engaged in lively Q&A with Alexandra Clark, a Greenwich Academy alumna, who served as the panel's moderator and host, highlighting her personal experience of her husband's brain tumor and the urgency for new treatments that maintain the patient's sense of self. The discussion was followed by a light reception where our surgeons could connect with many audience members to discuss the further implications for their research and new ways to partner. Columbia Neurosurgery was honored to be featured as part of this impactful lecture series with an opportunity to showcase the incredible portfolio of its Translational Research Initiative. Learn more about how to get involved via this link.