Neuro-Oncology & Skull Base Surgery Fellowship
- Division Chief & Section Chief, Pituitary and Cranial Base Surgery
- Professor, Department of Neurosurgery
Apply & Program Information
SNS/CAST-Approved Neuro-Oncology & Skull Base Surgery Fellowship
With over 1,100 major procedures performed a year the Brain Tumor division remains one of the busiest in the nation and the highest volume in the Philadelphia area. This fellowship, approved in 2011 by the Committee on Accreditation of Subspecialty Training (CAST) of the Society of Neurological Surgeon (SNS), is offered as a one-year fellowship involving surgical procedures, clinical work, research, multidisciplinary patient management, and cadaveric dissection in the dedicated skull base laboratory. The fellow will have a faculty appointment as an Instructor within the Division of Neuro-Oncology.
Attending staff includes two full-time academic cranial base surgeons:
James J. Evans, MD
Professor, Division Chief and Section Chief
Pituitary and Cranial Base Surgery
Christopher J. Farrell, MD
In addition, fellows work closely with several surgical faculty members in Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery:
- Rhinology - Marc Rosen, MD; Gurston Nyquist, MD; Mindy Rabinowitz, MD
- Otolaryngology – Head/Neck Cancer - Joseph Curry, MD; Adam Luginbuhl, MD
- Neurotology - Thomas Willcox, MD; Rebecca Chiffer, MD
- Otolaryngology/Facial Plastics/Free Flap - Ryan Heffelfinger, MD and Howard Krein, MD
- Oculoplastic Surgery - Jurji R. Bilyk, MD and Micheal Rabinowitz, MD
- Neuro-ophalmology - Robert Sergott, MD, Mark Moster MD, Adam Debusk, MD
Fellows also work closely with neuro-radiology, neuro-oncology, radiation oncology, rheumatology, endocrinology, and neurology in the interdisciplinary management of complex neuro-oncological patients.
The fellowship will have a formalized core structure which includes participation in outpatient clinic and multidisciplinary tumor board. The fellowship is uniquely structured to fold in a radiosurgery experience (both Gamma Knife radiosurgery and Novalis stereotactic radiotherapy/intensity modulated radiotherapy). The fellows participate in weekly cranial base surgery and research conferences. In addition, fellows are involved in a monthly interdisciplinary pituitary/endocrinology conference involving case discussion and didactics as well as ocular oncology. There is a unique quarterly neuro-ocular inflammatory conference involving the management of immunological disorders involving the orbit and cranial base.
The fellow is involved in weekly research meetings with otolaryngology where he/she collaborates with the corresponding otolaryngology skull base fellow to lead research projects. This also involves the supervision and mentorship of many involved residents and medical students. Research projects have included studies on the dedicated skull base clinical database, chart review, neuro-radiology projects, cadaveric morphometric research, writing manuscripts, case reports, book chapters, and invited lectures. The fellow will attend national cranial base surgery courses as a participant and/or faculty. Fellows will submit research to the North American Skull Base Society annual meeting as well as other national and regional meetings. A CAP certified cranial base tumor bank and dedicated laboratory technician is involved with organizing tumor specimens and translational research projects including molecular genetics, sequencing, NanoString, and identification of potential prognostic or therapeutic gene targets.
A dedicated skull base cadaver dissection laboratory is available for use 24 hours a day including microscopes, endoscopes, and neuronavigation. The skull base fellow will be involved in both training on various skull base approaches as well as cadaveric morphometric research. In addition, the fellow aids in the organization of year-long skull base course including on-going dissections with residents and medical students.
The general weekly workflow includes dedicated surgical cases on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, clinic on Wednesdays, and a mix of surgical cases and clinic on Mondays. Fellows complete between 300-400 cases annually and are involved in 50-100 radiosurgical planning sessions. Over 50% of cases are endoscopic, 40% open oncological surgeries, and 10% involved assorted types. Open cases involve various anterior, lateral, and posterior skull base approaches while microsurgical training includes the use of both the microscope and exoscope.
Graduated fellows come from a variety of well-known, international neurosurgical programs and have been successful in finding positions in a variety of academic and private practice positions. Below is a list of former fellows by year of graduation:
2021 – Michael Karsy, MD, PhD, MSc – Current fellow, University of Utah (Assistant Professor, planned), Salt Lake City, UT
2020 – Pascal Lavergne, MD – University of Washington (fellow), Université Laval, (Assistant Professor, planned), Quebec City, QC
2019 – Tomas Garzon-Muvdi, MD – Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX
2018 – Hermes G. Garcia-Marrero, MD - Orlando Health Neuroscience and Rehabilitation Institute Neurosurgery Group, Orlando, FL
2017 – Alan Siu, MD – Anacapa Surgical Associates, Ventura County Neuroscience Center, Ventura County Medical Center, Ventura, CA
2016 – Varun R. Kshettry, MD – Director for the Advanced Endoscopic & Microscopic Neurosurgery Laboratory, Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
2015 – Sonia Geschwindt, MD – Department Chair of Surgery, Attending Neurosurgeon, UP Health System, Marquette, MI
2014 – Marc L. Otten, MD – Director of Columbia Neurosurgery, New York-Presbyterian/Lawrence, Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery, Bronxville, NY
2013 – Tyler Kenning, MD – Director of Surgical Neuro-oncology and Cranial Base Surgery, Piedmont Health, Atlanta, Georgia. Former: Neurosurgery program director and director of cranial base surgery, University of Albany, Albany, NY
2012 – Micheal Lynn, MD – Consultant Neurosurgeon, Greenville Health System University Medical Group, Greenville, SC
2011 – So-Hyang Im, MD – Deputy Chair of Neuroscience Center, Consultant Neurosurgeon, Sheikh Khalifa Specialty Hospital, Dubai, UAE.