Research

The Neurosurgery Department at The Mount Sinai Hospital is currently conducting a number of research studies and clinical trials to improve the treatment of a range of neurological diseases and conditions.  

  • Brain Tumors: The Brain Tumor and Gene Therapy Laboratory investigates methods to develop successful treatments for glioblastoma multiforme, which is the most common and aggressive type of primary brain tumor. Currently, treatments are not addressing the highly invasive natures of neoplasms (tissue mass resulting from abnormal growth or division of cells) and its association with tumor recurrence within the operated surgical site. Methods are being researched to find an effective way to deliver genes that are programmed for cell death specifically to tumor cells without targeting normal brain cells. Additionally, this lab is researching the effects of substances that could potentially enhance the effects of standard treatments, such as ionizing radiation and temozolomide. Isabelle Germano, MD, is the principal investigator in the Brain Tumor and Gene Therapy Laboratory.

  • Cushing’s Disease: The Pituitary Endocrine Laboratory is studying patients with Cushing’s disease due to pituitary adenomas before and after surgery through the nose to characterize effects of hypercortisolemia, which refers to a high level of circulating cortisol. Cushing’s disease may result from tumor of the pituitary or adrenal glands. Kalmon Post, MD, works alongside principal investigator Eliza Geer, MD, in the Pituitary Endocrine Laboratory.

  • Neural Tissue Regrowth: The Laboratory of Axonal Growth and Neuronal Regeneration investigates developing molecular treatments for neural tissue regrowth. Molecular mechanisms of how neurons are born, how they extend axons, and how they regenerate or fail to regenerate after mammalian central nervous system (CNS) injury are studied. Through this research, the lab aims to identify targeting molecules for effective CNS regeneration and development of methods to shrink tumor cells by blocking growth or further differentiation of tumor cells. The goal of this lab is to translate its research into a treatment for primary CNS tumors. Hongyan Zou, MD, is the principal investigator in the Laboratory of Axonal Growth and Neuronal Regeneration.

  • Paraplegic and Quadriplegic Spinal Cord Injuries: The Spinal Cord Injury Laboratory is researching treatments for patients with paraplegic and quadriplegic spinal cord injuries. The goal is to develop a way for patients with unresponsive limbs to become fully independent. Using a combination of computer technology, surgical techniques, and the understanding of the nervous system, the lab is using advanced technology and electronic implants to electronically bypass the spinal cord abnormality. This treatment will create an electronic nervous system by reconnecting the nerves that remain functional, but not in communication with the brain, to the patients’ limbs. Arthur L. Jenkins III, MD, is the principal investigator working alongside Stainslaw Sobotka, PhD, in the Spinal Cord Injury Laboratory.

  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage: The Cerebrovascular Laboratory investigates cerebral injury during the first 48 hours after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), which is associated with a significant early mortality and morbidity. SAH occurs when an intracranial aneursysm ruptures and releases blood into the subarachnoid space. The lab uses a rat model of SAH that emulates human SAH to study cerebral injury with the aim of simplifying underlying mechanisms and identifying preventative therapeutic strategies. Joshua Bederson, MD, is the principal investigator alongside Fatima Sehba, PhD, in the Cerebrovascular Laboratory.

  • Movement Disorders: The Neurosurgery Department is working on several multidisciplinary clinical trials of emerging neuromodulation technologies targeting disorders such as Parkinson's disease, essential tremor, tinnitus, and major depression. Brian H. Kopell, MD, has pioneered the use of intraoperative imaging during deep brain stimulation (DBS) cases to supplement the microelectrode recording typically done to make a procedure that is safer and quicker for patients. The focus is on developing new imaging techniques that will lessen and eventually obviate the need for intraoperative mapping and awake patients. The goal is to perform accurate, completely asleep DBS surgery. Research in computational modeling is also being done to develop better treatments and further understand effects of DBS on brain activity.


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