10 Spine Surgeons Conducting Outstanding Research

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Here is a list of 10 spine surgeons who have received research grants from the North American Spine Society over the past five years.

Greg Anderson, MD (Rothman Institute, Philadelphia). Dr. Anderson received the grant in 2007 for a collaborative project titled “Proinflammatory Cytokine Profile of Intervertebral Disc Tissues From Patients With Discogenic Axial Back Pain Confirmed by Discography.” His additional research interests include artificial discs fusion techniques, spinal cord injuries and disc degeneration. In addition to serving patients at Rothman Institute, Dr. Anderson is an associate professor at Thomas Jefferson University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. He has also served as the chief of orthopedic spine surgery at the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, Va., among other military appointments. Dr. Anderson earned his medical degree from Loma Linda (Calif.) University and completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at the University of California, Irvine, in Orange. His additional training includes a fellowship in spine surgery at Thomas Jefferson University.

Paul Anderson, MD (University of Wisconsin, Madison). Dr. Anderson received the grant in 2008 for his collaborative project titled “Intervertebral Disc Regeneration From Co-Cultures Disc and Stem Cells in Biomimetic Engineered Extracellular Matrix Stimulation by Mechanically Active Bioreactor.” In addition to disc regeneration, Dr. Anderson’s research interests include the development of an artificial cervical disc and spinal fixation implants. He is the author and editor of several orthopedic and spine surgery text books and publications, and he sits on the medical advisory board of SI Bone. In his practice, Dr. Anderson has a professional expertise in treating spinal trauma and complex cervical disorders. Dr. Anderson earned his medical degree at Wayne State University in Detroit, where he also completed his residency. His additional training includes a spine surgery fellowship at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, MD (Hospital for Special Surgery, New York City).
Dr. Boachie-Adjei received the grant in 2007 for a project titled “Percutaneous Gene-Delivery Mediated Intervertebral Body Fusion.” Dr. Boachie-Adjei is the chief of the scoliosis service at the Hospital for Special Surgery, where he has a professional interest in performing spine reconstruction for adult and pediatric patients. In addition to his clinical practice and research, Dr. Boachie-Adjei is an inventor who holds patents for spinal devices and serves as founder and president of the Foundation of Orthopedics and Complex Spine. During his career, he has been recognized with the Humanitarian Award from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons for his work in West Africa and has served as president of the Scoliosis Research Society. Dr. Boachie-Adjei earned his medical degree at Columbia University in New York City and completed his residency at St. Vincent’s Hospital & Medical Center. He also completed a fellowship at the Twin Cities Scoliosis Center and the Minnesota Spine Center in Minneapolis.

Matthew Cunningham, MD (Hospital for Special Surgery, New York City). Dr. Cunningham earned the grant in 2007 as a young investigator for a collaborative project titled “Percutaneous Gene-Delivery Mediated Intervertebral Body Fusion.” In his practice at the Hospital for Special Surgery, Dr. Cunningham focuses on providing care for patients with spinal deformity, acute spine problems and degenerative conditions. He has a special interest in performing revision surgeries for patients with failed back syndrome. Dr. Cunningham serves as a volunteer surgeon for the Foundation for Orthopaedics and Complex Spine and is an active member of the Orthopaedic Research Society. Dr. Cunningham earned his medical degree at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City and completed his residency and fellowship at Hospital for Special Surgery.

Edward Hanley, MD (Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, N.C.). Dr. Hanley received the grant in 2006 for a collaborative project titled “Cell Senescence and the Human Intervertebral Disc.” Dr. Hanley is the chairman of the department of orthopedic surgery at Carolinas Medical Center, where he has an interest in spine reconstruction and outcomes research. His studies have been published in several professional journals, including Spine. During his career, he has served as the president of the American Orthopaedic Association, Cervical Spine Research Society, International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine and the Academic Orthopaedic Society. He has also served on the board of trustees for the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. He earned his medical degree at the University of Vermont in Burlington and completed his residency at the University of Pittsburgh. His additional training includes a spine surgery fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh.

Xudong Li, MD (University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville). Dr. Li received the grant in 2010 for a collaborative project titled “Treatment of Disc Degeneration by Nano-fullerenes.” He is an assistant professor at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, where he also completed his additional postdoctoral training. In addition to recognition from NASS, Dr. Li has received the Career Development Award from the Orthopaedic Research Society and the New Investigator Award for his research on transcription factors and osteoporosis. His current research focuses on intervertebral disc and cartilage regeneration. Dr. Li earned his medical degree from Xi’an Medical University in China and completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the Arthritis Foundation.

Dilip Sengupta, MD (Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, N.H.).
Dr. Sengupta earned the grant in 2008 for his project titled “Defining the Abnormal Kinematics of Lumbar Spine Instability as a Cause of Degenerative Low Back Pain—A Biomechanical Study of the Kinematics of Cadaver Lumber Spine.” His additional research interests include dynamic spine stabilization and kinematics after disc replacement. Articles based on his studies have been published in several professional journals during his career, including Spine. In his practice at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Dr. Sengupta has a professional interest in lumbar and cervical disc replacement, spinal deformities and spinal injuries. He earned his medical degree from Calcutta Medical College in India and completed his residency at Railway Orthopaedic Institute & Research Centre in India. His additional training includes fellowships at Queen’s Medical Center in England, Texas Back Institute in Plano and William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich.

Francis Shen, MD (University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville). Dr. Shen received the grant as a young investigator for his project titled “Novel Scaffold Using Human Adipose-derived Stormal Cells.” His additional research interests include applying tissue engineering principles to solve clinically relevant problems. In his practice at the University of Virginia, Dr. Shen is able to treat patients using traditional open procedures as well as minimally invasive, image-guided and microsurgery spine procedures. During his career, his research has been recognized as outstanding by Spine and he has received the Scoliosis Research Society Traveling Fellowship. Dr. Shen earned his medical degree at the University of Virginia, where he also completed his residency in orthopedic surgery. His additional training includes a spine fellowship at Rush University in Chicago.

Adam Shimer, MD (University of Virginia Health Systems, Charlottesville)
. Dr. Shimer received the grant in 2010 for a collaborative project titled “Treatment of Disc Degeneration by Nano-fullerenes.” His general research focuses on genetic and cellular treatment of degenerative disc disease and has been recognized by the Cervial Spine Research Society and the AO Spine North America Fellows Forum. In his practice at the University of Virginia Health Systems, Dr. Shimer has a professional interest in treating complex conditions, cervical spine revisions and adult spinal deformity. He is trained in minimally invasive treatment of spinal conditions. Dr. Shimer received his medical degree from the University of Virginia and completed his residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. His additional training includes a fellowship in spine surgery at Rothman Institute in Philadelphia.

Kirkham Wood, MD (Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston).
Dr. Wood earned the grant in 2007 for his project titled “In-vivo Spine Biomechanics: Application of an Innovative Combined MR and Dual Fluoroscopic Imaging Technique.” His general research is focused on the effects of instrumentation for spinal deformity, dynamics of the intervertebral disc and alternative methods and implants for spine surgery. Dr. Wood is the chief of orthopedic spine service at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he has a professional interest in treating adult spinal disorders. He is also the program director for the spine surgery fellowship program at Harvard Medical School in Boston. Dr. Wood earned his medical degree at Albany Medical College in New York and completed his residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. His additional training includes a fellowship at the University of Minnesota Hospital & Clinic in Fairview.

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