Graduating resident Joseph Serrone, MD, Wins Ellen and Stewart Dunsker, MD, Award

CINCINNATI – Joseph Serrone, MD, a graduating, sixth-year resident in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine, is the 2013 winner of the Ellen and Stewart B. Dunsker, MD, Award for Clinical Research.

Dr. Serrone, who has a special interest in endovascular neurosurgery, won the $2,000 annual prize with his paper, “Management of vasospasm in ruptured unsecured intracranial vascular lesions: review of 10 cases.” The award was announced at the 2013 Mayfield Neuroscience Symposium on the UC Academic Health Center campus.

The research was published in the Journal of NeuroInterventional Surgery.

Dr. Serrone and fellow researchers performed a retrospective review of patients who had suffered subarachnoid hemorrhage, a life-threatening type of stroke caused when a ruptured aneurysm or other lesion bleeds into the space surrounding the brain, to determine the risk of treating vasospasm, a common complication, when ruptured lesions were unsecured.

They found that treatment of patients with vasodilator drugs was safe, while treatment-related complications were confined to cases using mechanical treatment (attempted stent placement, angioplasty).

“We concluded that the use of vasodilators is safe in the cases of ruptured unsecured vascular lesions, but mechanical intervention should be approached with caution,” Dr. Serrone said. “With a paucity of literature on this subject, this study may guide future physicians in managing this difficult clinical scenario.” 

Dr. Serrone graduated from UC's six-year neurosurgery residency program on May 31. He will continue his training at UC with a fellowship in endovascular neurosurgery. He received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

The annual Dunsker Award seeks to spur clinical research among neurosurgical residents. Dr. Dunsker, Professor Emeritus of Neurosurgery and a retired Mayfield Clinic neurosurgeon, and his wife underwrite the prize, which is given each spring to a resident who has proposed and completed the most compelling clinical research project during the academic year.

Dr. Dunsker, who retired as Professor of Neurosurgery in 2002 after a 31-year career with the Mayfield Clinic, played a role in developing spinal surgery into a subspecialty of neurosurgery. He was named Ohio Neurosurgeon of the Year in 1992 and received the Harvey Cushing Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, in 2003.

“Dr. Dunsker's career serves as a model for those of us in training,” Dr. Serrone said. “We are fortunate that, while out of clinical practice, he has maintained a presence in neurosurgical education at the University of Cincinnati. His contributions at conferences are always insightful and often inspiring. I am honored to be the recipient of an award with his name attached to it.”

The 2013 award submissions were judged by Mario Zuccarello, MD, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery; Ellen Air, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor and Director of the Division of Epilepsy; Charles Kuntz, IV, MD, Professor and Director of Spine and Peripheral Nerve Surgery; Philip Theodosopoulos, MD, Associate Professor and Director of the Neurosurgery Residency Program; and Jed Hartings, PhD, Research Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Monitoring. Drs. Zuccarello, Air, Kuntz and Theodosopoulos are Mayfield Clinic neurosurgeons.

Dr. Serrone’s co-authors are Lincoln Jimenez, MD, a fellow in endovascular neurosurgery at UC, and Norberto Andaluz, MD, Todd Abruzzo, MD, Dr. Zuccarello, and Andrew Ringer, MD, of the Mayfield Clinic.

The Mayfield Clinic is recognized as one of the nation's leading physician organizations for clinical care, education, and research of the spine and brain. Supported by 21 neurosurgeons, five neurointensivists, an interventional radiologist, and a pain specialist, the Clinic treats 25,000 patients from 35 states and 13 countries in a typical year. Mayfield's physicians have pioneered surgical procedures and instrumentation that have revolutionized the medical art of neurosurgery for brain tumors and neurovascular diseases and disorders.

Dr. Stewart Dunsker, Dr. Joseph Serrone and Dr. Mario Zuccarello

Left to right: Dr. Stewart Dunsker, Dr. Joseph Serrone and Dr. Mario Zuccarello