Neurosurgery residents honored with Dunsker, Tew research awards

CINCINNATI – Steven Gogela, MD, a fifth-year resident in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine, is the 2016 winner of the Ellen and Stewart B. Dunsker, MD, Award for Clinical Research.

Jennifer Kosty, MD, a fourth-year resident, is this year's winner of the John M. Tew, Jr., MD, Award for Neuro-Oncology Research.

The awards, judged by members of the Department of Neurosurgery, were announced during the 33rd Mayfield Neuroscience Symposium at the UC College of Medicine. Each winner was awarded a $2,000 prize. The event coincided with graduation ceremonies for three neurosurgery residents: Daniel Harwell, MD, Ryan Tackla, MD, and Jonathan York, MD.

Dr. Gogela (pronounced Go-GELL-ah) was honored for his examination of operative strategies for decompressing the optic nerve with transcranial and endoscopic endonasal techniques. A study comparing the effectiveness of these two approaches to a lesion at the skull base had not previously been completed.

Working in the cadaver lab, Dr. Gogela found that he was able to achieve a greater degree of optic canal decompression via the transcranial route, which involves opening the skull (a craniotomy), than the endonasal approach (a minimally invasive approach through the nose).

"Our analysis provides important guidance for surgeons approaching this location," Dr. Gogela says. "Through the transcranial approach, the surgeon can safely obtain good visualization and a wide exposure of the targeted area of the skull base."

Dr. Gogela's research was funded by a grant from the Mayfield Education & Research Foundation.

Dr. Kosty was honored for her examination of the surgical treatment of small intracanalicular vestibular schwannomas, often referred to as acoustic neuromas, in patients who still retained hearing in the affected ear. The optimal treatment for these patients can be controversial and not always clear.

Dr. Kosty and her team examined surgical resection of the small tumor via a middle cranial fossa approach. This approach involves opening the skull (a craniotomy) above the ear.

Dr. Kosty's team reviewed the records of 46 patients who were diagnosed between 2006 and 2015 and were surgically treated with a middle fossa approach to the tumor. The team concluded that this middle fossa approach for small tumors (smaller than 5 millimeters) offered the opportunity for complete surgical resection with "excellent rates of hearing preservation" and minimal negative impact to the facial nerve. "In young, healthy patients with serviceable hearing, we believe this is an excellent treatment option," Dr. Kosty says.

The Tew Award is sponsored by the Brain Tumor Center at the UC Neuroscience Institute to recognize contributions to the field of surgical neuro-oncology by John M. Tew, MD, the legendary Mayfield neurosurgeon who chaired the Department of Neurosurgery for 20 years before co-founding the UC Neuroscience Institute in 1998. Dr. Tew led the Institute, a network of disease-focused centers committed to the collaborative treatment and research of brain disease and injury, for 15 years.

The Tew Award is intended to stimulate brain tumor research by neurosurgical residents at UC. It honors a resident whose work 1) focuses on primary or metastatic brain tumors and 2) involves either basic (laboratory) science or clinical research. Basic science research with the potential for translation to clinical trials is given special consideration. A significant portion of the work should be performed at UC.

Stewart Dunsker, MD, Professor Emeritus of Neurosurgery and a retired Mayfield Clinic neurosurgeon, and his wife, Ellen, underwrite the Dunsker Award, which is given to a resident who has proposed and completed the most compelling clinical research project during the academic year. "I ask the residents to perform experiments not on their benches but in their brains," Dr. Dunsker has said. "Asking the question why is not expensive and requires no NIH grant. I encourage residents to go find a better way."

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. He remains a familiar figure at department meetings and grand rounds.

Dunsker Award Winners

  • 2008 Andrew Losiniecki, MD
  • 2009 Andrew Grande, MD
  • 2010 Ellen Air, MD, PhD
  • 2011 Dean Hertzler, MD
  • 2012 Chad Farley, MD
  • 2013 Joseph Serrone, MD
  • 2014 Ben Bixenmann, MD
  • 2015 Daniel Harwell, MD
  • 2016 Steven Gogela, MD

Tew Award Winners

  • 2014 Christopher Sanders Taylor, MD
  • 2016 Jennifer Kosty, MD

Dunsker Award winner Steven Gogela, MD, left, with Dr. Stewart Dunsker.

Tew Award winner Jennifer Kosty, MD, left, with Dr. Ron Warnick.