Medical Advisory Board
The Joe Niekro Foundation™ is honored to be represented by some of the best neurologists, neurosurgeons and interventional neuroradiologists in the country. Our Medical Advisory Board provides valuable feedback, knowledge, support and direction to The Joe Niekro Foundation™ Board of Directors and is also instrumental in the growth of our Patient Advocacy Program.
Gavin W. Britz, MD, MBBCh, MPH, FAANS
Dr. Gavin W. Britz is Chairman of Neurosurgery at The Methodist Hospital and Co-Director of the Methodist Neurological Institute. He leads an acclaimed team of neurosurgeons and affiliated professionals and is recognized as one of the nation’s foremost cerebrovascular and skull base surgeons.
Dr. Britz is one of the most experienced surgeons for brain aneurysm procedures, including highly complex cases that require cardiac standstill or complex bypasses. He treats brain aneurysms using the traditional microsurgical techniques but also performs endovascular treatment with coiling and stenting of aneurysms as he has trained in both neurosurgery and interventional neuroradiology. He additionally specializes in the treatment of arteriovenous malformations, dural fistulas, arterial dissections, atherosclerotic disease, Moya Moya disease and diseases affecting the skull base. This includes brain tumors such as meningioma, chordomas, pituitary tumors, craniopharyngiomas, vestibular schwannomas and performs microvascular decompressions. He is among the first surgeons to test and use the latest devices for endovascular treatments.
He came to Houston from Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina where he served as Director of the Cerebrovascular Center and Associate Professor of Neurosurgery. Earlier in his career, he was Co-Director of the Neurological Surgery Unit and Director of Endovascular Neurosurgery at Harborview Medical Center while serving as Associate Professor of Neurosurgery and Radiology at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He leads basic science and clinical studies to understand stroke causation and evaluates novel tools to treat brain aneurysms and skull base tumors. He serves on the editorial board for Neurosurgery, World Neurosurgery, International Journal of Vascular Medicine, Surgical Neurology International and Dataset Papers in Medicine. He has authored more than 80 peer reviewed scientific manuscripts and 25 chapters for various neurosurgical books.
Jan-Karl Burkhardt, MD
Jan-Karl Burkhardt, MD is an assistant professor of neurosurgery at Baylor College of Medicine who specializes in cerebrovascular surgery, both microsurgical and endovascular. Dr. Burkhardt earned his medical degree from the University of Leipzig in Germany and completed neurosurgery residency training at the University Hospital Zurich in Switzerland. He completed both a microsurgical vascular fellowship at University of California San Francisco (Dr. Lawton) and an endovascular fellowship at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York (Dr. Riina/Dr. Nelson). Besides his clinical practice, based primarily at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center in Houston, Dr. Burkhardt is a productive researcher with over 120 peer-reviewed clinical and preclinical publications. An enthusiastic teacher, he also serves as vascular section editor for the Journal World Neurosurgery and as an ad hoc reviewer for many neurosurgical journals. Dr. Burkhardt speaks both English and German.
Michael Chen, MD
Michael Chen, MD has an appointment as Associate Professor in Neurology, Neurosurgery and Radiology at Rush University Medical Center. He received his medical degree in his home state at the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine. His training includes a neurology residency at Yale-New Haven Hospital, a cerebrovascular disease fellowship at Harvard Medical School/Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and an interventional neuroradiology fellowship at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons. Chen’s practice focuses on caring for patients with brain and spinal cord vascular disease, including minimally invasive endovascular treatments. He directs the Brain Aneurysm Center for Women which focuses on evaluating the relationship between estrogen and brain aneurysms as well as developing longitudinal quality of life data for women with aneurysms.
Orlando Manuel Diaz-Daza, MD
Orlando Diaz, MD, is an Interventional Neuroradiologist at Houston Methodist Hospital and Assistant Professor at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Diaz received his M.D. from the University of Cartagena in Colombia in 1985, graduating Summa Cum Laude. From 1986-1989, Dr. Diaz performed his residency in radiology at Hospital Universitario del Valle in Colombia and was chief resident from 1988-1989. His clinical fellowship continued at Massachusetts General Hospital until 1995. From 1996-2000, Dr. Diaz served as Chief of Neurosurgery at Hospital Universitario Fundacion Santafe and Assistant Professor of Radiology at Universidad El Bosque in Bogota. In 2000, Dr. Diaz made Houston his home where he has served as an Interventional Neuroradiologist at Ben Taub General Hospital, St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital and The Methodist Hospital. Watch video of Dr. Diaz speaking on new aneurysm treatment procedure called Onyx 500.
Ricardo Hanel, MD
Ricardo Hanel, MD, PhD, received his medical degree from the University of Federal in Brazil, followed by a fellowship at both State University of New York and Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, AZ. Dr. Hanel is an endovascular neurosurgeon at Baptist Health in Jacksonville, FL. He is known for his skill in treating acute stroke and cerebrovascular conditions with ground-breaking endovascular therapy that can be performed from inside the blood vessel. Dr. Hanel also has a special interest in neurosurgical research. His areas of expertise are Endovascular Neurosurgery, Acute Stroke Intervention, Arteriovenous Fistulas (AVF), Skull Base Neurosurgery, Brain Aneurysms, Arteriovenous Malformations (AVMs) and Cerebrovascular Disease.
Dr. Hanel’s philosophy of care is centered on the patient, based on education, encouragement and understanding. He feels that it is important to educate his patients about their conditions and options, thus allowing them to make informed decisions. Dr. Hanel takes the time to engage his patients in their own care and firmly believe this helps them make better decisions.
Don Heck, MD
Donald Heck, MD is the Director of Neurointerventional Radiology at Novant Forsyth Medical Center in Winston Salem, NC and the co-director of the Forsyth Comprehensive Stroke Center. Dr. Heck is a graduate of Wake Forest University and Duke University Medical School in North Carolina. He trained in radiology and interventional radiology at Barnes-Jewish Hospital/Washington University in St. Louis, MO, and completed a neurointerventional radiology fellowship at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD. Dr. Heck serves on the Board of Directors of the Society of Neurointerventional Surgery (SNIS), and has authored numerous publications on a wide range of topics concerning stroke and aneurysm treatment, including the Journal of NeuroInterventional Surgery, Stroke, the American Journal of Neuroradiology and others. In addition to the SNIS, Dr. Heck is a member of the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) and the American Stroke Association (ASA).
Mahesh Jayaraman, MD
Dr. Jayaraman is the Director of Neurointerventional Services at Rhode Island Hospital, and is an Associate Professor of Diagnostic Imaging, Neurology, and Neurosurgery at the Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University. After completing his undergraduate and medical school at Brown University, Dr. Jayaraman went on to complete his residency in Diagnostic Radiology at Brown University/Rhode Island Hospital. During his residency, he conducted research on using CT Angiography (CTA) to diagnose aneurysms in patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage, work which eventually led to an RSNA research prize for an outstanding paper in Neuroradiology by a trainee. After finishing fellowships in Diagnostic and Interventional Neuroradiology at Stanford University, Dr. Jayaraman returned to Brown in 2006, where he still practices today.
Yashar Kalani, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Neurosurgery, Neurology, and Neuroscience at University of Virginia School of Medicine. He completed undergraduate studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, followed by his doctorate at the California Institute of Technology, his medical degree at Stanford University and residency and fellowship in Neurosurgery and Cerebrovascular/Endovascular surgery at the Barrow Neurological Institute. He also completed a fellowship in minimally invasive skull base surgery and neuroendoscopy at the Center for Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery in Sydney, Australia. Clinically he is focused on the combined microsurgical and endovascular treatment of neurovascular and skull base pathology. He is a principal investigator on a National Institute of Health grant studying RNA-based biomarkers of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. In addition to applying genomic tools to study cerebrovascular disease, he has an active research interest in regenerative medicine and stem cell biology and has published extensively in these areas including over 100 peer-reviewed articles, 50 book chapters, and 2 textbooks. He has been the recipient of several awards including a Soros Fellowship and a Sir Keith Murdoch Fellowship from the American Australian Association.
Richard Klucznik, MD
Richard Klucznik, MD, is the Assistant Professor of Radiology and Director of Interventional Neuroradiology at The Methodist Neurological Institute in Houston, Texas. Graduating Summa Cum Laude and receiving his undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts, Dr. Klucznik went on to receive his MD from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, MA. His surgical internship occurred at the University of Massachusetts and residency at David Grant Medical Center in Fairfield, CA. Dr. Klucznik performed fellowship in Neurology at Tufts-New England Medical in Boston and Interventional Neuroradiology at Baylor College of Medicine at The Methodist Hospital in Houston. In 1980, Dr. Klucznik received the George Howard Award for Anatomy. Dr. Klucznik has held clinical appointments at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center, The Methodist Hospital, Weill Medical College, Texas Neurovascular Center, Methodist Brain Aneurysm Center, MD Anderson Cancer Center and St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital. Dr. Klucznik currently serves as the Clinical Associate Professor of Radiology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University and Director on Interventional Therapeutic Neuroradiology at The Methodist Hospital in Houston. Dr. Klucznik also serves as the Nominating Committee Chair for The Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery. Watch video of Dr. Klucznik speaking about a new treatment for brain aneurysms, Onyx 500.
Michael Lawton, MD
Michael Lawton, MD, is the President and CEO of Barrow Neurological Institute and the Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery. He is board certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery.
Dr. Lawton’s neurosurgical expertise includes cerebrovascular disorders (aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations, cavernous malformations, and stroke) and skull base tumors. He has experience in treating more than 4,000 brain aneurysms, 800 AVMs, and 1,000 cavernous malformations. He is a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Congress of Neurological Surgeons, Society of Neurological Surgeons, American Academy of Neurological Surgery, and World Academy of Neurological Surgery.
Dr. Lawton received a degree in biomedical engineering from Brown University and his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He completed his neurosurgery residency at Barrow, where he also completed a fellowship in cerebrovascular and skull base surgery. After joining the faculty at the University of California, San Francisco, he later completed a fellowship in endovascular surgery there.
Dr. Lawton’s research studies the formation, underlying genetics, and rupture of brain AVMs, as well as the hemodynamics, rupture, and computational modeling of brain aneurysms. His clinical research studies the anatomy of microsurgical approaches and clinical outcomes of microsurgery for aneurysms, AVMs, and bypass surgery. He is the principal investigator for the Brain Vascular Malformation Consortium, a NIH-funded multicenter group studying the genetics and clinical course of rare vascular diseases of the brain. He has published over 450 peer-reviewed articles, three single-author textbooks, and over 70 book chapters. He co-founded Mission:BRAIN, a teaching mission to raise the level of neurosurgery practiced in developing countries that conducts annual missions in Mexico and Asia.
Demetrius Lopes, MD
Demetrius K. Lopes, M.D., is the Director of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Surgery at Advocate Health and Professor of Neurosurgery at Advocate Health. Previously, Dr. Lopes was also Surgical Director of Interventional Services and the Comprehensive Stroke Center at RUSH University.
Dr. Lopes received his medical degree at Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil), completed surgical internship at the University of Illinois, neurology (PGY-2) at Indiana University and neurological surgery residency as well as neurovascular fellowship at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
He is a board-certified neurosurgeon, dual trained and highly skilled in the field of cerebrovascular and endovascular neurosurgery. Specifically, in the treatment of brain aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations (AVM), cavernous malformations and revascularization of the brain for cerebral ischemia, stroke and the conditions leading up to stroke such as carotid and intracranial artery stenosis and moyamoya disease. He has performed well over 1000 brain aneurysm repairs in his surgical career.
Dr. Lopes, speaks fluently English, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Philip M. Meyers, MD
Philip Meyers, MD is the Associate Professor of Radiology and Neurological Surgery and Director of the Neuroendovascular Service at Columbia University Medical Center, New York Presbyterian Hospital and the Neurological Institute of New York. Dr. Meyers is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Harvard University and graduated AOA from Case Western Reserve University in 1989 followed by his residency and fellowship at the University of Cincinnati from 1989-1998 and UCSF 1998-2000. He received post-graduate training in surgery, radiology, and neuroradiology at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, and interventional neuroradiology/endovascular neurosurgery at the University of Calfornia at San Francisco. Areas of academic interest and research include cerebral aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations, cerebrovascular blood flow regulation, intracranial and extracranial revascularization therapy. He is the current President-Elect of the Executive Committee for Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery, along with serving in many neurological and cardiovascular professional organizations. Dr. Meyer’s areas of academic interest include acute hemorrhagic stroke, cerebral perfusion, and neuroplasticity.
Aman Patel, MD
Dr. Patel, MD is a neurosurgical attending at Massachusetts General Hospital with clinical interests in cerebrovascular and endovascular neurosurgery with a focus on the treatment of cerebral aneurysms, vascular malformations, and stroke. Prior to Mass General, Dr. Patel was Full Professor of Neurosurgery and Radiology, Director Cerebrovascular/ Endovascular Neurosurgery, Co-Director Stroke Program and Vice-Chairman Department of Neurosurgery at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. He started the program 13 years ago after completing post-graduate training in neurosurgery and interventional neuroradiology with a focus on the care of patients with cerebrovascular disease across the specialties of neurosurgery, radiology, and neurology. This collaborative approach has led to the growth of the program to becoming one of the busiest centers in New York City.
An expert in the vasculature of the brain and spine, Dr. Patel offers both endovascular and open microsurgical options to patients. He specializes in the minimally invasive treatment of brain and spinal disorders using endovascular techniques that are creating new treatment options for a broad range of conditions, replacing long and difficult traditional surgeries with low-risk interventions. When indicated, he also performs open surgery for cerebrovascular disease and general neurosurgery.
Dr. Patel is involved in multiple multi-center studies, NIH and industry sponsored, that investigate treatments related to ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke, new devices, and new techniques. He is focused on cerebrovascular treatments with a goal of developing a world-class program at Mass General that advances the clinical, academic, research and education work that began at Mount Sinai, with a goal of adding additional basic and clinical research.
Lee Pride, MD
Lee Pride, MD is Professor of the Radiology and Neurological Departments at UT Southwestern in Dallas, TX. After medical school at the University of Alabama, Dr. Pride completed his internship at UNC Hospitals focusing on Internal Medicine. He then proceeded to do his residency in Neurology and Radiology, with fellowship in Interventional Neuroradiology. His specialty areas include NeuroInterventional Radiology, Neurology, Neurosciences and Radiology with clinical interests in Arteriovenous Fistula, AVM, Carotid Stenosis, Carotid Stenting, Cavernous Carotid Fistula, Brain Aneurysm, Cerebral Aneurysm Embolization, Spinal Vascular Malformation and Stroke.
Lee is a member of the American Academy of Neurology, American Society of Neuroradiology, Radiological Society of North America, Society of Neurointerventional Surgery and the Texas Medical Association.
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