September 14, 2021 — The Glioblastoma Research Organization, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization raising awareness and funds for cutting-edge research to find a cure for rare malignant fast-growing tumors affecting the brain or spine, is pleased to announce Vidya Gopalakrishnan, Ph.D.; Michael E. Ivan, MD; and Ricardo Jorge Komotar, MD, FAANS, FACS as members of its medical advisory board. These esteemed doctors will be counseling the organization on opportunities for maximizing the impact of its research globally.
Vidya Gopalakrishnan, Ph.D., leads a multidisciplinary team of scientists and physicians at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MD Anderson) to develop immunotherapy for recurrent/refractory pediatric brain tumors, along with imaging tools to monitor the fate of therapeutically administered NK cells and other cell therapy products. The overall goal of her research is to understand the role of the RE1 Silencing Transcription Factor (REST), a negative regulator of neuronal differentiation, in cerebellar development and medulloblastoma pathogenesis.
She holds a Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and a master’s degree in biochemistry and Bachelor of Science in microbiology and biochemistry from the University of Bombay in India. Dr. Gopalakrishnan completed her post-doctoral fellowship on molecular genetics and biochemistry at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Michael E. Ivan, M.D., Co-Director of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Brain Tumor Initiative at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is specializing in complex brain tumor, skull base tumor, and epilepsy surgery. Dr. Ivan serves as a Neuro-Oncology Site Disease Group Leader, Director of Research for the University of Miami Brain Tumor Initiative within Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, and is the Principal Investigator of the Ivan Brain Tumor Lab. He is also the Chief of Cranial Neurosurgery and Neuro-Oncology, and Co-Director of Neurosurgery at Jackson South Medical Center.
Dr. Ivan was recently part of the first skull base team in Florida to implant an auditory brainstem implant to restore hearing loss after acoustic neuroma resection. He also specializes in minimally invasive surgery such as Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy (LITT), minimal port access surgery, and endoscopic neurosurgery, allowing patients to have little to no incision and go home after one day.
Dr. Ivan earned a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from Cornell University and holds a Doctor of Medicine and master’s degree from Rutgers University. He attended New Jersey Medical School and then completed his neurological surgery training at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). After residency, he moved to Miami and completed a fellowship in Surgical Neuro-oncology at the University of Miami.
Ricardo Jorge Komotar, MD, FAANS, FACS, Co-Director of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Brain Tumor Initiative, is a professor of Neurological Surgery at the University of Miami School of Medicine, and serves as a director of several University of Miami programs including its Surgical Neuro-Oncology, the Neurosurgery Residency Program, and the Surgical Neuro-Oncology Fellowship Program.
Dr. Komotar is an internationally recognized leader in the field of brain tumors and performs nearly 800 procedures for these conditions each year using innovative surgical and radiosurgical techniques, making him one of the highest volume brain tumor surgeons in the world. His research interests include clinical trial development and translational neurooncological investigations designed to pioneer new therapies for brain tumors. Dr. Komotar is also an Emmy ® nominated physician for his work on the series “Breakthrough Medicine.”
He earned a Bachelor of Science in neuroscience from Duke University, spending a year at Oxford University in England to focus on neuropharmacology. Dr. Komotar received his medical degree from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He completed his internship and neurosurgical residency at The Neurological Institute of New York, part of the Columbia University Irving Medical Center, followed by a surgical neuro-oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to specialize in brain tumors.
About The Glioblastoma Research Organization
The Glioblastoma Research Organization is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization raising awareness and funds for cutting-edge research to find a cure for glioblastoma, a rare malignant, fast-growing tumor affecting the brain or spine. The organization was established in 2018 and, to date, has provided support to doctors and researchers through three fully funded projects, donating over $130K in the last two years. For additional information about the organization, funding and partners, please visit www.gbmresearch.org/