Renowned neurosurgeon to join HCMC

Uzma Samadani, most well known for her research on improving concussion diagnosis techniques, will be taking on a position at the Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) in August. 

Samadani will replace Gaylan Rockswold as the Rockswold Kaplan Chair for Traumatic Brain Injury Research in the HCMC neurosurgery department, and will also become an associate professor of neurosurgery at the University of Minnesota. Rockswold, having worked at HCMC for 42 years, is retiring from clinical neurosurgery but will continue to do research at the hospital.

Samadani, who is currently the chief neurosurgeon at Manhattan Veterans Hospital and holds several assistant professorships at New York University, said she is grateful for the chance to take part in HCMC’s ongoing brain research.

“The HCMC has a fantastic legacy of doing research in brain injury, emergency medicine and trauma. With this endowed chair, they turned it into an opportunity that I think is really unsurpassed anywhere,” she said.

Samadani’s research into traumatic brain injury (TBI) diagnosis, which sparked mainstream attention in early 2015 and was the subject of her talk at the 2014 TEDMED conference, focuses on how small differences in movement between the left and right eye can be used to diagnose brain trauma. Her research suggests these irregular eye movements could even be used to determine which area of a patient’s brain has been injured.

This research was seen as a breakthrough in the field of neuroscience, as currently TBI is most commonly diagnosed with brain scans, which do not always detect brain damage. TBI is a major source of death and disability in the U.S., and caused more than 50,000 deaths in 2010, the Center for Disease Control has reported.

Samadani said she hopes to conduct clinical trials on diagnosis of TBI and to continue her research when she joins HCMC.

“There are so many people who suffer from brain injuries who don’t get the treatment or the care that they need, if I can contribute in some way to improving the level of care for people with brain injury I really look forward to doing that,” she said.