Dr. Nelson Moussazadeh of the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center has been awarded a one-year fellowship from the Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation (NREF) for a project entitled "Genomic Characterization of Spinal Metastases and Paired Primary Tumors to Identify Patterns of Spinal Tropism and Clonal Evolution." Dr. Moussazadeh, currently completing his fourth year of neurosurgical residency at Weill Cornell, will conduct his research in the laboratory of Dr. Cameron Brennan, a neurosurgeon and expert in genomic analysis of brain tumors at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, with the additional mentorship of spinal neurosurgeons Drs. Ilya Laufer and Mark Bilsky.
In his research, Dr. Moussazadeh will use cutting-edge genomic sequencing techniques and statistical tools to understand the genetic changes that happen as tumors metastasize or spread to different sites in the body, such as the spine, where they can be difficult to treat and wreak havoc on patients. The ultimate goals are to identify which cancer patients are at risk for metastasis so that they have the most vigilant follow-up with their doctors, and to pinpoint and treat the mechanisms involved to prevent cancer metastasis to the spine and other tissues.