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Dr. Sertac Kirnaz Wins Charlie Kuntz Scholar Award

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Dr. Sertac Kirnaz presenting his winning paper

Dr. Sertac Kirnaz, a fellow on Dr. Roger Härtl’s spine team, has been awarded a 2019 Charlie Kuntz Scholar Award for his abstract, “Retrospective Review of Immediate Restoration of Lordosis in Single-level Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (MI-TLIF): A combination of Static and Expandable Interbody Cages.” The Kuntz Award, given by the Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves (DSPN) of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS), is awarded every year to neurosurgical residents or fellows who author outstanding abstracts detailing a laboratory or clinical investigation in the area of spinal disorders.

The article is an examination and comparison of the lordosis generated by static and expandable cages in order to determine pros and cons of expandable cages in minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion and investigate the factors affect segmental lordosis and foraminal decompression.

Dr. Roger Härtl and Dr. Sertac Kirnaz.Dr. Roger Härtl and Dr. Sertac Kirnaz.

Dr. Kirnaz has collaborated with Dr. Härtl in other works titled “In vivo annular repair using high-density collagen gel seeded with annulus fibrosus cells” and “Mesenchymal Stem Cell-Seeded High-Density Collagen Gel for Annular Repair: 6-Week Results From In Vivo Sheep Models.” He works on translational spine research studies including annular repair in the ovine lumbar spine, using a photo cross-linked high density collagen gel and total disc replacement by tissue-engineered intervertebral discs in a translational porcine animal model. His work has also contributed to the development of innovative surgical techniques to treat complex spine pathologies and investigating the clinical outcomes of 3D-navigated minimally invasive spinal surgeries.

The award was presented to Dr. Kirnaz at the 2019 DSPN Spine Summit in Miami, Florida, on Friday, March 15.

The Charlie Kuntz Scholar Award was founded in 2016 in memory of neurosurgeon Charles Kuntz IV (1964-2015). Previous winners of the Charlie Kuntz Award include neurosurgery residents Dr. Ibrahim Hussain, Dr. Nelson Moussazadeh, and Dr. Brenton Pennicooke of Weill Cornell Medicine.