Spine and Peripheral Nerve Surgery Team

Clinicians

Stanford Health Care

Atman Desai, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor, Neurosurgery

Practices at: Stanford University Medical Center

Dr. Atman Desai received his BA and medical degree from the University of Cambridge. He completed his neurosurgical residency at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, before completing a fellowship in spinal oncology and complex reconstructive surgery of the spine at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Desai specializes in the management of spinal degenerative disorders, spinal tumors, trauma to the spinal cord and vertebral column, complex reconstruction and restoration of the spine, and minimally invasive spine surgery. His current research focuses on processes that lead to superior outcomes in neurosurgery, disparities in neurosurgical care, development of predictive models of neurosurgical outcomes, and cost effectiveness and comparative effectiveness studies of neurosurgical disorders.


Kara Flavin, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor, Neurology & Neurological Sciences and Orthopaedic Surgery

Practices at: Stanford University Medical Center

Dr. Kara Flavin completed her residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Stanford University and a fellowship in spinal cord injury medicine at the joint Stanford/Palo Alto VA program. Dr. Flavin specializes in post spinal cord injury care, including management of neurogenic bowel and bladder, spasticity, therapy prescription, and equipment needs. She also performs botulinum toxin injections for spasticity.


Michel Kliot, MD
Clinical Professor, Neurosurgery

Practices at: Stanford University Medical Center

Dr. Michel Kliot grew up in New York City where he attended the oldest school in the Country, Collegiate, from 2nd grade to high school.  He then attended Harvard, receiving both a BA and MA, and Medical School at Yale.  He also did graduate work in Neurobiology at Stanford.  He then did a General Surgery Internship at Columbia College of Physicians & Surgeons followed by a Neurosurgical Residency at the Neurological Institute of New York.  He went on to do a one year traveling Peripheral Nerve Fellowship  at the University of Toronto in Canada and at Louisiana State University in New Orleans.  He joined the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Washington in Seattle where between 1991 and 2011 he rose through the academic ranks eventually becoming a Professor and Director of the Peripheral Nerve Center, as well as Acting Head of the Section of Neurosurgery at the Puget Sound VA Health Care System.  In 2012 he moved to UCSF where he headed up their peripheral nerve effort and established their Center for Evaluation and Surgical Management of Peripheral Nerve Disorders.  In the summer of 2014 he joined the Department of Neurosurgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine as Professor and Director of the Peripheral Nerve Center and also served as interim Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery.  Recently he moved back to the West Coast where he joined the Department of Neurosurgery at Stanford where he is helping to establish a Peripheral Nerve Center.  He has interests in the following areas:  pushing the frontiers of peripheral nerve surgery by pioneering new imaging and surgical techniques; teaching residents and medical students; collaborating with clinical and research colleagues; and translational research where ideas are taken from the laboratory bench into the clinical arena.  He is dedicated to finding ways to improve the care of patients as well as their overall healthcare experience.


Josh Levin, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor, Neurosurgery and Orthopedic Surgery
Director, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Interventional Spine Fellowship

Practices at: Stanford University Medical Center

Dr. Josh Levin completed a residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Michigan and a pain medicine fellowship at the Virginia Commonwealth University.  Dr. Levin specializes in the non-surgical management of a wide range of spinal disorders  He performs spinal injections and nerve tests (EMG’s.)


Jon Park, MD, FRCSC
Associate Professor, Neurosurgery Director, Comprehensive Spine Neurosurgery Director, Spine Neurosurgery Fellowship/Spine Research Laboratory

Practices at: Stanford University Medical Center

Dr. Park has extensive clinical practice at Stanford in outpatient minimally invasive spine surgery involving spine disc disease, degenerative spinal disorders and compression fractures. He also has special clinical interest in reconstruction of complex spine traumas and treatment of spinal tumors using Cyberknife Radiosurgery.

Dr. Park's research interest includes non-fusion dynamic spinal stabilization, artificial disc technologies, and regenerative spinal technologies.

Dr. Park completed his neurosurgical residency from the world renowned Montreal Neurological Institute. After completing a spine fellowship at UCLA, he was an Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Washington prior to joining Stanford.


John Ratliff, MD, FACS
Professor, Neurosurgery Co-Director, Division of Spine and Peripheral Nerve Surgery Vice Chair, Operations and Development

Practices at: Stanford University Medical Center

Dr. Ratliff received his medical degree from Tulane University. He is fellowship trained in complex spinal reconstructive surgery and completed a research fellowship in neural regeneration and peripheral nerve repair at the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Ratliff treats degenerative diseases of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine as well as primary and metastatic spinal tumors, spinal infections and chronic pain disorders. He is experienced in minimally invasive spine surgery, revision surgeries and spinal reconstruction, including the use of instrumentation and implants, and artificial disc replacements. Dr. Ratliff is well versed in the evaluation and treatment of nerve compression syndromes and peripheral nerve trauma. His current research focuses on preventing complications in spine surgery, assessing patient outcomes, and developing population-based metrics for assessing surgical outcomes


Lawrence M. Shuer, MD
Professor, Neurosurgery
Clinic Chief and Vice Chair of Quality, Neurosurgery

Practices at: Stanford University Medical Center

Dr. Shuer received his BA and MD from the University of Michigan. He completed his residency in neurosurgery at Stanford University before joining the faculty.

He is a past president of the California Association of Neurological Surgeons. His research interests include syringomyelia, pediatric disorders, and degenerative spine disease.


Anand Veeravagu
Assistant Professor, Neurosurgery

Practices at: Stanford University Medical Center

Dr. Anand Veeravagu is Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery and Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, by courtesy, and Director of Minimally Invasive NeuroSpine Surgery here at Stanford. Dr. Veeravagu is focused on advancing minimally invasive surgical techniques for diseases of the spine and cares for patients with a wide range of spinal disorders including motion preservation (artificial disk replacement), spinal tumor, scoliosis, and robotic spinal surgery.

Dr. Veeravagu’s research efforts are focused on the utilization of large national databases to assess cost, quality, and effectiveness of various treatment algorithms as well as predictive analytics. Dr. Veeravagu is also an author and former Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense and writes about current events, health policy, and public health-related topics for the San Francisco Chronicle, The Daily Beast, The BBC, and the Huffington Post.

 

Veteran’s Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System

Graham Creasey, MD
Paralyzed Veterans of America Professor of Spinal Cord Injury Medicine

Practices at: Veteran’s Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System

Dr. Creasey received his medical degree from the University of Edinburgh in Britain and qualified in surgery through the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh with training in war injuries in Zimbabwe. Since then he has sub-specialized in spinal cord injuries with a particular interest in restoration of function after paralysis using biomedical engineering and biotechnology.

Dr. Creasey’s research interests focus on neural prostheses for restoring bladder, bowel and sexual function after spinal cord injury, in addition to other applications of connecting electronic systems to nervous systems. As clinical director of the Stanford Partnership for Spinal Cord Injury and Repair he is also developing the infrastructure and resources for multi-center clinical trials of neuroprotection and implantation of stem cells after spinal cord injury.


Stephen Skirboll, MD
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery at the Stanford University Medical Center

Practices at: Veteran’s Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System and Stanford University Medical Center

Dr. Skirboll's research focuses on screening strategies to identify and characterize cancer stem cells (CSCs) in human gliomas. His lab is pursuing this in several ways: 1) a novel colony-forming antibody live cell array to identify distinct CSC surface phenotypes, 2) RNAi screens to identify kinases critical for CSC tumorigenicity, 3) high throughput small molecule and chemical screens to identify compounds that selectively kill or target CSCs, and 4) identifying CSCs using the tumor specific EGFRvIII


Suzanne Tharin, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery

Practices at: Veteran’s Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System and Stanford University Medical Center

Suzanne Tharin, MD PhD joined the faculty at Stanford University in 2012 as an Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery. Following her undergraduate degree in Physiology and a Master’s degree in Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Toronto, Dr. Tharin completed a PhD in Genetics at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and SUNY Stony Brook. She received her MD from Columbia University and then completed her neurosurgery residency at the Brigham and Women's Hospital/Children’s Hospital Boston/Harvard Medical School program. She subsequently completed a clinical fellowship in complex spine surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. Her research program encompasses the molecular controls over cortical neuronal development, spinal cord injury, and regenerative strategies for spinal cord repair, including stem cell-based strategies. As a practicing neurosurgeon at Stanford University Hospital and the Palo Alto VA, Dr. Tharin is dedicated to translating an understanding of neural development into regenerative strategies for the treatment of spinal cord injury.


Santa Clara Valley Medical Center

Marco Lee, MD, PhD, FRCS
Clinical Assistant Professor, Neurosurgery
Chief of Neurosurgery, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center

Practices at: Santa Clara Valley Medical Center

Dr Lee completed his neurosurgery residency in Oxford and Edinburgh. He underwent subspecialty fellowship training in skull base/cerebrovascular surgery and also radiosurgery at Stanford.

Dr Lee’s spine practice encompasses the surgical treatment of degenerative, traumatic, oncological and vascular conditions of the spine. He has research interest in stem cell treatment of spinal cord injury and participated in the first human stem cell trial in acute spinal cord injury. His other clinical focus includes spine navigation, minimally invasive surgery and radiosurgery of the spine.


Jason Lifshutz, MD
Clinical Associate Professor, Neurosurgery

Practices at: Santa Clara Valley Medical Center

Medical training:  University of Miami
Residency: Loma Linda
Research: 2 year SCI research at UCI
Fellowship: 2 year spine fellowship, Medical College of Wisconsin


Harman Singh, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor, Neurosurgery

Practices at: Santa Clara Valley Medical Center

After graduating Summa Cum Laude with Honors from the University of Arizona, Dr. Singh went on to finish his medical schooling at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts. This was followed by a General Surgery Internship and Neurosurgical Residency at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. During residency, Dr. Singh received extensive training in all aspects of spinal surgery: traumatic, degenerative and oncologic. He trained with international experts on spinal surgery, including Dr. Alex Vaccaro, James Harrop, Todd Albert, Alan Hillenbrand, among others.

Dr. Singh is passionate about resident education, having organized numerous cadaveric workshops and symposiums for residents over the last several years. His clinical and research interests include minimally invasive spinal surgery, spinal oncology and spinal cord injury.


Basic Research Scientists

Giles W. Plant, PhD
Associate Professor, Neurosurgery
Research Director, Stanford Partnership for Spinal Cord Injury and Repair

Dr. Plant is the director of basic science for the Stanford Partnership for Spinal Cord Injury and Repair, which brings together researchers and clinicians to collaborate on translational research aimed at spinal cord regeneration and repair and improving the quality of life of people paralyzed by spinal cord injury through rehabilitation and restoration of function. As research director, he co-leads the partnership, which includes spinal cord injury units at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System and the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.

Dr. Plant’s current research interests are spinal cord injury, human mesenchymal and induced pluripotent stem cell transplantation, olfactory ensheathing glia, Schwann cell biology and transplantation, peripheral nerve and optic nerve injury.


Nurse Practitioners

Vania Bernatsky, MSN, RN, ACNP-BC, AANN

Vania received her Master of Science in Nursing with a minor in Education from the University of California, San Francisco in 2001. She is certified as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, as well as certified in nursing through the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses. She is a member of American Association of Nurse Practitioners, California Assocaition of Nurse Practitioners, and Sigma Theta Tau. She has spent her career caring for patients both in acute care inpatient, as well as outpatient settings. Her interests include complex spine reconstruction and neuro-oncology diseases.

Candice Osuga Lin, MSN, APRN, BC, ACNP

Candice earned her undegraduate degree in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Davis. She received her Master of Science in Nursing from Vanderbilt University. She is certified as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, and is a member of the American Association of Neurosciences Nursing, American Association of Nurse Practitioners, California Assocaition of Nurse Practitioners and Sigma Theta Tau.

She has been active in the care of adult neurosurgery patients. Her interests include neuro-oncology and degenerative spine disease.

Elizabeth Lee, RN, NP, MSN

Elizabeth Lee joined the neurosurgery department in 1996 working as an inpatient and outpatient nurse practitioner. She obtained her bachelors degree in nursing in 1993, and her master's degree in geriatric and family nurse practitioner degree in 1996 from University of California Los Angeles. She has worked in all fields of neurosurgery including spine, neuro-oncology, cerebrovascular, and functional neurosurgery.

Seu Na Park, MSN, FNP-BC

Seu Na received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from California State University Long Beach and Master of Science in Nursing degree from California States University Los Angeles. She is board certified as Family Nurse Practitioner through American Nurses Credentialing Center, and is member of California Association of Nurse Practitioners, Sigma Theta Tau, Golden Key International Honor Society, and University Honor Society Phi Kappa Phi. She has been active in the community volunteering in multiple non-profit organizations locally and internationally. Her interests include surgical management of spinal degenerative disorders, and neuro-oncology.

Evan Rossi FNP-C

Evan Rossi earned her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from the University of Kansas and worked as an emergency department nurse at multiple Academic, Level 1 Trauma Centers. She then pursued a Masters of Science from the University of California San Francisco with a minor in Global Health. After completing her masters she went on to complete a Global Health Nurse Practitioner Fellowship through UCSF where she spent part of her time working in government hospitals in Haiti and part time teaching in the UCSF School of Nursing. Evan is board certified through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Her interests include caring for patients in resource poor settings, emergency care and neurosurgery.

Erin Wipff MSN, ANP-BC

Erin Wipff earned her Bachelors of Arts in Biology from University of California, Santa Cruz and Bachelors of Nursing from Johns Hopkins University. She received her Masters of Science in Nursing in Adult Primary Care with a minor in HIV from the University of California, San Francisco. She is board certified through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, a member of the California Association of Nurse Practitioners, and Sigma Theta Tau. She has cared for patients in both the inpatient and outpatient settings with focuses in research, oncology, endocrinology, and surgery.