Neurosurgery Clinical Instructors

Kumar Abhinav, BSc. (Hons.), MBBS, FRCS (Neurosurgery)
Skull Base Neurosurgery

Dr Abhinav obtained his medical degree from the Guy's, King's and St Thomas' School of Medicine, King's College London, University of London.  During his medical training he also obtained an additional Bachelor of Science degree in Radiological Sciences. He undertook his neurosurgical training in Bristol and Plymouth and completed it in July 2017.  He was awarded the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in Neurosurgery in 2016.

He also undertook an enfolded two year research fellowship towards the award of doctor of medicine as a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Neurosurgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre. This period under the mentorship of Drs. Juan C Fernandez-Miranda and Robert Friedlander was funded by the prestigious Ellison-Cliffe Travelling fellowship award from the Royal Society of Medicine, London and the University of Pittsburgh Brain Institute. During this placement in the surgical neuroanatomy and imaging laboratory, he built up expertise in detailed neurosurgical anatomy particularly those pertaining to the complex skull base regions. This work led to descriptions of surgically relevant endoscopic skull base anatomy. He also extensively investigated the use of advanced white matter imaging techniques in examining the structural connections in the normal brain and in pathological condition.

His research work has led to multiple peer reviewed publications and presentations at scientific meetings. He has also contributed book chapters on skull base anatomy and recently co-edited the Neurosurgery section of the Gray's Applied Surgical Anatomy (Elsevier) textbook, a major international project.

Over the last academic year, Dr Abhinav completed clinical cerebrovascular fellowship as a clinical instructor under the mentorship of Dr Gary K Steinberg and in particular, gained significant operative exposure to cerebral revascularization procedures.  He also undertook multiple clinical and basic science projects including a current ongoing effort directed at the evaluation of CSF biomarkers in Moyamoya disease. During this period, he was also instrumental in the setting up and launching of the Stanford Neuroanatomy Laboratory aimed at the education of residents and fellows and development of a dissection curriculum.

During the current academic year, he will be working under the mentorship of Dr Juan C Fernandez-Miranda to obtain surgical exposure to the advanced endoscopic skull base approaches and techniques and open surgical approaches to the posterolateral skull base. He will also be directing his effort into further development of the skull base laboratory to incorporate endoscopic work. Upon completion of his subspecialist fellowships he intends to pursue a clinical academic career in cerebrovascular and skull base neurosurgery.

Mark G. Bigder, BA, HBK, MD, MPH
Cerebrovascular Surgery

Dr Bigder was born and raised in Thunder Bay, Canada where he completed Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Honours Bachelor of Kinesiology degrees through Lakehead University. He subsequently completed medical school and neurosurgical residency in Winnipeg at the University of Manitoba. During his residency, Dr Bigder completed a Master of Public Health degree in epidemiology at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. He has published research articles on Gamma Knife radiosurgery, microvascular decompression and various public health topics, and has presented his work at international conferences including the International Stereotactic Radiosurgery Society Congress, Congress of Neurological Surgeons and European Public Health Conference among others.

Dr Bigder has been involved in several leadership roles including serving as the Canadian Neurosurgical Society National Resident Representative, member of the Canadian Neurological Sciences Federation Scientific Planning Committee and member of the Canadian Neurosurgical Research Collaborative.

Dr Bigder, along with his wife Sara, together enjoy running, hiking and spending time in the outdoors with their daughter and two dogs. His love for travel and adventure has taken him on journeys to a number of destinations worldwide including the summits of Mt Batur, Cotopaxi, Kilimanjaro and Kala Patthar.

Kevin Chen, MD
Stereotactic/Functional Neurosurgery

Kevin Chen completed his undergraduate degree at Johns Hopkins University and his medical degree at Duke University. He completed his residency training in Neurological Surgery at the University of Michigan.

As the current Stereotactic/Functional Neurosurgery fellow at Stanford University, Kevin is developing his clinical interests in surgical interventions for movement disorders, epilepsy, and chronic pain. His research interests are focused on neural stem cells and their ability to provide neuromodulation and/or neuroprotection in a variety of neurological disorders.

Kevin enjoys spending time with his wife Stephanie, and they enjoy hiking, swimming, and rock climbing.

Ephraim Church, MD
Cerebrovascular Surgery

Dr. Church grew up in Bellmawr, NJ, where he was homeschooled. He graduated summa cum laude from Northwestern University with degrees in psychology and music composition. He completed his medical doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania where he was a Twenty-first Century Scholar.

Dr. Church completed his neurological surgery residency at Penn State where he also completed his neuroendovascular fellowship in 2016. He was neurosurgery registrar at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth, Australia 2016-17 and chief resident at Penn State 2017-18.

His clinical and research interests include cerebrovascular and endovascular neurosurgery, evidence based medicine, and medical ethics. He has numerous publications and awards including Phi Beta Kappa 2003 and Alpha Omega Alpha 2013.

He and his wife Emily have three boys.

Linden Fornoff, MD
Pediatric Neurosurgery

Dr. Fornoff recently completed her neurological surgery residency at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. Prior to this, she attended the University of Missouri in Columbia and obtained her BS in Biological Science and BA in Classical Humanities. This was then followed by her MD at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Currently, she is a pediatric neurosurgery fellow at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and Clinical Instructor of Neurosurgery in the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery. 

Antonio Meola, MD, PhD
Stereotactic Radiosurgery/CyberKnife

Antonio Meola M.D. Ph.D graduated Summa cum Laude and Research Honors at the University of Pisa, Italy, in 2008, and completed his residency training in Neurosurgery at the same Institution in July 2015. Dr Meola attended a Ph.D program at the University of Florence, Italy, where he discussed a doctoral thesis entitled "A New Head-Mounted Display-based Augmented Reality System in Neurosurgical Oncology: a study on phantom". 

Since 2/2014 to 1/2015 Dr Meola completed a Research Fellowship in Neurosurgical anatomy at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), under the Direction of Dr. Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda. The main focus of his research was the surgical neuroanatomy of the white matter tracts of the  human brain.

Since 7/2015 to 6/2016 Dr Meola served as Clinical Fellow in Image-Guided Neurosurgery at the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, in Boston, MA (Director: Dr. Alexandra J. Golby M.D.). During the fellowship, he focused on the clinical application and integration of advanced imaging techniques, including intraoperative-MRI, intraoperative US, functional MRI, tractography.

7/2016 to 6/2017 Dr Meola completed a Neurosurgical Oncology Fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, OH, devoting his efforts to minimally-invasive neurosurgical techniques, such as Laser interstitial Thermal Therapy (LITT) and stereotactic radiosurgery (Gamma Knife), as well as to awake neurosurgery.

Priv.-Doz. Dr. Martin N. Stienen (MD, FMH, FEBNS)

Dr. Stienen obtained his medical degree at the Ruhr-University Bochum (Germany), where he also earned his doctoral degree (MD) with highest honors (Summa Cum Laude) for experimental studies dealing with the conductivity of potassium channels of glial cells. He undertook his neurosurgical training at the Cantonal Hospital St.Gallen, and at the University Hospitals of Geneva and Zürich (Switzerland). Dr. Stienen has obtained the Swiss board certification for Neurosurgery (FMH) in 01/2018, and was nominated “Fellow of the European Board of Neurological Surgeons” (FEBNS) in 03/2018. He has been appointed consultant neurosurgeon at the University Hospital Zürich in 01/2018 and has achieved the rank of a private docent (venia legendi) at the University of Zürich with a habilitation thesis on “The Assessment of Complications and Outcomes in Modern Neurosurgical Patient Care”.

Dr. Stienen’s primary interest is caring for patients, and he is constantly motivated to bring out the best by seeing them recover well and getting back to their daily lives. Besides the clinical work, he has long-standing interest in research, focusing mainly on the three topics 1) Subjective and objective outcome assessment of patients with diseases of the spine, 2) Multi-dimensional assessment of patients after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage and 3) Training and education in Neurosurgery. Dr. Stienen has conducted studies and led research groups. He has published extensively in those fields, and is frequently invited as reviewer for international highly ranked academic journals.

As Clinical Instructor at Stanford, Dr. Stienen is currently concentrating on the treatment of complex diseases of the spine (Complex Spine Fellowship). After this, he will travel to South Korea for an additional spine fellowship, having been awarded with a travel grant from the Swiss Society of Neurosurgery. He will then continue to pursue a clinical academic career in neurosurgery as attending neurosurgeon at the University Hospital Zürich.