Current Research in Neurosurgery: Dima Suki, Ph.D.

Epidemiology, health care outcome assessment, clinical research administration, brain metastasis and data management

Central nervous system (CNS) tumors continue to be a major cause of mortality and morbidity in patients with cancer. The outcomes of these patients remain generally poor, owing to the lack of specific patient management guidelines with ties to key prognostic patient and tumor characteristics.

My efforts have focused on the development of research protocols and investigations that attempt to address various determinants of outcomes, with specific emphasis on important surgical aspects. We have shown, for example, that the surgical methodology used in the resection of brain metastases impacts the incidence of leptomeningeal disease spread and the rate of local recurrence in patients with such metastases. The recent series of papers on the topic has sparked major interest in the neurosurgical world. In addition to my work in the area of CNS tumors, I am pursuing exciting research in clinical research administration such as assessing the factors that influence the workload of clinical research staff on active protocols.

I oversee the research and data management efforts of the Brain and Spine Center. Our database currently houses data on almost 20,000 patients with CNS diseases and is governed by an IRB-approved protocol and strict standard operating procedures. 

The database has been highly instrumental to the success of clinical and research efforts within the Brain and Spine Center. With components encompassing various medical disciplines including surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology, pathology, and radiology, it has been the primary source of data for a large number of departmental and extra-departmental peer-reviewed publications and presentations on the topics of epidemiology, tumor characterization, treatments, and treatment outcomes, to list a few. 

Identification of additional modern, efficient, and effective approaches for handling the evolving data management needs of a sizable multi-specialty treatment center, as well as the institution as a whole, while continuously adhering to applicable rules and regulations is one of my strong interests.