Clinical Positions: Neurosurgeon HCMC and MN VAMC
Other professional positions: Associate Professor of Neurosurgery at University of Minnesota, Rockswold Kaplan Endowed Chair for TBI Research at HCMC
Organizational memberships: American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Congress of Neurological Surgeons Executive Committee for Trauma and Critical Care, American College of Surgeons, Executive Board of Women in Neurosurgery
Undergraduate: University of Wisconsin
Medical School: University of Illinois
Graduate School: University of Illinois
Residency: Hospital University of Pennsylvania
Fellowship: Klinikum Goettingen
Board Certified: American Board of Neurological Surgeons (ABNS)
Certifications & Licensure: MN State Medical License, NY State Medical License, PA State Medical License
Her Awards, Honors, & Recognition include Fellow American Association of Neurological Surgeons (FAANS) and Fellow American College of Surgeons (FACS)
Philosophy of practice: "I believe in providing the highest quality healthcare regardless of the patient's ability to pay."
Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) Shunt - Insertion, Repair or Removal
Craniectomy, Craniotomy, Surgery of Skull Base, Neuroendoscopy
Lamina Procedures (incl. Laminectomy, Laminoplasty, Laminotomy)
Neuroplasty, Neurostimulation, Spinal, Spinal Fusion
Uzma Samadani was born in Wimbledon, England and moved to Beaver Dam, Wisconsin at the age of two. She matriculated into the University Wisconsin-Madison's Medical Scholars Program after high school. While in Madison, she had her first exposure to research, developing a new model for cornea transplantation in mice in the laboratory of ophthalmologist John Chandler. For this work, she won the Academic Award for Excellence in science research, as one of the top two undergraduate researchers in the College of Letters and Sciences. She was also awarded a research grant from the Center for Biology Education for work performed in the research lab of transplant surgeon Hans Sollinger. After three years at the University of Wisconsin, Uzma graduated Phi Beta Kappa with majors in Molecular Biology and English Literature.
Uzma then joined the MD/PhD program at the University of Illinois where she worked with molecular biologist Robert Costa on elucidation of mechanisms of cell-type specific transcription. She characterized elements regulating transcription of the genes transthyretin (TTR) and hepatocyte nuclear factor (HNF) three beta. HNF-3 beta (now called FOXA2) was subsequently found to regulate sonic hedgehog. Using the yeast one-hybrid system, Uzma cloned and characterized a novel human transcription factor gene called HNF-6, which encodes a protein that regulates gene expression of both TTR and HNF-3 beta via DNA binding sites that selectively bind either HNF-3 beta, HNF-6, or both proteins. This work led to an understanding of cell type specific growth regulation that has ultimate implications for generation of specific cell types from embryonic or undifferentiated precursor stem cells. During the course of her graduate studies, Uzma published six peer-reviewed papers and won three awards for oral presentations. She was awarded two fellowships including the Charlotte Webster Barnes, Helen T. Barnes and Broda O. Barnes Research Fellowship for Molecular Medicine.
Upon completion of medical school, Uzma undertook internship and neurosurgery residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. In conjunction with epileptologist Peter Crino she has investigated the differences in gene expression between neurons and astrocytes microdissected from ganglioglioma and its adjacent cortex as a mechanism for understanding how these tumors cause epilepsy. She has also completed several clinical research projects on deep brain stimulation and stereotactic neurosurgery with functional neurosurgeon Gordon Baltuch and brain tumor surgeon Kevin Judy. With Sean Grady and Eric Zager she has investigated the consequences of intraoperative intracranial hypotension.
She used her Van Wagenen Fellowship for study in Goettingen, Germany with Dr. V. Rohde elucidating mechanisms by which cellular and molecular therapy can be utilized to rescue function after cerebral injury. She investigated techniques for manipulation of cellular function and fate following hematoma evacuation in an animal model. Over the long term, she was interested in developing methods for modulation of gene expression to drive cellular differentiation, which has implications for recovery from ischemic stroke, trauma and neurodegenerative diseases. Uzma's clinical interests ranged from stereotactic and functional neurosurgery to minimally invasive management of brain tumors and aneurysms. She expanded this training by exposure to minimally invasive and image guided techniques while in Germany.
Dr. Samadani worked as an attending neurosurgeon at NYHHCS from September 2007 to July 2015. She became Chief of Neurosurgery in 2010 as well as one of the most productive federally employed surgeons in the country. She is a specialist in cranial neurosurgery and has introduced several new technologies to the VA including neuromonitoring, neuronavigation, minimally invasive bedside techniques for drainage of subdural hemorrhage, motion-preserving artificial cervical disc surgery, minimally invasive spine approaches. Dr. Samadani has performed more artificial cervical disc procedures than any other surgeon in Manhattan. With these technologies, VA NYHHCS has become one of the busiest VA hospitals in the country for brain tumor surgery.
In 2010 Dr. Samadani received a grant to establish whether vagus nerve stimulation could improve clinical outcomes from severe traumatic brain injured patients. While searching for outcome measures to assess recovery in these patients, she developed an algorithm to use eye tracking while watching television. She hypothesized patients with severe brain injury would be less capable of following the action on the screen as compared to patients with mild brain injury. While testing the algorithm she serendipitously noted that people with lesions causing swelling in the brain had impaired eye movements. This topic and its relevance to concussion, subconcussion and military blast injury has been a focus of her research since 2012, and led to the submission of four patents. Today, her volunteer team has expanded to over twenty members allowing the research to encompass many more conditions.
Dr. Samadani has joined the Department of Neurosurgery at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), a nationally recognized Level I Adult and Pediatric Trauma Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota that specializes in the treatment of traumatic brain injuries. She is serving as the Rockswold Kaplan Chair for Traumatic Brain Injury Research, and has been appointed an Associate Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Minnesota.