Renowned surgeon, scientist and educator Griffith R. Harsh IV has been selected as chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery and the Julian R. Youmans Chair in Neurological Surgery at UC Davis Health. He begins his new position July 1.
Currently, Harsh is vice chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at Stanford University, where he also is director of the Stanford Brain Tumor Center, chief of Surgical Neuro-oncology, co-director of the Stanford Pituitary Center, associate dean of Postgraduate Medical Education and director of the Neurosurgery Resident Training Program.
"Dr. Harsh is recognized nationally and internationally as a leading surgeon and scholar,” said Lars Berglund, interim dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine. “He brings tremendous strengths in neurosurgery and a longstanding devotion to physician education to UC Davis. I am certain he will lead our neurological surgery team to the next stages of their strategic vision for improving patient care and ensuring excellence in the next generation of brain and spine surgeons."
At UC Davis, Harsh will lead a multidisciplinary team of more than 20 surgeons, scientists and residents who diagnose and treat adults and children with conditions such as epilepsy, cancer, traumatic brain injury, cerebrovascular disease and movement disorders. The department’s research program has tested advances in neuroimaging and treatments that improve outcomes and quality of life for patients with brain aneurysms, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury, seizures and degenerative disc disease.
— Ann Madden Rice, chief executive officer, UC Davis Medical Center
Harsh’s clinical practice and research focus on innovative treatments of tumors of the brain, pituitary gland and skull base. His work has demonstrated the efficacy of stereotactic radiosurgery for acoustic neuromas and endoscopic endonasal removal of pituitary and other skull base tumors.
Supported by multiple research grants from the National Institutes of Health, Harsh's basic science research has investigated the molecular biology of brain tumors. His laboratory has identified molecular mechanisms that promote tumor growth and strategies for disrupting them. He discovered a gene deletion and a therapeutic target for glioblastoma, the most common and malignant type of brain tumor. He also has tested the use of a fluorescent antibody that helps distinguish cancerous from normal brain tissue in patients with glioblastoma, so as to increase the safety and precision of surgical treatment.
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"UC Davis’ neurological surgery faculty has an outstanding track record treating the breadth of challenging brain conditions," Harsh said, "and the department collaborates closely with the university’s NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center, level I trauma center, Center for Neuroscience and Stroke Program to ensure patients have access to advanced, multidisciplinary, patient-focused care. I look forward to leading this remarkable, resourceful and dedicated team."
Harsh earned an A.B. degree summa cum laude in biology at Harvard College. He received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School after earning an M.A. in physiology as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University. After completing a neurosurgery residency at the University of California, San Francisco, and working on the faculty there, he returned to Harvard Medical School as associate professor of surgery and executive director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Brain Tumor Center. He also earned a master's degree in business administration before moving to Stanford in 1998.
Harsh has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, edited four scientific and clinical books, and served as editor and reviewer of numerous journals. He has received many awards and honors for excellence in clinical practice, research, teaching and mentoring, and he served as president of the American Academy of Neurological Surgery, president of the Neurosurgical Society of America, vice chair of the Residency Review Committee of Neurological Surgery, and chair of the Executive Council of the Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation.
“We expect Dr. Harsh’s clinical talents and expert leadership will further strengthen our commitment to expanding treatment options for complex brain diseases,” said Ann Madden Rice, chief executive officer of UC Davis Medical Center. “He shares our value for putting patients first, and we are honored to welcome him to UC Davis.”
More information about UC Davis Health is online at health.ucdavis.edu.