• Innovation Through The CNS Scholarship in Data Science

    • Nov 12, 2021

    Last May (2020) Dr. Matthew Pease of the University of Pittsburgh was announced as the inaugural 2020-2021 CNS Data Science Scholar. The $20,000 award is funded jointly by Viz.ai and a grant the CNS Foundation.

    We caught up with Dr. Pease in advance of his presentation at this year’s CNS Annual Meeting in October.

    “It was a phenomenal opportunity to receive this grant. It really cemented my interest in machine learning and data science for my career. There are not a whole lot of people doing this type of research in neurosurgery, so I hope to expand this in our field.”

    Dr. Pease’s goal was to investigate how data science may be applied in neuro-oncology to determine treatment options for brain tumors.

    “Brain metastasis, primary central nervous system lymphoma, and glioblastoma are three types of brain tumors that look similar and on imaging and have different management strategies,” Dr. Pease explained. “Radiomics is a technique to identify features in MRI scans that can be correlated with pathological subtypes. My goal is to predict the pathology of glioblastoma, metastatic brain tumors, and primary central nervous system lymphoma with a high enough degree of accuracy to avoid needing an intracranial biopsy to confirm pathology, thus avoiding costly interventions,” said Dr. Pease.

    Using a high-performance computer purchased with his grant money, Dr. Pease was able to discriminate between the various type of tumors he analyzed. While Dr. Pease acknowledges the ambitious complexity involved, he is confident his study will make a significant impact. “We have managed to achieve great performance in the modelling structure,” he said.

    Dr. Pease worked in Dr. Rivka Colen’s laboratory at UPMC. From the CNS, he was mentored by Lola Chambless and Eric Oermann. Dr. Oermann, who is Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery and Radiology and Affiliate Assistant Professor of New York University Center for Data Science, gave much credit to Dr. Pease and his work.

    “I am thrilled to have served as Dr. Matthew Pease’ mentor throughout the inaugural year of the CNS Data Science Scholar Award. Matthew Pease is a pioneer 21st neurosurgeon-scientist. He has a burgeoning knowledge of computer science and artificial intelligence - which after this fellowship he will be able to elevate the research of his fellow faculty members and any fortunate department, in addition to pursuing his own scholarly interests,” said Dr. Eric Oermann, Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery and Radiology and Affiliate Assistant Professor NYU Center for Data Science, NYU Langone Medical Center.

    Dr. Matthew Pease presented five abstracts based on his research at the CNS Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas.

    The award had its inception years ago.

    During CNS President Ashwini Sharan’s leadership (2017), he asked Lola Chambless, Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery and Residency Program Director of Neurosurgery at Vanderbilt University, to create an ad hoc committee on this burgeoning field. Three years later, the Data Science Committee is now a fixture of work done by the CNS.

    “I’m thrilled but not surprised that data science is transitioning as a new standard in neurosurgery. There is so much to be gained from data modeling to help our patients before they ever enter the surgical theater,” said Dr. Sharan.

    “Data science is surprisingly accessible,” said Dr. Chambless. “This award’s support for mentors and funding for data and technology makes it possible for us to increase equity to scholars throughout neurosurgery.”

    “It’s incredible to see support of this award grow,” said Dr. Mohamad Bydon, Chair of the CNS Data Science Committee. “The Data Science Award is a critical part of ensuring that neurosurgery remains of an important contributor to the emerging field. Viz.ai and the CNS Foundation have made it possible to develop this cadre of experts with a valuable new skill set.”

    The CNS Scholarship in Data Science was established as one of the CNS Foundation’s first Innovative Seed Grants. Do you have an innovative idea for the CNS Foundation Board to consider? Send inquiries to be considered for a twelve-month Innovative Seed Grant to foundation@cns.org.

    The 2021-2022 CNS Data Science Scholar Daniel Sexton will present at the CNS Annual Meeting in San Francisco, October 8-12, 2022.

    Applications for the 2022-2023 CNS Data Science Scholar open in early 2022.

    Inaugural CNS Data Science Scholar, Matthew Pease, MD

    The CNS Data Science Scholar Award is supported by gifts from Viz.Ai and from the CNS Foundation.

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