Research Summary

I am a neurosurgeon-scientist, and I have been running a neurosurgical practice caring for brain tumor patients and a basic science lab in the UCSF Brain Tumor Research Center (BTRC) since my initial faculty appointment at UCSF in 2008. Throughout that time, my lab has been well funded by the NIH and numerous private foundations, with the central focus of the lab being mechanisms of angiogenesis, invasion, and therapeutic resistance in brain tumors like glioblastoma, metastases, and pituitary tumors. My clinical practice has developed in parallel with my laboratory, with my glioblastoma and pituitary tumor surgical cases often providing valuable tissue for lab research as part of my clinical and translational research programs. The expertise from my scientific and clinical research has been supplemented by numerous successful collaborations with academic and industry investigators in the past eight years. As a neurosurgeon-scientist, I have mentored numerous medical and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and neurosurgery residents on scientific and clinical projects, as well as assisting them developing their careers integrating dual roles combining neurosurgical practices with scientific investigation. My position as a neurosurgeon and scientist specializing in the care of patients with aggressive brain tumors and the role of the tumor microenvironment in driving this aggressive biology and therapeutic resistance uniquely positions me to serve as PI for a variety of grants.

Research Funding

  • September 17, 2018 - August 31, 2023 - Modeling and druggable-genome screening of glioblastoma invasion using regional biopsy-guided biomaterials systems , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: R01CA227136
  • September 30, 2013 - June 30, 2022 - Tumor cell and microenvironment changes causing antiangiogenic therapy resistance , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: R01NS079697
  • July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2014 - Characterizing and Targeting Tumoral Factors Recruiting Perivascular Progenitors , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: K02NS064167


Stanford University (Stanford, CA), BS, 1993, Biological Sciences
Stanford University (Stanford, CA), MS, 1993, Biological Sciences
Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA), MD, 2000, Medicine
Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA), PhD, 2000, Neuroscience

Honors & Awards

  • 2004
    Preuss Award, best basic science brain tumor research, American Association of Neurologic Surgeons (AANS) meeting, "Generation of Brain Tumor Neovasculature from Transplanted Bone Marrow."
  • 2005
    Ronald L. Bittner Award, best brain tumor research, American Association of Neurologic Surgeons (AANS) meeting
  • 2005
    William Scoville Resident Research Award, New England Neurosurgery meeting, "Generation of Glioma Neovasculature from Transplanted Bone Marrow."
  • 2005
    Congress of Neurologic Surgeons (CNS) Resident Research Award, "Enhanced Replication of Oncolytic HSV in Glioma Cells that Evade Temozolomide Chemotherapy Through DNA Repair."
  • 2005
    American Academy of Neurologic Surgeons Resident Research Award, "Stromal Derived Factor-1 Interacts with Environmental Cues to Induce Bone Marrow-Derived Cells to Differentiate into Tumor Endothelium and Pericytes."
  • 2006
    Mahaley Award, best clinical study in neuro-oncology, presented at American Association of Neurologic Surgeons (AANS) meeting
  • 2006
    Integra Foundation Award, best benign brain and peripheral nerve tumor research, presented at Congress of Neurologic Surgeons (CNS) meeting
  • 2007
    Synthes Skull Base Award, Congress of Neurologic Surgeons (CNS) meeting
  • 2009
    American Brian Tumor Association (ABTA) Young Investigator Award, Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) meeting

Selected Publications

  1. Zhang Y, Lucas CG, Young JS, Morshed RA, McCoy L, Oberheim Bush NA, Taylor JW, Daras M, Butowski NA, Villanueva-Meyer JE, Cha S, Wrensch M, Wiencke JK, Lee JC, Pekmezci M, Phillips JJ, Perry A, Bollen AW, Aghi MK, Theodosopoulos P, Chang EF, Hervey-Jumper SL, Berger MS, Clarke JL, Chang SM, Molinaro AM, Solomon DA. Prospective genomically guided identification of "early/evolving" and "undersampled" IDH-wildtype glioblastoma leads to improved clinical outcomes. Neuro Oncol. 2022 Oct 03; 24(10):1749-1762.  View on PubMed
  2. Carrete LR, Aghi MK. Lateral orientation of Rathke cleft cysts may be associated with high rates of recurrence after surgery. Pituitary. 2022 Aug; 25(4):684-686.  View on PubMed
  3. Zheng AC, Wang EJ, Aghi MK. Recent advancements in the molecular biology of pituitary adenomas. Expert Rev Endocrinol Metab. 2022 Jul; 17(4):293-304.  View on PubMed
  4. Garcia JH, Morshed RA, Chung J, Millares Chavez MA, Sudhakar V, Saggi S, Avalos LN, Gallagher A, Young JS, Daras M, McDermott MW, Garcia PA, Chang EF, Aghi MK. Factors associated with preoperative and postoperative seizures in patients undergoing resection of brain metastases. J Neurosurg. 2022 Apr 29; 1-8.  View on PubMed
  5. Chalif EJ, Morshed RA, Young JS, Haddad AF, Jain S, Aghi MK. Pituitary adenoma in the elderly: surgical outcomes and treatment trends in the United States. J Neurosurg. 2022 Apr 29; 1-12.  View on PubMed
  6. Morshed RA, Chung JE, Cummins DD, Sudhakar V, Young JS, Daras M, Hervey-Jumper SL, Theodosopoulos PV, Aghi MK. Surgery for Control of Brain Metastases After Previous Checkpoint Inhibitor Immunotherapy. World Neurosurg. 2022 06; 162:e235-e245.  View on PubMed
  7. Haddad AF, Young JS, Gill S, Aghi MK. Resistance to immune checkpoint blockade: Mechanisms, counter-acting approaches, and future directions. Semin Cancer Biol. 2022 Nov; 86(Pt 3):532-541.  View on PubMed
  8. Morshed RA, Young JS, Casey M, Wang EJ, Aghi MK, Berger MS, Hervey-Jumper SL. Sarcopenia Diagnosed Using Masseter Muscle Diameter as a Survival Correlate in Elderly Patients with Glioblastoma. World Neurosurg. 2022 05; 161:e448-e463.  View on PubMed
  9. Haddad AF, Young JS, Oh JY, Okada H, Aghi MK. The immunology of low-grade gliomas. Neurosurg Focus. 2022 02; 52(2):E2.  View on PubMed
  10. Joshi RS, Pereira MP, Osorio RC, Oh T, Haddad AF, Pereira KM, Donohue KC, Peeran Z, Sudhir S, Jain S, Beniwal A, Chandra A, Han SJ, Rolston JD, Theodosopoulos PV, Kunwar S, Blevins LS, Aghi MK. Identifying risk factors for postoperative diabetes insipidus in more than 2500 patients undergoing transsphenoidal surgery: a single-institution experience. J Neurosurg. 2022 Jan 28; 1-11.  View on PubMed
  11. Safaee MM, Wang EJ, Jain S, Chen JS, Gill S, Zheng AC, Garcia JH, Beniwal AS, Tran Y, Nguyen AT, Trieu M, Leung K, Wells J, Maclean JM, Wycoff K, Aghi MK. CD97 is associated with mitogenic pathway activation, metabolic reprogramming, and immune microenvironment changes in glioblastoma. Sci Rep. 2022 01 27; 12(1):1464.  View on PubMed
  12. Chalif EJ, Couldwell WT, Aghi MK. Effect of facility volume on giant pituitary adenoma neurosurgical outcomes. J Neurosurg. 2022 Jan 14; 1-10.  View on PubMed
  13. Jain S, Chalif EJ, Aghi MK. Interactions Between Anti-Angiogenic Therapy and Immunotherapy in Glioblastoma. Front Oncol. 2021; 11:812916.  View on PubMed
  14. Aabedi AA, Young JS, Zhang Y, Ammanuel S, Morshed RA, Dalle Ore C, Brown D, Phillips JJ, Oberheim Bush NA, Taylor JW, Butowski N, Clarke J, Chang SM, Aghi M, Molinaro AM, Berger MS, Hervey-Jumper SL. Association of Neurological Impairment on the Relative Benefit of Maximal Extent of Resection in Chemoradiation-Treated Newly Diagnosed Isocitrate Dehydrogenase Wild-Type Glioblastoma. Neurosurgery. 2022 01 01; 90(1):124-130.  View on PubMed
  15. Wang EJ, Chen JS, Jain S, Morshed RA, Haddad AF, Gill S, Beniwal AS, Aghi MK. Immunotherapy Resistance in Glioblastoma. Front Genet. 2021; 12:750675.  View on PubMed
  16. Ng PR, Choi BD, Aghi MK, Nahed BV. Surgical advances in the management of brain metastases. Neurooncol Adv. 2021 Nov; 3(Suppl 5):v4-v15.  View on PubMed
  17. Babikir H, Wang L, Shamardani K, Catalan F, Sudhir S, Aghi MK, Raleigh DR, Phillips JJ, Diaz AA. ATRX regulates glial identity and the tumor microenvironment in IDH-mutant glioma. Genome Biol. 2021 11 11; 22(1):311.  View on PubMed
  18. Cummins DD, Morshed RA, Chavez MM, Avalos LN, Sudhakar V, Chung JE, Gallagher A, Saggi S, Daras M, Braunstein S, Theodosopoulos PV, McDermott MW, Aghi MK. Salvage Surgery for Local Control of Brain Metastases After Previous Stereotactic Radiosurgery: A Single-Center Series. World Neurosurg. 2022 02; 158:e323-e333.  View on PubMed
  19. Osorio RC, Pereira MP, Joshi RS, Donohue KC, Sneed P, Braunstein S, Theodosopoulos PV, El-Sayed IH, Gurrola J, Kunwar S, Blevins LS, Aghi MK. Socioeconomic predictors of case presentations and outcomes in 225 nonfunctional pituitary adenoma resections. J Neurosurg. 2021 Oct 01; 1-12.  View on PubMed
  20. Peruzzi P, Valdes PQ, Aghi MK, Berger M, Chiocca EA, Golby AJ. The Evolving Role of Neurosurgical Intervention for Central Nervous System Tumors. Hematol Oncol Clin North Am. 2022 02; 36(1):63-75.  View on PubMed

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