2019 Speakers

William A. Friedman, MD

William A. Friedman, MD

  • Professor and Chairman Emeritus
    Lillian S. Wells Department of Neurosurgery
  • Co-Director
    Preston A. Wells, Jr. Center for Brain Tumor Therapy
  • Full Profile

Dr. Friedman is the Director of the Preston Wells Center for Brain Tumor Therapy at the University of Florida.  During his tenure as Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery he has grown the department’s endowed funds to greater than $45 million, much of which is focused on finding a cure for malignant brain tumors.  In recent years, Dr. Friedman has also worked hard to elevate the quality metrics of the department and has become a frequent national neurosurgical speaker on quality improvement. After almost 20 years in the job, Dr. Friedman stepped down as Chair on July 1, 2018 but continues to run a very busy neurosurgical practice.  In his spare time he loves travel, hiking, reading, Civil War history, cooking, and time with friends and family.

Most notably, he is a Past-President of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, Past President of the Florida Neurosurgical Society, and Past President of the International Stereotactic Radiosurgery Society. He is the Past Editor of Neurosurgery On Call, the Internet homepage of organized neurosurgery. He is a member of the Shands Hospital Board of Directors.


Ashley P. Ghiaseddin, MD

Ashley P. Ghiaseddin, MD

  • Adult Neuro-Oncology
  • Assistant Professor
    Preston A. Wells, Jr. Center for Brain Tumor Therapy
    Lillian S. Wells Department of Neurosurgery
  • Full profile

Dr. Ghiaseddin is a Neuro-Oncologist in the Department of Neurosurgery. He received his B.S. degree from Notre Dame in 2006. He completed his medical degree at the University of Toledo in 2010. He performed his neurology residency at Indiana University, finishing in 2014. Dr. Ghiaseddin then did a neuro-oncology fellowship training at Duke University from 2014-2015. He joined the faculty of the University of Florida Department of Neurosurgery in 2015.

Dr. Ghiaseddin has multiple peer-reviewed publications and many national presentations. He is an integral part of the Preston A. Wells Jr. Center for Brain Tumor Therapy at the University of Florida, dedicated to the cure of malignant brain tumors.


JENNIFER ST.CLAIR, MSW, LCSW

Jenn. St. Clair

  • Clinical Social Worker (Pediatric)
  • Neuro-Oncology & Bone Marrow Transplant
  • UF Health/Shands Children’s Hospital

Jennifer St.Clair completed her graduate education at UNC Chapel Hill, receiving her Masters of Social Work degree in 2007. She has worked in close consultation with Dr. Gururangan to provide  psychosocial care and support to the patients and families facing a pediatric brain tumor diagnosis since 2011. Since early 2019,

 

Jennifer has also been participating in a pilot program to provide more targeted clinical social work services to the adult brain tumor population who are seen in the Multidisciplinary Quality of Life Clinic with Dr. Ghiaseddin. As a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) who joined the staff of UF Health in 2016, Jennifer is a pediatric representative on the UF Health Ethics Committee, a member of the steering committee for the UF Health Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Oncology program, a member of the Association of Pediatric Oncology Social Workers (APOSW), and is a Social Work Board Member for The Bone Marrow Foundation


Irene M. Estores, MD

Irene M. Estores, MD

  • Medical Director
    UF Health Integrative Medicine
  • Full profile

Dr. Irene M. Estores completed her Integrative Medicine fellowship at the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, the nationally recognized program of Dr. Andrew Weil, as a Bravewell Fellow. She is also a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) and completed her residency training at the Sinai Hospital-Johns Hopkins Hospital Inter-institutional program in PM&R.

Dr. Estores received her initial acupuncture training at the University of Miami Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine and has applied this to the management of both musculoskeletal and neuropathic pain. She has worked as clinical faculty in academic medical centers, in federal hospital systems, and in a community outreach clinic prior to her current position as Medical Director of the Integrative Medicine Program at the University of Florida Health System.

Dr. Estores’ interest in integrative medicine grew out of self-exploration of other healing and belief systems, the deepening of her spiritual practice of prayer, self-reflection and meditation, and a mindful experience of both the good and bad. She considers her practice of medicine as a vocation and a spiritual path.


Duane A. Mitchell, MD, PhD

Duane A. Mitchell, MD, PhD

  • Phyllis Kottler Friedman Professor
  • State of Florida Endowed Cancer Research Chair
  • Co-Director
    Preston A. Wells, Jr. Center for Brain Tumor Therapy
    Lillian S. Wells Department of Neurosurgery
  • Full profile

Duane A. Mitchell, MD, PhD is the Phyllis Kottler Friedman Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery and the State of Florida Endowed Chair of Cancer Research at the UF Health College of Medicine. He serves as Co-Leader of the Cancer Therapeutics & Host Response Program at the UF Health Cancer Center and is Director of the UF Brain Tumor Immunotherapy Program.

Dr. Mitchell leads a comprehensive translational research program focused on brain tumor immunotherapy, and is principal investigator on a number of first-in-human immunotherapy clinical trials in pediatric and adult patients with brain cancer.


Elias Sayour, MD, PhDElias Sayour, M.D., PhD

  • Assistant Professor
  • Principal Investigator of the RNA Engineering Laboratory
    Preston A. Wells, Jr. Center for Brain Tumor Therapy
    Lillian S. Wells Department of Neurosurgery
  • Full profile

Elias Sayour, M.D., PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery, and Pediatrics and Principal Investigator of the RNA Engineering Laboratory within the Preston A. Wells, Jr. Center for Brain Tumor Therapy and UF Brain Tumor Immunotherapy Program.  He completed undergraduate training at Fordham University, received his medical degree from the University at Buffalo, and his doctorate from Duke University.

After finishing his pediatric residency at the Cohen’s Children’s Medical Center of New York at North-Shore-LIJ, he completed a hematology-oncology fellowship at Duke University Medical Center before accepting a faculty position at the University of Florida.  Dr. Sayour is currently an NIH funded investigator, a University of Florida Term Professor, and a board certified pediatrician and oncologist.  He is working to develop lipid-nanoparticles to train the immune system to fight cancer, and has received many awards for his work including the U.S. Department of Defense Cancer Research Award, the American Brain Tumor Association Discovery Award, and Hannah’s Hereos St. Baldrick’s Scholar Award. Dr. Sayour has spearheaded new paradigm treatments currently being tested in canine (pet dog) patients with terminal brain cancer, and also serves as Principal Investigator/Study Chair on first-in human immunotherapy studies for children with aggressive brain cancers.


Jason E. Blatt, MD

Jason E. Blatt, MD

  • Pediatric Neurosurgery
  • Assistant Professor
    Preston A. Wells, Jr. Center for Brain Tumor Therapy
    Lillian S. Wells Department of Neurosurgery
  • Full profile

Jason E. Blatt, MD is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, where he was a National Merit Scholar and graduated magna cum laude. He then completed his medical degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and received the Harold C. Pillsbury Student Research Award.

Dr. Blatt’s clinical interests include all aspects of pediatric neurosurgery with special focus on brain tumors, epilepsy, minimally-invasive and transnasal (through-the-nose) brain surgery, and craniofacial disorders.

Dr. Blatt is passionate about the care and well-being of children and prides himself on the ability to make complex neurosurgical decisions easy to understand for patients and their parents. Caring for an ill child is never easy, but Dr. Blatt and his team strive to alleviate worry and suffering and provide world-class care for kids of all ages. The UF Pediatric Neurosurgical Team recognizes that children with brain and spine disorders aren’t just “small adults,” and need to be treated by expert sub-specialists with extensive experience.