Christopher Ames, MD
Dr. Ames is director of spinal tumor and spinal deformity surgery at UCSF Medical Center as well as co-director of the Neurospinal Disorders Program and the UCSF Spine Center. He is a specialist in spinal reconstructive surgery for trauma, tumors and degenerative disease, particularly en bloc tumor resection for chordoma, chondrosarcoma, soft tissue sarcoma, sacral tumors and other primary and metastatic tumors. Dr. Ames directs the Neurosurgical Spinal Deformity service that treats more than 200 patients a year for correction of scoliosis, kyphosis, flat back, chin on chest deformity in ankylosing spondylitis, basilar invagination in rheumatoid arthritis, spondylolisthesis and postoperative deformity.
Shay Bess, MD
Shay Bess MD, has been a member of the International Spine Study Group since 2007, serves on the Executive Committee and is the President of the International Spine Study Group Foundation. Dr. Bess completed his undergraduate degree at Columbia University, medical school at Johns Hopkins University, orthopedic training at Case Western Reserve University Hospitals, and fellowship in adult and pediatric spine surgery at the Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Bess treats pediatric and adult spine pathologies at Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center and Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children in Denver, Colorado at the Denver International Spine Center. Dr. Bess is also actively involved in medical mission work providing charity surgery for children in need in Africa and Central America.
Douglas Burton, MD
Dr. Burton attended Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS and received his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern School of Medicine in Dallas, TX. He completed his orthopedic residency at the University of Kansas Medical Center, in Kansas City, KS and his spine fellowships at Texas Back Institute in Plano, TX and Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA. In 2000, he returned to the University of Kansas Medical Center and joined the Orthopedic Surgery department where he specializes in pediatric and adult spine disorders. Currently, he is the Marc & Elinor Asher Spine Professor, the Vice-Chairman of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, and Co-Medical Director of the University of Kansas Hospital Operating Rooms.
Robert Hart, MD
Dr. Hart earned his medical degree at UC San Diego and completed a residency in orthopedics at University of Iowa and a fellowship in adult spine at Case Western. He joined Oregon Health & Science University in Portland as an Assistant Professor in 1998 and was promoted to Professor with Tenure in 2010. He served as Program Director of OHSU's Orthopedic Residency 2007-2011 and founded and directed the Adult Spine Fellowship from 2003-2016. He currently serves as Medical Director of Spinal Deformity for the Swedish Health System in Seattle. Dr. Hart joined the ISSG in 2008 and joined the Executive Committee in 2012.
Eric Klineberg, MD
University of California, Davis
Dr. Klineberg is an Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, and the Spinal Disorders Fellowship Director at the University of California, Davis. His clinical interests include all aspects of spinal degeneration, deformity, tumor and fracture. He cares for children and adults alike, and has a particular interest in spinal deformity and reconstruction.
Virginie Lafage, PhD
After becoming a mechanical engineer in France, Virginie pursued her PhD in Biomechanics, specializing in finite element analysis and biomechanical simulations of scoliosis surgery. This led to extensive training in the clinical realm of spine surgery first in Paris and then in New York, thanks to the mentorship of Jean-Pierre Farcy, MD and Frank Schwab, MD. Together, their research interest evolved around sagittal spinopelvic alignment, adult spinal deformity, cervical deformity and soft tissue analysis. Dr Lafage became adept in multiple areas of clinical research, including managing multicenter trials, radiological and force plate analysis, complex statistical analysis, computer programming and manuscript preparation. Her role as a Director of Research at NYU, HSS and now Lenox Hill Hospital, as well as being a part of the International Spine Study Group, has led to more than 550 peer-reviewed publications, 1200 podium presentations and speaking engagements across the globe.
To bridge the gap between academic research and clinical practice, Drs. Lafage and Schwab co-founded Surgimap, a free FDA-authorized platform, which permits the user to compile medical images, evaluate spine-specific alignment parameters in a semi-automatic way using computer vision, plan complex spine surgeries, simulate outcomes with various spine implants and share this information with colleagues.
Dr. Lafage is particularly proud of her opportunity to mentor and guide well over 70 research assistants, residents, clinical fellows, research fellows, engineers and physicians interested in spine research. Acting as a mentor has provided her with a wide network of collaborations across the globe, which she actively engages in. She has a passion for teaching and inspiring others to do quality research in this field and believes this can further be achieved through mentorship and collaboration.
While her life’s work has been dedicated to the field of spine surgery, Dr. Lafage has taken a new position as Associate Vice President of Clinical Research for Orthopedics at Lenox Hill Hospital, further expanding her knowledge and experiences in orthopedic research.
Frank Schwab, MD
Frank Schwab, MD, has been appointed chair of orthopedic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital, system chief of orthopedic spine surgery at Northwell Health, and vice president of orthopedic surgery for the health system’s western region, which includes Manhattan, Staten Island, and Westchester County.
An internationally renowned spine surgeon, researcher and inventor, Dr. Schwab specializes in complex spinal pathology, adult and pediatric spinal deformity, and revision reconstruction procedures. He has pioneered various aspects of spinal care, including developing the first definitive classification of adult spinal deformity that has become the clinical standard worldwide. Dr. Schwab also founded Nemaris, Inc., a medical device company which produced Surgimap, a dedicated spine measurement and surgical planning software utilized by surgeons and researchers across the globe.
Dr. Schwab joins Northwell after six years at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), where he most recently served as vice chair of innovation and led a team responsible for partnering with physicians to develop solutions in the areas of digital, device, care delivery and life sciences. He was also previously the chief of spine service at HSS and built a clinical program that performed more than 3,000 surgeries annually. Prior to that, Dr. Schwab was chief of the spinal deformity service at the NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases and director of the spine center at Maimonides Medical Center. He has also held academic appointments for the past two decades at the NYU School of Medicine and Weill Cornell Medical College.
Christopher Shaffrey, MD
Christopher I. Shaffrey, MD, FAANS graduated magna cum laude from The Citadel in 1982 with B.S. degree in biology. He played varsity basketball and was the co-captain his senior year. In 1986, Shaffrey received his medical degree from the University of Virginia. He completed his general surgical internship at Naval Hospital San Diego in 1987 where he was named the surgical intern of the year. He then completed both neurosurgical and orthopaedics residencies at the University of Virginia, followed by a spine fellowship in pediatric and adult reconstructive spine surgery in 1995. Following completion of his surgical training, he was appointed to the senior staff in the departments of neurological surgery and orthopaedic surgery at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital where he was actively involved in treating members of Detroit’s college and professional athletic teams. In 1999, Shaffrey was appointed associate professor of neurological surgery and adjunct associate professor of orthopaedic surgery and sports medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle. In 2003, he returned to the University of Virginia as professor of neurological surgery and director of the neurosurgery spine division. In 2008, he was named Harrison Distinguished Teaching Professor of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgery. In July of 2018, Dr. Shaffrey was named the chief of the Duke Spine Division for the departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Neurological Surgery and is a tenured professor of Orthopaedic and Neurological Surgery.
Dr. Shaffrey is Board-certified in the fields of neurological surgery and orthopaedic surgery and has more than 450 peer-reviewed publications and more than 1000 national and international presentations. He has served or is serving as the Deputy Editor of the journals Spine and Spine Deformity and has served as the Chair of the Editorial Board for JNS: Spine as well as being an editor for several textbooks on spinal surgery. He has been the Chair of the ABNS and is currently a member of the Neurosurgery Residency Review Committee. He is currently the president of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.
Justin Smith, MD, PhD
Dr. Smith is a Professor of Neurological Surgery at UVA. He is co-director of the UVA Spine Center and Neurosurgery Spine Division. His practice is predominantly spinal surgery and includes cervical and thoracolumbar deformity reconstruction, oncology, trauma, degenerative disease, and complex revision surgery. His research interests focus on clinical outcomes of spinal surgery, and he has published extensively in this and other areas, with more than 200 peer-reviewed manuscripts and more than 500 presented abstracts at national and international meetings.