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Keith L. Black, MD

  • Chairman and Professor, Department of Neurosurgery
  • Director, Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute
Keith L. Black, MD, is among an elite group of neurosurgeons in the world who perform hundreds of brain tumor operations each year. The precision of his surgical skill enables him to remove tumors that often have been considered inoperable.  Dr. Black has a unique ability to combine cutting-edge research and an extremely busy surgical practice. Since 1987, he has performed more than 6,000 operations for resection of brain tumors.

Dr. Black came to Cedars-Sinai in 1997 as director of the Division of Neurosurgery. He founded the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute at Cedars-Sinai that year, established Neurosurgery as its own department in 2006, and opened the Cochran Brain Tumor Center in 2007.

He has assembled a surgical, research and clinical team focusing on tumors and other disorders of the brain. About three dozen full-time researchers now work with clinicians to translate scientific findings into new approaches to patient care. He is especially well known for devising ways to increase delivery of chemotherapy to brain tumors and for developing an experimental “vaccine” to boost immune response.

Dr. Black was previously on the faculty of the University of California, Los Angeles, for 10 years. A professor of surgery and neurology, he held the Department of Surgery’s Ruth and Raymond Stotter Chair and served as head of both Neurosurgical Oncology and the Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program at UCLA Medical Center.

He has published more than 260 peer reviewed scientific papers and authored the book Brain Surgeon: A Doctor’s Inspiring Encounters with Mortality and Miracles in March 2009. His work has been the subject of numerous broadcast and print media stories, including a 1996 PBS program, The New Explorers, a Time magazine cover and feature article in 1997 on heroes in medicine, and a segment on CBS Sunday Morning in 1999. He often is called upon by CNN and other national media to discuss news events related to brain tumors or injuries.

Born in Auburn, Alabama, Dr. Black published his first scientific paper at age 17, earning the Westinghouse Science Award.

• Member, American Academy of Neurological Surgery
• Member, American Association of Neurological Surgeons  
• Member, Congress of Neurological Surgeons
• Member, Neurosurgical Society of America
• Member, Society for Neuro-oncology
• Editor, Neuroscience Medicine and Technology
• Editor, Neuroscience Medicine and Technology; Editorial board member, Neurological Research; Gene Therapy and Molecular Biology; Neurosurgical Quarterly; Frontiers in Bioscience, Public Library of Science (PLoS)
• Listed among America's Top Doctors, Top Doctors in Cancer and Surgeons

• Member, Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes
• Member, Brain Tumor Progress Review Group, National Cancer Institute and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
• Member, National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council of the National Institutes of Health
• Member, National Institutes of Health, Neurology Study Section
• Founding member, North American Skull Base Society
• Member of Board of Directors, Los Angeles World Affairs Council
• Member, Medical Advisory Board, National Brain Tumor Foundation
• Member, Independent Citizens Oversight Committee (ICOC) of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine

• Founder of Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute at Cedars-Sinai

• Established Neurosurgery as own department at Cedars-Sinai

• Founder of Imagine Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology research company

• Founder of MicroSurgeon, Inc., developer of microwave ablation technology that may allow neurosurgeons to de-bulk a tumor’s mass through a minimally invasive approach

• Developed a dendritic cell vaccine that enables the immune system to recognize and target cells of the most aggressive types of brain tumors

• Identified genes, cellular interactions and biochemical mechanisms thatcontribute to the development and growth of brain tumors

• Made several blood-brain barrier discoveries that dramatically increased the ability of anti-cancer medications to reach brain tumors

• Received several patents for blood-brain barrier innovations, the identification of a tumor-associated gene and the modification of a virus to deliver anti-cancer therapy into malignant cells

• Recipient of the Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (a branch of the National Institutes of Health)

• Founder of Neurovision, a biotechnology company focused on early detection of Alzheimers disease using non-invasive retinal imaging

• Founder of ImmunoCellular Therapeutics, biotechnology company focused on developing vaccine for brain cancer

• Bachelor’s Degree: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich., 1978
• Medical Degree: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich., 1981
• Internship: General surgery, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, Mich., 1981-1982
• Residency: Neurological surgery, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, Mich., 1982-1987

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