Guest Speakers

Full details of the guest speakers will be available here in the future. Please check back at a later date. 

Wouter Schievink


Los Angeles, USA

Speaking on spontaneous intracranial pressure hypotension and the management of arterial dissections

Wouter Schievink earned his medical degree at the University of Amsterdam Medical School in 1989 and completed residency training at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota in 1997. This was followed by a cerebrovascular fellowship at the Barrow Neurologic Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. He was the Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery in the Department of Neurological Surgery at the UCI Medical Center, Irvine, California from 1998-2000. He began academic practice in neurosurgery in 1997 at the Neurosurgical Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, USA. There, he is the Director of the Microvascular Neurosurgery Program since 1998.

The research of Wouter I Schievink, MD, focuses on outcomes of complex cerebrovascular surgery, syndromes of spontaneous intracranial hypotension/spinal CSF leaks, as well as extracellular matrix proteins in intracranial aneurysms and cervicocephalic arterial dissections and models of intracranial aneurysms.

He has written and published extensively on cerebral aneurysms, cerebrovascular arterial dissections, and collagen vascular disease as related to the central nervous system. Schievink is also an expert and well published author on Spontaneous Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak Syndrome. Schievink was the lead physician on the first ever successful attempt of using fibrin glue to reverse a coma.


Rees Cosgrove


Boston, USA

Speaking on Imaging and Epilepsy Surgery: The Key to Success, Ablative Surgery for Psychiatric Disease and MRgFUS for Movement Disorders

G. Rees Cosgrove, MD, FRCSC received his neurosurgical training at the Montreal Neurological Institute and McGill University where he specialised in epilepsy and functional neurosurgery. He spent 13 years at the Massachusetts General Hospital as the head of Epilepsy and Functional Neurosurgery before becoming Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at Lahey Clinic and then the Stoll Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University. He returned to the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston in 2015 as Chief of Epilepsy and Functional Neurosurgery to focus on his clinical activities, translational research and resident education. He was named Director of the Neurosurgery Residency Training Program in 2016.

As a leader in academic neurosurgery, he is a member of the executive committee of the World Society of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery; past president of the American Society of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery and an active member of the American Association of Neurosurgeons; the Congress of Neurological Surgeons; the American Academy of Neurological Surgery; and the Society of Neurological Surgeons.

Dr Cosgrove is the author of over 150 peer-reviewed publications, 185 abstracts and 61 book chapters. He has been an invited guest lecturer over 180 times and a visiting professor at 56 different academic institutions around the world. D. Cosgrove has received a number of honors, including the Gold Medal in Surgery of Queen’s University, the Wilder Penfield Award of the Montreal Neurological Institute, the Daniel D. Federman Outstanding Clinical Educator Award of Harvard Medical School, an Honorary BA from Brown University and an Honorary Litchfield Lectureship from Oxford University. He has been named as one of America’s Top Doctors for the past 20 years and listed in the Global Directory of Who’s Who and International Who’s Who.

Michael Fehlings


Toronto, Canada

Speaking on spinal oncology, improving outcomes in spinal surgery and case experiences

Dr Fehlings is the Vice Chair Research for the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto and Head of the Spinal Program at Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network. Dr Fehlings is a Professor ofNeurosurgery at the University of Toronto, holds the Gerry and Tootsie Halbert Chair in Neural Repair and Regeneration, is a Scientist at the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine and a McLaughlin Scholar in Molecular Medicine. In the fall of 2008, Dr Fehlings was appointed the inaugural Director of the University of Toronto Neuroscience Program (which he held until June 2012) and is currently Co-Director of the University of Toronto Spine Program. Dr Fehlings combines an active clinical practice in complex spinal surgery with a translationally oriented research program focused on discovering novel treatments to improve functional outcomes following spinal cord injury (SCI). He has published over 850 peer-reviewed articles (hindex 88) chiefly in the area of central nervous system injury and complex spinal surgery. His seminal 1991 paper, cited over 1400 times, outlined the severe and lasting consequences of SCI due to a cascade of secondary injury mechanisms following the initial trauma. His research on secondary injury mechanisms ultimately led to the commencement of the multicenter, international Surgical Timing in Acute Spinal Cord Injury Study (STASCIS), aimed at establishing the need for early surgical decompression to prevent the negative effects of the secondary injury cascade. The results from this study, led by Dr Fehlings and published in 2012, demonstrated the critical importance of early surgical decompression (<24 hours) to improve functional and neurological outcomes, and reduce secondary complications in individuals with SCI.

His work examining the use of regenerative approaches including neural stem cells to repair the injured nervous system has led to numerous international awards and has helped lead the field toward clinical translation in this area. In 2017, the initiative to create Clinical Practice Guidelines for the management of degenerative cervical myelopathy and acute traumatic SCI – a multi-disciplinary international effort led by Dr Fehlings - was published in the Global Spine Journal. Most recently, Dr Fehlings’ work demonstrating that midcervical excitatory interneurons are essential for the maintenance of breathing in non-traumatic cervical SCI and critical for promoting respiratory recovery after traumatic SCI was published in Nature.

Dr Fehlings has received numerous prestigious awards including the Gold Medal in Surgery from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (1996), nomination to the Who’s Who list of the 1000 most influential scientists of the 21st century (2001), the Lister Award in Surgical Research (2006), the Leon Wiltse Award from the North American Spine Society for excellence in leadership and/or clinical research in spine care (2009), the Olivecrona Award (2009) - the top award internationally for neurosurgeons and neuroscientists awarded by the Nobel Institute at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm for his important contributions in CNS injury repair and regeneration, the Reeve-Irvine Research Medal in Spinal Cord Injury (2012), the Golden Axon Leadership Award (2012), the Mac Keith Basic Science Lectureship Award for significant contributions to the basic science of cerebral palsy and childhood onset disabilities (2012), and was the Mayfield Lecturer (2012). In 2012, Dr Fehlings served as the 40th President of the Cervical Spine Research Society (CSRS) -- the only Canadian to do so -- and was honoured with the CSRS Presidential Medallion for outstanding leadership and contributions to cervical spine research. In 2013, Dr Fehlings was honoured with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal presented to him by the Honourable Stephen Harper, the H. Richard Winn Prize from the Society of Neurological Surgeons, the Jonas Salk Award for Scientific Achievements from the March of Dimes Canada and the Henry Farfan Award from the North
American Spine Society. In 2014, Dr Fehlings was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society of Canada and to the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, and in 2016 won the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Mentor of the Year Award.

Eccles Lecturer

Pamela McCombe


Brisbane, Australia

Speaking on Gender Issues in Neurological Disease

The Eccles Lecturership in Neuroscience was established in 1992 to build relationships between the clinical and basic neuroscientists in Australia and New Zealand. The Eccles Lecturer presents at both the NSA Annual Scientific Meeting and the Australian Neuroscience Society Annual Scientific Meeting.

Professor McCombe is a graduate of the Medical School of the University of Queensland. She trained in Neurology at Prince Henry/Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney, and then obtained a PhD from the University of Sydney. This was the start of her interest in Neuroimmunology. She is now a Neurologist at Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital and Professor at the Faculty of Medicine at University of Queensland. She is President-Elect of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Neurologists. Her research interests are broad and encompass autoimmune diseases of the nervous system as well as immune response to acquired diseases of the brain. She has published on experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, Guillain Barre syndrome and CIDP, stroke and motor neurone disease. She has a special interest in the role of gender and of pregnancy in neurological and immune disease.


Malcolm Hogg

Anaesthesia and Pain Management Specialist

Melbourne, Australia

The issue with opioids prescribing, including for post-operative pain

Dr Hogg is a Staff Specialist, Anaesthesia and Pain Management, Royal Melbourne Hospital and Head of Pain Services, Melbourne Health. Dr Hogg supervises a co-ordinated range of services, linking in hospital acute and interventional pain management without patient multidisciplinary services. Therapies offered include interventional procedures for cancer and non-cancer pain, and allied health-based pain management programs. Research interests include early identification and management of people with acute pain at risk of developing chronic disabling pain.

Dr Hogg is a Past-President of the Australian Pain Society and current board member of Painaustralia. He is co-ordinating the Waiting in Pain project, a systematic investigation into the provision of persistent pain services in Australia.

Dr Hogg spent his early post-graduate years at Royal Melbourne Hospital, including the bulk of his Anaesthesia training. Overseas experience was gained at Mayo Clinic in USA, prior to 5 years at the Prince of Wales and Sydney Children’s Hospitals, for specialist experience in Pain Medicine. Upon returning to Victoria, Dr Hogg has developed a specialist pain medicine practice based at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, with roles in student and specialist education, policy development and supporting outer-urban and rural services. A small private practice is developing to complement these roles, including collaborations with like-minded pain clinicians and providing complimentary services to surgical and anaesthesia colleagues.


Matthew Foote

Radiation Oncologist

Brisbane, Australia


Speaking on stereotactic spine radiotherapy in the management of spinal malignancy

Associate Professor Matthew Foote completed his specialist training in Brisbane in 2009. He then undertook further sub-specialist training in Gamma Knife® radiosurgery, stereotactic radiotherapy and neuro-oncology at the world-renowned Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto. Commencing at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in 2010 and Greenslopes Private Hospital in 2012, A/Prof Foote has special interests in stereotactic brain and body radiotherapy, neuro-oncology, head and neck cancer and cutaneous (skin) cancer. He represents Australasia on the Elekta Oligometastasis Consortium and has been elected to the International Stereotactic Radiosurgery Society (ISRS). He was instrumental in establishing the Gamma Knife Centre of Queensland at the Princess Alexandra Hospital and is Co-Director of the unit.