One way the Hydrocephalus Association promotes research and leadership in hydrocephalus is through our annual Resident’s Prize. This prize is awarded each year to the most promising hydrocephalus-related research paper presented by a neurosurgical resident at the Pediatric Section meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons (AANS/CNS). The prize is designed to encourage young doctors to focus their research efforts on advancing treatment and care of individuals living with hydrocephalus.
HA is pleased to announce the 2015 winner: Brian Hanak, MD. Dr. Hanak received the award for his paper, ‘Toward a better understanding of the cellular basis for cerebrospinal fluid shunt obstruction: report on the construction of a bank of explanted hydrocephalus devices’ which he presented at the 2015 Pediatric Section of the AANS/CNS.
Dr. Hanak was raised in Northern Virginia. He obtained B.S. in Molecular/Cellular Biology with a neuroscience focus from Yale University where he ran varsity track and cross-country, developed and taught science lessons at underserved New Haven elementary schools, and developed his neuroscience research skills in the Department of Neurosurgery at the medical school. He then went on to obtain his MD from Harvard Medical School. At the start of his residency, Dr. Hanak found himself frustrated at the failure rates of VP shunts, which served as the inspiration for his research since then. Dr. Hanak is currently a sixth year neurosurgery resident at the University of Washington in Seattle. When he is not at the hospital or in the laboratory, Dr. Hanak enjoys distance running, snowboarding, surfing, hanging out with his pet rabbit Duncan, and traveling the world with his wife.
In his research Dr. Hanak explores the phenomenon of shunt catheter obstruction in the hopes of understanding the mechanism by which obstruction occurs. Using this research, Dr. Hanak is currently collaborating with bioengineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill to produce novel shunt catheter prototypes.