PNA Spotlight: Dr. Babacar Cisse

Dr. Babacar CisseThis month the PNA Spotlight focuses on Babacar Cisse, M.D., Ph.D., a neurosurgeon at the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center in New York City. He is also a Leon Levy Research Fellow at the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute. Dr. Cisse earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry from Bard College. He earned his medical degree and Ph.D. at Columbia University. He did his residencies in neurological surgery at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He is on the faculty at the Weill Cornell Medicine Brain and Spine Center and at the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute. Dr. Cisse was kind enough to answer some questions from the PNA, and his answers are below.

What is the primary focus of your work/research?

My clinical and research interests are brain tumors and their interactions with the immune system. My clinical practice focuses primarily on brain tumors, including pituitary adenomas. My interest in basic research is driven by the fact more malignant brain tumors cannot be cured by surgery. Therefore, we need to understand the mechanisms that lead to the formation of these tumors and sustain them with the goal of finding new therapies.

What do you consider to be the future of your field?

The future of brain tumors is very bright. The clinical and research sides have experienced remarkable advances in recent years and will continue to do so. New technologies and innovations are making surgeries safer and faster, while basic laboratory research is elucidating the pathways and factors that lead to these tumors. This has attracted some of the brightest minds in all fields and the results are promising.

What should patients know about your field/what deserves more recognition/awareness?

A few decades ago, the diagnosis and management of brain tumors, including pituitary tumors, were faced with limited options and poor outcomes. Nowadays, the range of surgical and medical options is just incredible. This has come not only from advances in the operating rooms and laboratory research, but also from patients and their loved ones and organizations such as PNA who have committed their time, efforts, and energies to help move the field. Therefore, everyone deserves recognition. We should all be aware that we are in this together and it is our concerted efforts that will help defeat these diseases.

What would you like to convey about yourself to your patients?

There is no greater privilege than being trusted by fellow human beings to care for them.
It is a true honor. My focus is on the patient and everyone and everything who is around the patient.
No patient exists in vacuum.

Why did you get involved with the PNA and what is the extent of your involvement?

It is my firm belief that the management of patients should be a concerted effort. Therefore, being involved in PNA is just natural given the wonderful work that it does in creating a community that shares resources that benefit patients and their families.

For more information about Dr. Cisse please visit


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