The Neurosurgical Spine Innovation Fellowship in the Department of Neurosurgery at Washington University School of Medicine is a one-year intensive fellowship focused on innovation and complex spinal disorders. This is a combined fellowship led by Wilson Zachary Ray, MD and Camilo Molina, MD.

Beginning in July 2021, we will offer a 12-month Spine Innovation Fellowship that combines clinical and investigative experience. The clinical experience focuses on gaining experience and expertise in the latest technological solutions in the peri-operative and intra-operative delivery of spine care. 

Didactic training conferences, seminars, journal clubs, cadaver courses, and one-on-one instruction are all important parts of residency and fellowship education at Washington University in St. Louis. The fellow will be expected to participate in this didactic training as well as to serve in a role of teaching junior residents. There are several one-hour conferences each week, as well as one monthly multi-disciplinary conference that includes both neurosurgery and orthopedics. 

Clinical experience

Washington University enjoys a wide variety of clinical pathologies ranging from common-place cervical and lumbar degenerative conditions to complex spinal reconstructions for adult deformity and tumor management. The fellow will have ample opportunity to participate in both inpatient and outpatient management of all spinal pathologies. At the conclusion of the fellowship, the fellow will have mastered patient selection with regard to surgical decision-making and the technical details of taking care of all spinal pathologies. 

This comprehensive experience includes the use of advanced surgical planning software, modern patient pre-operative and post-operative demographics and outcomes tracking platforms. Examples of intra-operative solutions include experience with robotics, augmented reality, endoscopic surgery, single position combined posterior and lateral approaches, advances in neuromonitoring, expandable implants, and all-power instrumentation techniques.

Investigative experience

The investigative experience entails an immersive involvement in our Digital Spine Innovations Laboratory (DSIL). The mission of the DSIL is to investigate, develop and clinically translate novel technologies that have the potential of decreasing surgical invasiveness and improving surgical safety, efficacy and efficiency. Fellows will identify a clinical need and propose a bio-design solution. 

As part of a multi-disciplinary team, fellows are paired with Department of Biomedical Engineering faculty to design, prototype and test viable solutions. In addition, there will be exposure to work and network with industry leaders and regulatory mentors. This provides a beneficial, unique opportunity for fellows to learn how to navigate the economic and financial hurdles of novel clinical solutions. 

Fellows will have defined devoted time towards both clinical and investigative components of the fellowship. Ultimately, graduating fellows will be equipped with the clinical, technology design and technology translation experience to be spine surgical innovation leaders.

Eligibility criteria and contact 

Applicants must be trainees in or graduates of an ACGME-approved neurosurgery residency training program. It is also important that applicants meet the criteria for an unrestricted Missouri medical license. A personal visit to our department and an interview are required. Interested applicants should apply by sending a cover letter and curriculum vitae to Wilson Zachary Ray, MD

Kayla Zoschg

Manager of Education Services