News Spine Education

Washington University Neurosurgery welcomes two new spine faculty

Assistant Professor & Director of Neurotrauma Nitin Agarwal, MD
Nitin Agarwal, MD

Washington University’s group of spine specialists continues to expand, building on its position as a global leader advancing innovations in spine surgery.

Spinal neurosurgeons Nitin Agarwal, MD, and Daniel Hafez, MD, PhD, are joining the Washington University Department of Neurosurgery faculty, a team of leaders who care for the most complex spinal conditions with the most advanced treatments. 

“We are truly fortunate to have recruited two outstanding surgeons who will provide a new depth of surgical expertise as it relates to both minimally invasive spine and deformity surgery,” said Wilson Zachary Ray, MD, chief of the Division of Spine Surgery. “Drs. Hafez and Agarwal represent some of the best talent in the country, and we are fortunate to welcome them to our WashU team.”

Assistant Professor Daniel M. Hafez, MD, PhD
Daniel M. Hafez, MD, PhD

After completing spine fellowships, Drs. Agarwal and Hafez will join the Neurosurgery faculty in July 2022, working closely with the Washington University Department of Orthopedics.

“Dr. Agarwal will direct our department’s neurotrauma program, working closely with Dr. Terry Kummer, of neurocritical care and others to advance our management of patients with head and spinal cord injury,” said Neurosurgery Chair Gregory Zipfel, MD. “We also look forward to welcoming his fiancée, Dr. Preetha Kamath, to St. Louis once she completes her dermatology residency in Florida.”

“We know Dan extremely well, and are tremendously happy to have recruited him,” said Dr. Zipfel. “He will help lead our minimally invasive spine surgery program, including adding endoscopic surgical approaches to the care of spine patients. We also welcome his wife, Tiffany Hafez, to the department. Tiffany grew up in St. Peters [Missouri] and is a long-term employee of one of the St. Louis’ great companies, World Wide Technology.”  

Nitin Agarwal, MD

Assistant Professor, Director of Neurotrauma


  • Spinal deformity surgery
  • Degenerative scoliosis 
  • Cranial and spine trauma
  • Revision and reconstructive spine surgery
  • Sports medicine

Research interests

  • Traumatic brain and spinal cord injury
  • Clinical outcomes after spine surgery
  • Socioeconomic policy in organized neurosurgery

Residency: University of Pittsburgh

Fellowship: Minimally Invasive and Complex Spine Surgery, University of California San Francisco (2021-2022)

Enfolded Fellowship: Sports Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (2019-2020)

Enfolded Fellowship: Minimally Invasive and Complex Spine Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (2018-2020)

Daniel M. Hafez, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor


  • Minimally invasive spine surgery
  • Minimally invasive endoscopic spine surgery
  • Rapid recovery spine surgery

Research interests

  • Neuroprotection for traumatic spinal injuries
  • Axonal degeneration following spine or nerve injury
  • Degenerative cervical myelopathy

Residency: Washington University School of Medicine

Fellowship: Complex Spine Surgery, University of Pittsburgh (2021-2022)