E. Sander Connolly Jr. to Head Neurological Surgery

E. Sander Connolly Jr., MD
E. Sander Connolly Jr.

One of the nation’s preeminent neurosurgeons, E. Sander Connolly Jr., MD, has been named chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. He also will serve as neurosurgeon-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

Dr. Connolly is currently the Bennett M. Stein Professor of Neurological Surgery, vice chair of neurological surgery, director of the Cerebrovascular Research Laboratory, and surgical director of the Neurological Intensive Care Unit at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

“The Department of Neurological Surgery at Columbia is recognized around the world for its innovation and commitment to delivering the best outcomes for every patient,” says Anil K. Rustgi, MD, interim executive vice president and dean of the faculties of health science and medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “Dr. Connolly is an exceptional surgeon, scientist, visionary leader, and mentor, and he is an outstanding choice to lead one of the nation’s premier neurosurgery departments.”

“We are delighted that Dr. Connolly will lead our world-class neurosurgery department at NewYork-Presbyterian and Columbia,” says Steven J. Corwin, MD, president and CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian. “Dr. Connolly is a respected leader, skilled surgeon, and innovative researcher who is dedicated to providing the very best care to his patients and educating the next generation of surgeons. We look forward to his leadership and his contributions to patient care.”

Dr. Connolly’s clinical practice focuses on the microsurgical treatment of patients with cerebral aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations (abnormal tangles of blood vessels connecting arteries and veins, which disrupts normal blood flow and oxygen circulation), carotid stenosis (a narrowing of the two major arteries that carry blood from the heart to the brain), moyamoya (a rare condition in which arteries at the base of the brain become constricted), cerebral hemorrhage, and ischemia (reduced blood flow). 

His laboratory research focuses primarily on the study of strokes and the effects of inflammation in the brain following a stroke. Based on this research, Dr. Connolly has conducted clinical trials of agents that can reduce inflammation and potentially improve stroke outcomes. He has published extensively and is NIH funded.

Other clinical research has been directed at improving the cognitive outcomes of patients undergoing revascularization for carotid stenosis with a special focus on statins as potential neuroprotective agents.

As one the nation’s experts on stroke, aneurysms, and arteriovenous malformations, he helped develop a scoring system to aid physicians in the management of unruptured intracranial aneurysms (caused by the bulging of a blood vessel in the brain) and American Stroke Association guidelines for treating such aneurysms.

“I am honored to lead this historic department with such a tradition of excellence and innovation,” Dr. Connolly says. “I’m looking forward to preserving those traditions and building on a strong foundation in clinical care, research, and the training of the next generation of neurosurgeons, with the ultimate goal of making a difference in the lives of our patients, now and in the future.”

Dr. Connolly succeeds Robert A. Solomon, MD, who has served as chair of neurological surgery since 1997 and been a member of the Columbia and NewYork-Presbyterian community since beginning his residency training in 1980. NewYork-Presbyterian and Columbia thank him for his exceptional service and look forward to him continuing to contribute to patient care, teaching, and research as a faculty member.  

Dr. Connolly is the immediate past president of the Neurosurgical Society of America and has previously served as president of the Society of University Neurosurgeons. He is a board member of the National Resident Matching Program and has served as a director for the American Board of Neurological Surgery and the American Board of Medical Specialties. He is on the editorial board of Neurosurgery and editor-in-chief of Operative Neurosurgery.

Dr. Connolly earned his MD at Louisiana State University and completed his residency in neurosurgery at Columbia. He is board-certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery and has been listed annually in Castle Connolly’s America’s Top Doctors since 2016.