Neurosurgery Department Celebrates Residency Program Graduates of 2024

UCSF graduating chief residents Alex Lu, MD, Jacob Young, MD, and Winward Choy, MD, stand together for a photo.

The  UCSF Neurosurgery Residency Program congratulates our three graduates, who officially completed their seven-year training program in the department on June 15. Our graduating chief residents have already made significant impacts on the field of neurosurgery. Read more about their accomplishments and where they are heading next.

Winward Choy, MD

Winward Choy, MD, received his bachelor’s degree in cellular and molecular biology from UC Berkeley. He then completed his medical degree at UCLA.

As a neurosurgery resident at UCSF, his mentors have been Christopher P. Ames, MD, and Aaron J. Clark, MD, PhD, who helped him develop expertise in spine surgery.

Choy's clinical research interests include risk stratification and optimization of outcomes following spine surgery. He built a tissue biobank to identify novel prognostic biomarkers in spine surgery. He also reported UCSF's institutional experience of three column osteotomies for the correction of adult spinal deformity in the largest series published to date. This work received this year's John Hanbery Award for the best clinical research paper from the San Francisco Neurological Society. 

After graduation, he will be starting a spine fellowship at the Barrow Neurological Institiute in Arizona.

Featured publications

Chiu P., Choy W., Mazur-Hart D.J., Lau D., Kim J., Nguyen T.H., Clark A.J., Deviren V., & Ames C.P. (2024). A retrospective analysis of 513 patients undergoing pedicle subtraction 2 osteotomy for adult spinal deformity by a single surgical team: are elderly patients at 3 an elevated risk for complications? J Neurosurg Spine. (In press)

Choy, W., Azad, T. D., Scheer, J. K., Safaee, M. M., & Ames, C. P. (2023). Biomarkers in adult spinal deformity surgery. Seminars in Spine Surgery, 35(4), 101058-.

Choy W., Lau D., Dalle Ore C.L., Koller H., Lee S., Ames CP. (2019). Cervical Pedicle Subtraction Osteotomy for Correction of Sagittal Deformities in C. P. Ames, K. Daniel. Riew, J. S. Smith, & K. Abumi, (Eds.), Cervical Spine Deformity Surgery. (1st ed, pp. 78-86). New York: Thieme.

Alex Lu, MD

Alex Lu, MD, completed his undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley, where he double majored in public health in addition to molecular and cell biology. He then earned his medical degree from Yale University.

During his neurosurgery residency at UCSF, he worked closely with mentors Luis Savastano, MD, PhD, and Ethan Winkler, MD, PhD. His clinical research interests lie in the management of pediatric arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). He investigated the differences between incidental and symptomatic unruptured AVMs in children. His research has also been featured on the cover of multiple scientific journals like the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics and Neurosurgial Focus.

After graduation, he will complete a fellowship in neuroendovascular intervention at Washington University in St. Louis.

Featured publications

Lu, A. Y., Winkler, E. A., Garcia, J. H., Raygor, K. P., Fullerton, H. J., Fox, C. K., Kim, H., Auguste, K. I., Sun, P. P., Hetts, S. W., Lawton, M. T., Abla, A. A., & Gupta, N. (2023). A comparison of incidental and symptomatic unruptured brain arteriovenous malformations in children. Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics31(5), 463–468.

Lu, A. Y., Blitstein, J. S., Talbott, J. F., Chan, A. K., Dhall, S. S., El Naga, A. N., Tan, L. A., Clark, A. J., Chou, D., Mummaneni, P. V., & DiGiorgio, A. M. (2021). Single versus dual operative spine fractures in ankylosing spondylitisNeurosurgical Focus51(4), E6.

Ammanuel, S. G., Braunstein, S., Fox, C. K., Fullerton, H. J., Kim, H., Cooke, D., Hetts, S. W., Lawton, M. T., Abla, A. A., & Gupta, N. (2020). Bringing high-grade arteriovenous malformations under control: clinical outcomes following multimodality treatment in childrenJournal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics26(1), 82–91.

Jacob Young, MD

Jacob Young, MD, attended Duke University, earning his bachelor’s degree in neuroscience. He then graduated from medical school at the University of Chicago, where he investigated novel viral and immunotherapeutic agents in the lab of Maciej Lesniak, MD.

During his residency at UCSF, Young's clinical training focused on removing tumors within eloquent regions of the brain. His clinical research interests focused on improving functional outcomes and minimizing postoperative complications following brain tumor resections using direct electrical stimulation and brain mapping. In the laboratory, his research has centered on studying how the glioblastoma microenvironment evolves in response to immunotherapies and surgical strategies for enhancing drug delivery. He has worked closely with Mitchel Berger, MD, Shawn Hervey-Jumper, MD, Manish Aghi, MD, David Raleigh, MD, PhD, and Hideho Okada MD PhD.

His research has been funded by the National Cancer Institute and National Institute of Health and recognized by the American Association for Neurological Surgeons, the Western Neurological Society, the San Francisco Neurological Society in addition to numerous departmental awards. He is also the recipient of a Young Investigator Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the Andrew J. Lockhart Fellowship by the Focused Ultrasound Foundation, and a Chan-Zuckerberg Biohub Physician Scientist Fellowship. His clinical performance was recognized by the department with the Howard Naffiger Award for Excellence, and he received UCSF Health Exceptional Physician Award.

After graduation, he will remain at UCSF as an Assistant Professor of neurosurgery and a principal investigator at the UCSF Brain Tumor Center, where his lab will focus on understanding the interaction between glioma cells and immune cells in the tumor microenvironment and how this glioma-immune system evolution influences response to therapy.

Featured Publications

Young, J. S., Morshed, R. A., Hervey-Jumper, S. L., & Berger, M. S. (2023). The surgical management of diffuse gliomas: Current state of neurosurgical management and future directionsNeuro-oncology25(12), 2117–2133.

Young, J. S., Al-Adli, N. N., Muster, R., Chandra, A., Morshed, R. A., Pereira, M. P., Chalif, E. J., Hervey-Jumper, S. L., Theodosopoulos, P. V., McDermott, M. W., Berger, M. S., & Aghi, M. K. (2023). Does waiting for surgery matter? How time from diagnostic MRI to resection affects outcomes in newly diagnosed glioblastomaJournal of neurosurgery140(1), 80–93.

Karschnia, P., Dono, A., Young, J. S., Juenger, S. T., Teske, N., Häni, L., Sciortino, T., Mau, C. Y., Bruno, F., Nunez, L., Morshed, R. A., Haddad, A. F., Weller, M., van den Bent, M., Beck, J., Hervey-Jumper, S., Molinaro, A. M., Tandon, N., Rudà, R., Vogelbaum, M. A., … Tonn, J. C. (2023). Prognostic evaluation of re-resection for recurrent glioblastoma using the novel RANO classification for extent of resection: A report of the RANO resect groupNeuro-oncology25(9), 1672–1685.

Karschnia, P., Young, J. S., Dono, A., Häni, L., Sciortino, T., Bruno, F., Juenger, S. T., Teske, N., Morshed, R. A., Haddad, A. F., Zhang, Y., Stoecklein, S., Weller, M., Vogelbaum, M. A., Beck, J., Tandon, N., Hervey-Jumper, S., Molinaro, A. M., Rudà, R., Bello, L., … Tonn, J. C. (2023). Prognostic validation of a new classification system for extent of resection in glioblastoma: a report of the RANO resect groupNeuro-oncology25(5), 940–954.

Young, J. S., Gogos, A. J., Aabedi, A. A., Morshed, R. A., Pereira, M. P., Lashof-Regas, S., Mansoori, Z., Luks, T., Hervey-Jumper, S. L., Villanueva-Meyer, J. E., & Berger, M. S. (2021). Resection of supplementary motor area gliomas: revisiting supplementary motor syndrome and the role of the frontal aslant tractJournal of Neurosurgery136(5), 1278–1284.