Steven Schiff named Harvey and Kate Cushing Professor of Neurosurgery

Schiff is a world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon whose work centers on neural control engineering, sustainable health engineering, and global health.
Steven Schiff
Steven Schiff

Steven Schiff, a world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon whose work centers on neural control engineering, sustainable health engineering, and global health, was recently appointed the Harvey and Kate Cushing Professor of Neurosurgery. The appointment is for a term of 10 years, renewable by the dean of the Yale School of Medicine (YSM).

Schiff is the vice chair for Global Health in Neurosurgery, and is now developing the Center for Global Neurosurgery at Yale. He has also been appointed professor of epidemiology, in the Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases, in the Yale School of Public Health.

He earned his M.D. and Ph.D. in physiology from Duke University, where he completed his general surgery internship and neurosurgery residency. Prior to being recruited to Yale in 2022, he was the Brush Chair Professor of Engineering and Professor of Neurosurgery at Penn State University.

Schiff, who is a pioneer of neural control engineering, focused on unifying the biophysics of spikes, seizures, and spreading depression and controlling seizures and spreading depression, founded the Center for Neural Engineering at Pennsylvania State University. In 2012, he authored “Neural Control Engineering: The Emerging Intersection between Control Theory and Neuroscience” (MIT Press), the first textbook on the subject. His research has been widely published, and is a fellow of numerous medical and scientific societies, including the American College of Surgeons, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Physical Society. In addition to actively publishing in physics, Schiff served for 18 consecutive years on the editorial boards of the journals of the American Physical Society: Physical Review E, Physical Review Letters (as divisional associate editor), and Physical Review X.

In recent years, his work has fused his interests in physics and engineering with novel approaches to tackling global health problems in neurosurgery, such as work in Africa on hydrocephalus, neonatal sepsis, sustainable MRI imaging, childhood brain growth and image analysis, and satellite rainfall analysis.

He received the National Institutes of Health’s Director’s Pioneer and Transformative awards in 2015 and 2018, respectively, which have enabled him to pursue his interests in the sustainable control of infant infections in the developing world. This work has evolved into an exploration of what he calls Predictive Personalized Public Health (P3H). This work also led to the discovery of Neonatal Paenibacilliosis, a highly lethal disease that often leads to hydrocephalus in African infants, and at Yale he is now leading efforts to learn to better treat and prevent this deadly infection.

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