David S. Baskin, MD, FAANS, FACS

Kenneth R. Peak Presidential Distinguished Chair & Program Director, Neurosurgery Residency, Department of Neurosurgery
Professor of Neurosurgery, Institute for Academic Medicine
Full Member, Research Institute
Houston Methodist
Weill Cornell Medical College

Research Lab


Dr. Baskin began his research career while still a resident at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). In 1982, he spent a year as a Research Associate at the University of Capetown Medical School and Groote Schuur Hospital in Capetown, South Africa. The following year, Dr. Baskin returned to UCSF and served as a Research Associate in the Hormone Research Laboratory. After completing his residency, Dr. Baskin was appointed as Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery and Assistant Professor of the Center for Biotechnology at Baylor College of Medicine, with a joint appointment as Chief of Neurological Surgery at the VA Hospital. In 1994 he was promoted to Professor at Baylor College of Medicine in the departments of Neurosurgery and Anesthesiology, positions he held until 2005 when his academic career transitioned to Methodist.

Dr. Baskin has received many national and international honors and awards. He has served as principal investigator on numerous research projects funded by private, state and federal sources, resulting in multiple patents and patent applications. He has also chaired or served on review panels and advisory councils for private, state and federal agencies. Dr. Baskin has published over 100 scientific manuscripts and book chapters and currently serves as Program Director in Houston Methodist Neurological Institute, as well as Professor of Neurosurgery at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Research Professor at the University of Houston in both the Cullen College of Engineering's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the School of Pharmacy.

Description of Research

The long-term goals of the Neurosurgery Research Laboratory are to elucidate the DNA mechanisms in various types of neurological disease, and to develop novel diagnostics and treatments for primary brain tumors and autistic spectrum disorder. Dr. Baskin has recently developed methodologies to quantify the levels of different types of DNA damage and of labeled antibody staining in the field of fluorescence microscopy, using a new type of labeled tissue phantoms. His laboratory has introduced innovative techniques that allow the quantification of five different types of DNA damage; blunt ended breaks, overhanging breaks, 3'OH ends and nicks, 3'PO4 ends and nicks and also damaged/oxidized DNA bases. These techniques are in the process of being patented.

In addition, and in conjunction with these tools for examining DNA damage, his research group is pursuing mitochondrially targeted chemotherapeutic agents. These pro-drug agents are activated by enzyme systems known to be up-regulated in certain cancers. The active drug then attacks mitochondrial DNA and mitochondrial RNA; causing loss of mitochondria and cell death. In collaboration with Dr. James Tour, of the Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology at Rice University, Dr. Baskin's group is investigating the use of nanoscale carbon clusters in numerous biomedical applications including as a means to deliver chemotherapeutic agents that are targeted specifically to cancer cells, as well as use as cellular protective agents.

The relationship between environmental pollutants and Autism is also a major research topic being pursued by Dr. Baskin and his group. They have been evaluating the role of possible causative agents, including the classical toxin, organic mercury, which he has shown to have high toxicity in a subgroup of autistic individuals. A second class of causative agents being investigated by his group are hormone disrupting agents such as the agro-chemicals DDT and Atrazine. Their preliminary data suggests that there is major difference in the response of cells from autistic individuals, compared to external controls.

Areas Of Expertise

Neurological surgery Brain tumors Stroke
Education & Training

Residency , University of California
Internship , University of California
MD , Mount Sinai School of Medicine of New York City

Measurement of 13C turnover into glutamate and glutamine pools in brain tumor patients
Pichumani, K, Mashimo, T, Vemireddy, V, Ijare, OB, Mickey, BE, Malloy, CR, Marin-Valencia, I, Baskin, DS, Bachoo, RM & Maher, EA 2017, FEBS Letters, vol 591, no. 21, pp. 3548-3554. DOI: 10.1002/1873-3468.12867

Superior Petrosal Vein Sacrifice During Microvascular Decompression: Perioperative Complication Rates and Comparison with Venous Preservation
Liebelt, BD, Barber, SM, Desai, VR, Harper, R, Zhang, J, Parrish, R, Baskin, DS, Trask, T & Britz, GW 2017, World Neurosurgery, vol 104, pp. 788-794. DOI: 10.1016/j.wneu.2017.05.098

Significant response of pituitary carcinoma to carboplatin, leucovorin and fluorouracil chemotherapy: a pediatric case report and review of the literature
AbdelBaki, MS, Waguespack, SG, Salceda, V, Jones, J, Stapleton, SL, Baskin, DS & Okcu, MF 2017, Journal of Neuro-Oncology, pp. 1-3. DOI: 10.1007/s11060-017-2554-1

Metabolic sculpting of the mitochondria, cell signaling and the cancer phenotype
Sharpe, MA, Ismail, N & Baskin, DS 2017, Translational Cancer Research, vol 6, pp. S182-S188. DOI: 10.21037/tcr.2017.01.33

Phase II multicenter study of gene-mediated cytotoxic immunotherapy as adjuvant to surgical resection for newly diagnosed malignant glioma
Wheeler, LA, Manzanera, AG, Bell, SD, Cavaliere, R, McGregor, JM, Grecula, JC, Newton, HB, Lo, SS, Badie, B, Portnow, J, Teh, BS, Trask, TW, Baskin, DS, New, PZ, Aguilar, LK, Aguilar-Cordova, E & Chiocca, EA 2016, Neuro-Oncology, vol 18, no. 8, pp. 1137-1145. DOI: 10.1093/neuonc/now002

Epithelial and organ-related marker expression in pituitary adenomas
Cykowski, MD, Takei, H, Baskin, DS, Rivera, AL & Powell, SZ 2016, Neuropathology, vol 36, no. 4, pp. 354-364. DOI: 10.1111/neup.12284

A Motion Simulator Ride Associated with Headache and Subdural Hematoma: First Case Report
Scranton, RA, Evans, RW & Baskin, DS 2016, Headache, vol 56, no. 2, pp. 372-378. DOI: 10.1111/head.12717

Development of EGFR-targeted, drug/dye loaded nanosyringe for selective cellular imaging
Sharpe, M & Baskin, D 2016, . in Society for Neuro-Oncology conference proceedings. vol. 18, DDIS-07, Oxford University Press, suppl 6, pp. vi48. DOI: 10.1093/neuonc/now212.198

Fractionated Stereotactic Radiotherapy for Pituitary Adenomas: Single-Center Experience in 75 Consecutive Patients
Barber, SM, Teh, BS & Baskin, DS 2016, Neurosurgery, vol 79, no. 3, pp. 406-17. DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0000000000001155

Primary central nervous system vasculitis preceded by granulomatous hypophysitis: Case report with a review of the literature
Huang, M, Steele, W & Baskin, D 2015, Surgical Neurology International, vol 6, pp. S407-S413. DOI: 10.4103/2152-7806.166176

Imaging the patient with migraine: A response
Evans, RW, Timm, JS & Baskin, DS 2015, Headache, vol 55, no. 10, pp. 1444-1445. DOI: 10.1111/head.12700

Successful Treatment of Intracranial Glioblastoma Xenografts With a Monoamine Oxidase B-Activated Pro-Drug
Sharpe, MA, Livingston, AD, Gist, TL, Ghosh, P, Han, J & Baskin, DS 2015, EBioMedicine, vol 2, no. 9, pp. 1122-1132. DOI: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2015.08.013

Sellar Floor Reconstruction with the Medpor Implant Versus Autologous Bone after Transnasal Transsphenoidal Surgery: Outcome in 200 Consecutive Patients
Liebelt, BD, Huang, M & Baskin, DS 2015, World Neurosurgery, vol 84, no. 2, pp. 240-245. DOI: 10.1016/j.wneu.2015.02.025

Impaired Pituitary Axes Following Traumatic Brain Injury
Scranton, RA & Baskin, DS 2015, Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, vol 4, no. 7, pp. 1463-79. DOI: 10.3390/jcm4071463

A left frontal secretory meningioma can mimic transformed migraine with and without aura
Evans, RW, Timm, JS & Baskin, DS 2015, Headache, vol 55, no. 6, pp. 849-852. DOI: 10.1111/head.12580

Design and synthesis of a MAO-B-selectively activated prodrug based on MPTP: a mitochondria-targeting chemotherapeutic agent for treatment of human malignant gliomas
Sharpe, MA, Han, J, Baskin, AM & Baskin, DS 2015, ChemMedChem, vol 10, no. 4, pp. 621-628. DOI: 10.1002/cmdc.201402562

Glioblastoma Presenting with Pure Alexia and Palinopsia Involving the Left Inferior Occipital Gyrus and Visual Word Form Area Evaluated with Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Diffusion Tensor Imaging Tractography
Huang, M, Baskin, DS & Fung, S 2015, World Neurosurgery. DOI: 10.1016/j.wneu.2015.12.071

Pituitary tumors
Baskin, DS 2015, . in Emergency Approaches to Neurosurgical Conditions. Springer International Publishing, pp. 37-52. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-10693-9_3

Monoamine oxidase B levels are highly expressed in human gliomas and are correlated with the expression of HiF-1a and with transcription factors Sp1 and Sp3
Sharpe, MA & Baskin, DS 2016, Oncotarget, vol 7, no. 3, pp. 3379-3393. DOI: 10.18632/oncotarget.6582

Olfactory colloid cyst: Case report and review of extraventricular colloid cyst literature
Staub, BN, Rangel-Castilla, L, Olar, A & Baskin, DS 2014, World Neurosurgery, vol 81, no. 1, 1990, pp. 202.E19-202.E22. DOI: 10.1016/j.wneu.2013.07.080