Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

David Baskin, M.D.

David S. Baskin, M.D.


David S. Baskin, M.D.

David S. Baskin, M.D.

Senior Member
The Methodist Hospital Research Institute
Program Director, Neurosurgery Residency Training Program
Methodist Neurological Institute

Phone: 713-441-3800
E-mail: dbaskin@houstonmethodist.org


B.A. Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
M.D. Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York

Postdoctoral Training

Resident in Neurosurgery, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California



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 The 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.

Major Areas of Research

Neurological surgery, brain tumors, stroke.

Recent Publications

Baskin DS, Widmayer MA, Sharpe MA. Quantification of DNase type I ends, DNase type II ends, and modified bases using fluorescently labeled ddUTP, terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase, and formamidopyrimidine-DNA glycosylase. Biotechniques. 49:505-12 (2010).

Baskin DS, Widmayer MA, Sharpe MA. Quantification and calibration of images in fluorescence microscopy. Analytical Biochemistry. 404:118-126 (2010).

Widmayer MA, Browning JL, Gopinath SP, Robertson CS, Baskin DS. Increased Intracranial Pressure is Associated with Elevated Cerebrospinal Fluid ADH Levels in Closed-Head Injury. Neurological Research. 2010 Aug 31. [Epub ahead of print]

Zahra H, The BS, Paulino A, Yoshor D, Trask T, Baskin B, Butler EB. Stereotactic radiosurgery for trigeminal neuralgia utilizing the BrainLAB Novalis system. Technology in Cancer Research & Treatment. 8:407-412 (2009).

Baskin DS: Spinal Cord Injury. In: Evans RE, (Ed) Neurology and Trauma, 2nd Edition, Oxford University Press, New York, New York, 265-280 (2006).

Didenko VV, Baskin DS, Horseradish peroxidase-driven fluorescent labeling of nanotubes with quantum dots, Biotechniques. 40:295-302 (2006).

Teh BS, Bloch C, Paulino AC, Shen S, Hinckley L, Baskin D, Butler EB, Amato, R. Pathologic complete response in renal cell carcinoma brain metastases treated with stereotactic radiosurgery. Clinical Genitourinary Cancer. 5:334-337 (2007).

Didenko VV and Baskin DS: Polyethyleneimine as a transmembrane carrier of fluorescently labeled proteins and antibodies. Analytical Biochem. 344:168-173 (2005).

Didenko VV, Moore, V, Baskin DS and Smalley, RE: Visualization of Individual Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes by Fluorescent Polymer Wrapping. Nano Letters. 5:1563-1567 (2005).

Didenko VV, Minchew C, Shuman S, Baskin DS: Semi-artificial fluorescent molecular machine for DNA damage detection. Nano Letters. 4:2461-2466 (2004).

Baskin DS, Ryan P, Sonntag V, Westmark R, Widmayer MA. A Prospective, randomized, controlled cervical fusion study using rhBMP-2 with the CORNERSTONE-SRTM allograft ring and the ATLANTISTM anterior cervical plate. Spine. 28:1219-1225 (2003).

Didenko VV, Ngo H, James W, Baskin DS: Early necrotic DNA degradation: presence of blunt ended DNA breaks, 3' and 5' overhangs in apoptosis but only 5' overhangs in early necrosis. Am J Pathol. 162:1571-1578 (2003).

Baskin DS, Ngo H, Didenko VV: Thimerosal Induces DNA breaks, caspase-3 activation, membrane damage, and cell death in cultured human neurons and fibroblasts. Toxicol Sci. 74:361-368 (2003).

Didenko VV, Ngo H, Baskin DS: In situ detection of double-strand DNA breaks with terminal 5'OH groups. In Didenko VV (ed) In Situ Detection of DNA Damage: methods and protocols, Humana Press, Totowa, NJ, 2002.

Didenko VV, Ngo H, Minchew C, Boudreaux DJ, Widmayer MA, Baskin DS: Caspase-3-dependent and independent apoptosis in focal brain ischemia. Molec Med. 8:347-352 (2002).

Didenko VV, Widmayer MA, Ngo H, Minchew C, Boudreaux DJ, Baskin DS: Visualization of irreparable ischemic damage in brain by selective labeling of double strand blunt-ended DNA breaks. Molec Med. 8:818-823 (2002).

Didenko VV, Ngo H, Baskin DS: Apoptosis of T-lymphocytes invading glioblastoma: a possible tumor defense mechanism. J Neurosurgery. 96:580-584 (2002).