NASS Insider

April 19, 2022

The NASS Backbone: Committee Chair Edition with Yi Lu, MD, PhD

Welcome again to The NASS Backbone, the series bringing our NASS volunteers to the forefront. NASS has a multitude of committees, sections, workgroups, and task forces working hard to bring the best spine education, research, and advocacy directly to you. But who are these volunteers, and why do they do what they do? This series highlights various volunteers from all areas of NASS, showcasing their experiences both within and outside of NASS.

In this edition, we talk to Yi Lu, MD, PhD, Co-Chair of the Section on Spinal Cord Injury.

Yi Lu, MD, PhD
Yi Lu, MD, PhD, Co-Chair of the Section on Spinal Cord Injury
NASS: Tell us a bit about yourself ...
Dr. Lu: My name is Yi Lu. I am a neurosurgery spine surgeon at the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School. I have been co-chairing the Spinal Cord Injury section since 2020 with my friend Dr. Rajiv Saigal. My wife Dr. Katie Luo is an ophthalmologist and a cornea specialist at Massachusetts Eyes and Ear Infirmary. We have a 12-year-old daughter. The three of us love to travel, ski around the world, and play tennis and golf together. We also have two Siberian cats.

NASS: What has been your favorite part about being part of this Section? What interested you in joining in the first place?
Dr. Lu:My favorite part about being part of the Spinal Cord Injury section is getting to know and closely work with a group of people who are dedicated to the advancement of spinal cord injury research and patient care. To meet the people with the same goal so that together, we can advance spinal cord injury research and care, is exactly the reason I joined the section.

NASS: How long has the Section been around and why was it formed?
Dr. Lu: The section has been around for about 5 years. Spinal cord injury research and patient care is an important part of spine. Prior to the forming of spinal cord injury section, there was no committee or section within NASS that is dedicated to this important part of spine care.

NASS: What professions, specialties, and/or experience make up the members of this Section?
Dr. Lu: The section includes neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, and physical therapists who are interested in spinal cord injury research and improving spinal cord injury patient care through research, collaborations and public education.

NASS: What are key goals of the upcoming year? Challenges?
Dr. Lu: The key goals of the upcoming years are to continue expanding our collaborations with other spinal cord injury organizations, elevate awareness of both NASS members and the public to the importance of the spinal cord injury research and patient care, and to foster collaborative research and communications among spinal cord injury researchers. We are planning NASS Annual Meeting symposia, SpineLine articles, Webinars, podcasts, and collaborations with AOSpine and ISCoS (International Spinal Cord Society).

NASS: What projects are you excited about? How are they of benefit to NASS members and spine professionals?
Dr. Lu: We are excited about our collaborations with AOSpine (on spinal cord injury guidelines, including timing of surgical decompression, hemodynamics management and the perioperative SCI guidelines) and furthering our relationship with ISCoS. We are passionate about the two proposed symposia for this year's Annual Meeting, including central cord syndrome management and spinal cord injury in the geriatric populations. For future symposiums and webinar/podcasts sessions, we’ll strive to continue our tradition of introducing the cutting-edge research frontiers in spinal cord injury research.

NASS: Are there any recent webinars, podcasts or courses you'd like to direct members to listen/watch/attend? What makes them unique?
Dr. Lu: We have a recent SpineLine article submitted about brain-computer interfaces for the management of spinal cord injury. It’s an exciting update on this new advanced technology and it’s future for helping spinal cord injury patients recover essential functions – a must-read!