Gregory J. Zipfel, MD, head of the Department of Neurosurgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been awarded the Ralph G. Dacey Jr., MD, Medal for Outstanding Cerebrovascular Research. The honor, from the Joint Cerebrovascular Section of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, recognizes surgeons whose novel research has elevated the understanding of cerebrovascular disease.
Zipfel’s research focuses on understanding how weak spots in blood vessels, known as aneurysms, can cause brain damage or death following a rupture. In particular, he has helped identify some of the molecular and cellular features associated with brain injury after sudden rupture of aneurysms. This work has led to the discovery of experimental drugs aimed at reducing brain injury after aneurysm rupture; two such drugs have reached early-phase clinical trials.
Zipfel, neurosurgeon-in-chief at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, also studies how altered blood flow in the brain can contribute to cognitive decline among aging patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
The award was established in 2018 to honor Ralph G. Dacey Jr., MD, former head of the university’s neurosurgery department. Dacey served as a mentor to Zipfel, who was installed as the inaugural Ralph G. Dacey Distinguished Professor of Neurological Surgery in 2019.