(Prepared for the young Neurosurgeons committee of the AANS,
and for Neurosurgery News of the CNS)
By Rudolph J. Schrot, MD
NS Resident, University of California at Davis
Sixty-four neurosurgery residents lived in Woods Hole, Massachusetts for one week. Trainees from throughout North America traded their familiar hospital or laboratory surroundings for the lecture hall, their comfortable accommodations for a college-style dormitory, and their bustling urban confines for a quaint New England fishing village. Woods Hole, a tiny otherwise unassuming Cape Cod village, is haunted by the ghosts of Nobel laureates. It is home to the famous Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Woods Hole Research Center, and the Sea Education Association. Woods Hole is also home to the annual Review and Update in Neuroscience for Neurosurgeons (RUNN), celebrating its 20th annual session at the MBL from October 20th through 27th, 2001.
2001 RUNN course participants feasted on a smorgasbord of topics that ran the gamut of neuroscience. In a score or more 90-minute lectures, top neuroscientists passionately shared their investigative fields: angiogenesis, apoptosis, signaling pathways and cell fate, cortical plasticity, convection delivery, evidence-based medicine, glial barriers and scarring, the history of science, hypothermia, memory, model neural systems, molecular biology of pituitary adenomas, microprocessor design, molecular genetics, neuroregeneration, neurotransplantation, repetitive patterned exercise therapy, stem cells, synapse formation, and viral infections of the CNS.
Attendees especially enjoyed practical aspects of the Course, such as the lecture "Project Design and Grantsmanship" by Dr. Michael Walker, recently retired director of the NIH NINDS Division of Stroke, Trauma, and Neurodegenerative Disorders. Freed from mundane distractions, participants reflected not only on the course material presented, but also on their own career development as well.
Even amid the grueling lecture schedule, attendees found a free afternoon for excursion to Martha's Vineyard or Boston. And thanks to an ingenious cadre of neurosurgery residents, the PowerPoint projector and PA system by day became a full screen movie theater with booming sound by night.
Dr. Issam Awad, Ogsbury-Kindt Professor and Chairman of Neurosurgery at the University of Colorado and RUNN Course Director, orchestrates the Course together with his wife Cathy and a team of Co-Directors. Setting a pace of informality and congeniality, Dr. Awad explains the philosophy of the Course: "It is not a board review. the real objective is to help you explore your own research involvement." The RUNN Course is administered under the auspices of the Society of Neurological Surgeons.