Gardner Appointed Peter J. Jannetta Professor

Paul GardnerPittsburgh, March 1, 2020 -- Paul A. Gardner, MD, neurosurgical director of the UPMC Center for Cranial Base Surgery, has been appointed as the Peter J. Jannetta Endowed Chair in Neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh.

In making the announcement, Department of Neurological Surgery chairman Robert Friedlander, MD, said, “We are very proud of the work and accomplishments that Dr. Gardner has made here at the University of Pittsburgh. This chair acknowledgement is fitting of the impact that Paul has made in the field of minimally invasive brain surgery, ideally keeping with the innovative spirit of Peter Jannetta.”

A 2008 graduate of the Department of Neurological Surgery residency program, Dr. Gardner—along with center otolaryngology director Carl H. Snyderman, MD, MBA—has established the UPMC Center for Cranial Base Surgery as one of the leading skull base centers in North America and has helped pioneer both transcranial microscopic and endoscopic endonasal approaches to the skull base and brain.

"This is an incredible honor," Dr. Gardner said in acknowledging the appointment. "Dr. Jannetta was one of the key influences in my early decision to become a neurosurgeon and my pride in this program and the role I have in helping to carry his legacy cannot be overstated. I want to thank my chairman, my partners and my mentors for their help and support which have allowed me this achievement."

Dr. Gardner and his colleagues have substantially advanced the field of minimally invasive brain surgery by developing new techniques, tools and approaches that have made it possible to access many cranial tumors, regardless of size. These innovative approaches allow the cranial base team to provide a full array of options for the cutting-edge treatment of skull base diseases.

Dr. Gardner has also helped establish UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh as a major teaching destination for surgeons and other health care professionals looking to learn more about minimally invasive brain surgery. The center’s faculty teach three major courses a year, featuring live surgery and hands-on laboratory work, that attract attendees from around the world. Dr Gardner also lectures extensively, both nationally and internationally, on the minimally invasive techniques advanced here.

Dr. Gardner is also co-author with Dr. Snyderman of the book Skull Base Surgery. The book offers step-by-step expert instruction on more than 45 procedures, covering both open and minimally invasive approaches to the skull base

The Peter J. Jannetta Chair in Neurosurgery is named in honor of the former chairman of the University of Pittsburgh Department of Neurological Surgery and strong advocate of innovative and forward-looking neurosurgical techniques. Dr. Jannetta who passed away in 2016 and led the department from 1971 through 1997, was internationally acclaimed for his development of microvascular decompression (MVD), an innovative procedure that moved blood vessels away from the trigeminal nerve, alleviating chronic pain and spasms in facial muscles. The procedure became commonly known as the ‘Jannetta Procedure’ around the world and brought relief to thousands.

In addition to serving as co-director of the Center for Cranial Base Surgery, Dr. Gardner is also executive vice chair of surgical services for the department and director of the department’s Surgical Neuroanatomy Laboratory.

The Peter J. Jannetta Chair in Neurosurgery is one of six endowed neurosurgery-related chairs at the university. A fully endowed chair—formerly recognizing the national and international clinical, research, and teaching achievements of the holder—provides annual benefit to the honoree by facilitating their work within the department.