Ali Alattar, MD

  • PGY-3 Resident

Ali Alattar, MD, MAS, joined the University of Pittsburgh Department of Neurological Surgery residency program in July of 2019 after graduating from University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. While at UCSD, Dr. Alattar invested in additional training in clinical and biomedical research and earned a master of advanced studies in clinical research. Dr. Alattar studied biochemistry at Portland State University and graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of science degree.

Dr. Alattar cultivated an interest in neuro-oncology outcomes, especially regarding the impact of extent of surgical resection on survival and developed a novel biomarker platform for diagnosis of glioblastoma, during medical school. In residency, Dr. Alattar has continued to develop his interest in neuro-oncology and is also building his clinical expertise in spine surgery and deformity, skull base, and open and endovascular neurosurgery.

Dr. Alattar’s research interests have grown from big data, cost-effectiveness, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to include the application of augmented reality to image-guidance and development of unique biomarkers and molecular therapeutics in the diagnosis and treatment of intracranial aneurysms. He hopes to contribute to new cancer registries, develop clinical decision support systems, and discover genetic risk factors and molecular subtypes of disease.

Dr. Alattar was born, raised, and attended college in Portland, Ore. before moving to San Diego for medical school. In his free time, he enjoys reading novels, cooking, hiking, running, and weightlifting.

Specialized Areas of Interest

Neuro-oncology, skull base neurosurgery, open and endovascular neurosurgery, and spine surgery and correction of deformity.

Professional Organization Membership

American Association of Neurological Surgeons
Congress of Neurological Surgeons
Society for Neuro-Oncology

Education & Training

  • BS, Biochemistry, Portland State University, 2014
  • MAS, University of California San Diego, 2019
  • MD, University of California San Diego, 2019

Honors & Awards

  • Clinical Research Fellowship, UC San Diego School of Medicine, 2017-2018
  • National Institutes of Health Summer Research Training Grant, 2015
  • Summa Cum Laude, Portland State University, 2014
  • Award for Outstanding Performance in General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Biochemistry, 2011-13
  • Building Our Future Scholarship Award, 2010-11

Research Activities

Augmented reality image-guidance platforms in neurosurgery
This project aims to improve the trajectory of ventriculoperitoneal shunt catheter placement and pedicle screw placement using augmented reality from the Microsoft Hololens 2 device running Novarad’s OpAR software. Pedicle screw and ventriculostomy placement trajectories will be graded and compared between traditional non-guided arms and augmented reality guidance in phantom and cadaveric specimens as well as living patients.

Blood-based biomarker for diagnosis of intracranial aneurysms
This project aims to develop a diagnostic test to determine the presence of intracranial aneurysms based on cytokine concentrations in samples of peripheral blood. Researchers are using aneurysm-induced mouse models to define a panel of cytokines expressed at high levels in the presence of intracranial aneurysms. Dr. Alattar leads the statistical effort to create predictive models to efficiently diagnose intracranial aneurysms and distinguish them with high specificity from aneurysms found extracranially. Researchers are also in the process of creating a web application to host statistical models and predict the presence of intracranial aneurysms based on user-uploaded cytokine array data. Two patent applications are pending, and the project was recently selected for participation in the University of Pittsburgh’s “Pitt Ventures First Gear 2021” program to explore the road towards commercialization.