Nduka Amankulor, MD

  • Assistant Professor
  • Director, Adult Neurosurgical Oncology
  • Director, Brain Tumor Immunogenetics Laboratory

Nduka Amankulor, MD, director of the department's adult neurosurgical oncology program and director of the University of Pittsburgh's Brain Tumor Immunogenetics Laboratory at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, is a specialist in the surgical treatment of complex brain and spine tumors.

Dr. Amankulor received his medical degree and neurosurgical training from the Yale University School of Medicine. He then completed a clinical fellowship in neurosurgical oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Amankulor is a cancer biologist and immunologist engaged in developing new therapeutic strategies for primary (diffuse gliomas and GBM) and metastatic brain tumors.

Specialized Areas of Interest

Surgical treatment of complex brain and spine tumors.

Board Certifications

American Board of Neurological Surgery

Hospital Privileges

UPMC Hamot
UPMC Mercy
UPMC Presbyterian
UPMC Shadyside

Professional Organization Membership

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

Education & Training

  • BA, Philosophy, New York University, 1998
  • MD, Yale School of Medicine, 2004
  • Residency, Yale School of Medicine, 2011
  • Fellowship, Neurosurgical Oncology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 2012

Honors & Awards

  • Pittsburgh Best Doctors, Pittsburgh Magazine, 2019
  • Hank Karp Award, 2017
  • University of Pittsburgh Physicians Foundation Scholar, 2016
  • Leo H. Criep Excellence in Patient Care Award University of Pittsburgh, 2015
  • Best Oral Presentation Award, Tumor Biology Session, 20th Annual Scientific Meeting and Education Day of the Society for Neuro-Oncology (SNO), 2015

Selected Publications

Nikiforova MN, Wald AI, Melan MA, Roy S, Zhong S, Hamilton RL, Lieberman FS, Drappatz J, Amankulor NM, Pollack IF, Nikiforov YE, Horbinski C. Targeted next-generation sequencing panel (GlioSeq) provides comprehensive genetic profiling of central nervous system tumors. Neuro Oncol [Epub ahead of print], 2015.

Holt DE, Gill BS, Clump DA, Leeman JE, Burton SA, Amankulor NM, Engh JA, Heron DE. Tumor bed radiosurgery following resection and prior stereotactic radiosurgery for locally persistent brain metastasis. Front Oncol 8;5:84, 2015.

Weiner GM, Chivukula S, Chen CJ, Ding D, Engh JA, Amankulor N. Ommaya reservoir with ventricular catheter placement for chemotherapy with frameless and pinless electromagnetic surgical neuronavigation. Clin Neurol Neurosurg 130:61-6, 2015.

Ling D, Vargo JA, Wegner RE, Flickinger JC, Burton S, Engh J, Amankulor N, Quinn AE, Ozhasoglu C, Heron DE. Postoperative stereotactic radiosurgery to the resection cavity for large brain metastases: clinical outcomes, predictors of intracranial failure, and implications for optimal patient selection. Neurosurgery 76(2):150-6, 2015.

Okada H, Butterfield LH, Hamilton RL, Hoji A, Sakaki M, Ahn BJ, Kohanbash G, Drappatz J, Engh J, Amankulor N, Lively MO, Chan MD, Salazar AM, Shaw EG, Potter DM, Lieberman FS. Induction of robust type-1 CD8+ T-cell responses in WHO grade II low-grade glioma patients receiving peptide-based vaccines in combination with poly-ICLC. Clin Cancer Res 21(2):286-94, 2015.

Mazzacurati L, Marzulli M, Reinhart B, Miyagawa Y, Goins WF, Li A, Kaur B, Caligiuri M, Cripe T, Chiocca N, Amankulor N, Cohen JB, Glorioso JC, Grandi P. Use of miRNA response sequences to block off-target replication and increase the safety of an unattenuated, glioblastoma-targeted oncolytic HSV. Mol Ther 23(1):99-107, 2015.

Pitter KL, Tamagno I, Feng X, Ghosal K, Amankulor N, Holland EC, Hambardzumyan D. The SHH/Gli pathway is reactivated in reactive glia and drives proliferation in response to neurodegeneration-induced lesions. Glia 62(10):1595-607, 2014.

Pietrus A, Katz AM, Ekström EJ, Wee B, Halliday JJ, Pitter KL, Werbeck JL, Amankulor NM, Huse JT, Holland EC. Osteopontin-CD44 Signaling in the Glioma Perivascular Niche Enhances Cancer Stem Cell Phenotypes and Promotes Aggressive Tumor Growth. Cell Stem Cell 14(3): 357-69, 2014.

Amankulor NM, Xu R, Iorgulescu JB, Chapman T, Reiner AS, Riedel E, Lis E, Yamada Y, Bilsky M, Laufer I: The incidence and patterns of hardware failure after separation surgery in patients with spinal metastatic tumors. Spine J 14(9):1850-9, 2014.

Kohanbash G, McKaveney K, Sakaki M, Ueda R, Mintz AH, Amankulor N, Fujita M, Ohlfest JR, Okada H: GM-CSF Promotes the Immunosuppressive Activity of Glioma-Infiltrating Myeloid Cells through Interleukin-4 Receptor-α. Cancer Res 73(21):6413-23, 2013.

A complete listing of Dr. Amankulor's publications can be reviewed through the National Library of Medicine's publication database.

Media Appearances

How Focus Music Works
Music on My Mind with John Legend & Headspace
February 25, 2021

A History of the Classification of Glioma Brain Tumors
October 9, 2019

5K Race To Raise Money For Brain Cancer Awareness
August 14, 2017

KDKA-TV Pittsburgh Live