Pascal O. Zinn, MD, PhD

  • Assistant Professor
  • Associate Director, Adult Neurosurgical Oncology
  • Director, Molecular Tumor Biology and Personalized Precision Therapy Lab

Pascal O. Zinn, MD, PhD, joined the University of Pittsburgh Department of Neurological Surgery as an assistant professor and associate director of the adult neurosurgical oncology program in August of 2019. Dr. Zinn has undergone subspecialty training in tumor biology and neurosurgical oncology at the Dana-Farber Harvard Cancer Institute and the MD Anderson Cancer Center in state-of-the-art, patient-tailored treatment paradigms.

At UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, Dr. Zinn is the principal investigator of a molecular biology laboratory studying approaches in hyper-personalized tumor treatments and patient care.

Dr. Zinn strongly believes in the individuality of every patient and is an expert in patient-tailored treatment approaches throughout the course of diagnosis (imaging/biopsy), possible surgical tumor removal/medical management, and follow-up.

Dr. Zinn enjoys spending time with his patients and their families walking them through this seemingly complex treatment course through discussion, counseling, and review of evidence-based medicine approaches, thus reaching the very best and most personalized conclusion towards a comprehensive treatment plan.

Specialized Areas of Interest

Neurosurgical oncology; brain, skull base and spinal cord tumors; personalized precision care for brain and spinal tumor patients.

Hospital Privileges

UPMC Hamot
UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
UPMC Mercy
UPMC Presbyterian
UPMC Shadyside

Professional Organization Membership

American Association of Neurological Surgeons
Congress of Neurological Surgeons
CNS/AANS Joint Tumor Section
Glioma Society
Society for Neuro-Oncology

Education & Training

  • MD, University of Zurich, Switzerland, 2007
  • PhD, University of Lausanne, Switzerland, 2012
  • Neurosurgery Residency, Baylor College of Medicine and MD Anderson Cancer Center, 2019
  • Research Fellowship, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, 2019

Honors & Awards

  • Kinjiro Iwata Award for excellence and leadership in residency training, Baylor College of Medicine, 2019
  • Caroline Ross Endowed Fellowship for outstanding achievements and dedication in the field of brain cancer research, MD Anderson Cancer Center, 2018
  • Rosenblum-Mahaley Clinical Research Award, Congress of Neurological Surgeons, 2018
  • Resident Award, Congress of Neurological Surgeons, 2018
  • Runner-Up Oral Platform Presentation Competition, Texas Association of Neurological Surgeons Annual Meeting, 2017
  • National Brain Tumor Society Mahaley Award, Congress of Neurological Surgeons, 2016
  • Kinjiro Iwata Academic Award, Baylor College of Medicine, 2016
  • Journal of Neuro-Oncology Award, Congress of Neurological Surgeons, 2015
  • William R. Cheek Award, Texas Children’s Hospital, 2015
  • Best Oral Platform Presentation Award, American Society of Neuroradiology, 2015
  • Best Scientific Poster Award, American Society of Functional Neuroradiology, 2014
  • Kinjiro Iwata Academic Award, Baylor College of Medicine, 2013
  • Best Scientific Poster Award, American Society of Functional Neuroradiology, 2013
  • Travel Award, European Association of Neurological Surgeons, 2013
  • Best Oral Platform Presentation Award, American Society of Neuroradiology, 2012
  • Journal of Neuro-Oncology Award, Congress of Neurological Surgeons, 2012
  • The Thomas H. and Mayme P. Scott Fellowship in Cancer Research Award, 2012
  • Poster Award, MD Anderson Brain Tumor Center Retreat, 2011
  • First Prize, Clowes Visiting Professor Research Competition, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, 2010
  • Cold Spring Harbor Course on Brain Tumors Scholarship, American Brain Tumor Association, 2010
  • Swiss National Science Foundation two-year fellowship, Harvard Medical School, 2009
  • Socrates-Erasmus Scholarship, 2004
  • Acceptance to Swiss Army Special Forces: Honors in Marksmanship, Combat, Commando, and Fit Test, 2000

Selected Publications

Elshafeey N, Kotrotsou A, Hassan A, Elshafei N, Hassan I, Ahmed S, Abrol S, Agarwal A, El Salek K, Bergamaschi S, Acharya J, Moron FE, Law M, Fuller GN, Huse JT, Zinn PO, Colen RR. Multicenter study demonstrates radiomic features derived from Magnetic Resonance perfusion images identify pseudoprogression in glioblastoma. Nat Commun 10(1):3170, 2019.

Zinn PO, Singh SK, Kotrotsou A, Hassan I, Thomas G, Luedi MM, Elakkad A, Elshafeey N, Idris T, Mosley J, Gumin J, Fuller GN, de Groot JF, Baladandayuthapani V, Sulman EP, Kumar AJ, Sawaya R, Lang FF, Piwnica-Worms D, Colen RR. A co-clinical radiogenomic validation study - Conserved magnetic resonance radiomic appearance of Periostin expressing Glioblastoma in patients and xenograft models. Clin Cancer Res 24(24):6288-6299, 2018. 

Zinn PO, Singh SK, Kotrotsou A, Abrol S, Thomas G, Mosley J, Elakkad A, Hassan I, Kumar A, Colen RR. Distinct radiomic phenotypes define glioblastoma TP53-PTEN-EGFR mutational landscape. Neurosurgery 64(CN_suppl_1):203-210, 2017.

Pascal O. Zinn, Hatami M, Youssef E, Thomas GA, Luedi MM, Singh SK, Colen RR. Diffusion Weighted Magnetic Resonance Imaging Radiophenotypes and Associated Molecular Pathways in Glioblastoma. Neurosurgery 63 Suppl 1:127-35, 2016.

Vassallo I, Zinn PO, Lai M, Rajakannu P1, Hamou MF, Hegi ME1. WIF1 re-expression in glioblastoma inhibits migration through attenuation of non-canonical WNT signalling by downregulating the lncRNA MALAT1. Oncogene 35(1):12-21, 2016.

Sathyan P, Zinn PO, Marisetty AL, Liu B, Kamal MM, Singh SK, Bady P, Lu L, Wani KM, Veo BL, Gumin J, Kassem DH, Robinson F, Weng C, Baladandayuthapani V, Suki D, Colman H, Bhat KP, Sulman EP, Aldape K, Colen RR, Verhaak RG, Lu Z, Fuller GN, Huang S, Lang FF, Sawaya R, Hegi M, Majumder S. Mir-21-Sox2 Axis Delineates Glioblastoma Subtypes with Prognostic Impact. J Neurosci 35(45):15097-112, 2015.

Zinn PO, Singh SK, Colen RR. Shedding light on glioblastoma cellular heterogeneity. Neuro Oncol 17(3):327-8, 2015. 

Moskwa P, Zinn PO, Choi YE, Shukla SA, Fendler W, Chen CC, Lu J, Golub TR, Hjelmeland A, Chowdhury D. A Functional Screen Identifies miRs that Induce Radioresistance in Glioblastomas. Molecular Cancer Research. Mol Cancer Res 12(12):1767-78, 2014.

Zinn PO, Colen RR, Kasper EM, Burkhardt JK. Extent of resection and radiotherapy in GBM: A 1973 to 2007 surveillance, epidemiology and end results analysis of 21,783 patients. Int J Oncol 42(3):929-34, 2013. 

Zinn PO, Sathyan P, Mahajan B, Bruyere J, Hegi M, Majumder S, Colen RR. A Novel Volume-Age-KPS (VAK) Glioblastoma Classification Identifies a Prognostic Cognate microRNA-gene Signature. PLoS ONE 7(8): e41522, 2012. 

Colen RR, Zinn PO, Hazany S, Do-Dai D, Wu JK, Yao K, Zhu JJ. Magnetic resonance imaging appearance and changes on intracavitary Gliadel wafer placement: A pilot study. World J Radiol 3(11): 266-272, 2011.

Zinn PO, Mahajan B, Sathyan P, Singh SK, Majumder S, Jolesz FA, Colen RR. Radiogenomic Mapping of Edema/Cellular Invasion MRI-Phenotypes in Glioblastoma Multiforme. PLoS One 6(10):e25451, 2011.

Media Appearances