John F. Alksne, MD, FAANS(L)
JOHN F. ALKSNE was born in San Jose, California, October 20, 1933. He spent all of his young life in the San Francisco Bay area and graduated from Palo Alto high school in 1951. Because of a desire to explore areas away from the local scene, he attended the University of Washington in Seattle. Easily becoming a Seattleite, he stayed on at the University of Washington to attend medical school and graduated in 1958. After a one-year sojourn at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a surgical intern, he returned to the University of Washington for his neurosurgical training which was completed in 1963. Because of an interest in electron microscopic neuroanatomy, he then applied and received a National Institutes of Health fellowship to spend a year at the Anatomical Institute in Oslo, Norway with Professors Blackstad and Brodal. Upon completion of this fellowship experience he accepted a position as assistant professor at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine with an assignment as chief of neurosurgery at the Harbor General Hospital in Torrance, California. While in Los Angeles he pursued the investigation of the functional ultrastructure of the arachnoid villi and began experiments on stereotaxic magnetic thrombosis of intracranial aneurysm. After three years at UCLA he was recruited to become chairman of neurological surgery at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, where he also took over the directorship of the neurosurgical training program. His four years in Richmond were extremely productive with completion of studies under electron microscopy of the arachnoid villi and the move from animal/laboratory experimentation to clinical trials with stereotaxic magnetic thrombosis aneurysms.
In 1971 Dr. Alksne moved to the new medical school at the University of California, San Diego where he remains to the present time. The initial task in San Diego was to develop an adequate clinical service in order to establish an academic neurosurgical program. At the same time, he continued his clinical experimentation with stereotaxic aneurysms thrombosis and developed an interest in studying the ultrastructure of experimental cerebral vasospasm. In less than 10 years the clinical service matured to the point that the Neurological Surgery residency training program was approved and instituted. The program has taken one resident per year since and it includes for all residents the opportunity to do basic research. This two year laboratory experience is now supported by an NIH training grant which allows the neurosurgical residents to devote full time attention to the laboratory in their area of selected interest.
Dr. Alksne served as Program Chairman for the Societys meeting in Rochester, Minnesota and hosted the Societys meeting in San Diego in 1993.
Dr. Alksne assumed the added responsibility of Dean of the School of Medicine in 1992 and then Vice Chancellor of Health Sciences in 1994 which made him responsible for both the School of Medicine and the Universitys two Hospitals. At that time, he resigned as director of the neurosurgery training program and the head of the division of neurosurgery, both of which were assigned to Dr. Lawrence Marshall in 1994. Dr. Alksnes administrative tenure ended in 1999 at which time he returned to full-time academic neurosurgery, doing primarily brain tumor, epilepsy, and cranial nerve surgery, teaching, and research.
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