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Dr. Rolando Del Maestro, M.D., Ph.D., FRCS(C), FACS, DBNS, DABPNS

Director of the Neurosurgical Simulation Research and Training Centre, William Fiendel professor Emeritus in Neuro-Oncology


Dr. Del Maestro is the William Feindel Professor Emeritus in Neuro-Oncology at McGill University. As the Director of the Neurosurgery Simulation Research and Training Centre at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital at McGill University his research is focused on surgical simulation using the NeuroTouch platform. The research goal of his team is to improve global surgical education, surgical expertise, operative care and patient outcomes utilizing simulation technology in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada and multiple national and international research groups.

Dr Del Maestro along with his wife, Pam and Steve Northey founded and continue their work with the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. This organization is now a dynamic cross Canada organization fostering excellence in brain tumour patient care, patient support and research funding. Dr. Del Maestro retired as the Director of the Brain Tumor Research Centre and from his clinical practice in brain tumour surgery in 2012 which has given him more time to devote to his many interests including surgical simulation, Leonardo Da Vinci and the History of Medicine. He is the Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the Osler Library of the History of Medicine at McGill.

Dr Del Maestro has one of the largest private collections of materials related to Leonardo Da Vinci. Using this material he has curated a number of exhibitions related to Leonardo's art and anatomical interests as well as an exhibition on the History of Neuro-Oncology at the Osler Library at McGill University and Montreal’s Leonardo Da Vinci Centre. His book entitled A Relationship Etched in Time: Leonardo Da Vinci, The Earl of Arundel and Wenceslaus Hollar will be published by the McGill-Queens Press.

Website: Dr.Rolando Del Maestro


Dr. Abdulrahman Sabbagh, M.D., FRCS(C)

Visiting scientist and former fellow at the Neurosurgical Simulation Research and Training Centre, Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital

Dr. Sabbagh, MBBS, FRCSC, is currently Director of the Neurosurgical Residency Training program at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center and a member of the nationwide Neurosurgery Residency Training Committee at the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties. He was formerly an Assistant professor of Neurosurgery at King Saud University for Health Sciences, Riyadh Saudi Arabia, and a Pediatric and Epilepsy Neurosurgeon, at the National Neurosciences Institute (NNI), King Fahad Medical City (KFMC). He is collaborative researcher at the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada, Boucherville, Quebec, in addition to being a visiting scantest and fellow at Neurosurgical Simulation Research Centre. He is currently developing complex virtual reality simulation scenarios and related metrics and benchmarks with the help of the engineers, scientists and researchers in both institutions. Dr. Sabbagh coauthored and coedited four neurosurgery books: Neurosurgery Case Review (2009), Neurosurgery rounds (2011), Neurosurgery Tricks of the Trade: Cranial (2013) and Neurosurgery Tricks of the Trade: Spine and Peripheral Nerves (2014). He authored over forty articles and book chapters. Dr. Sabbagh has held several education and administrative positions in the past including; program director of neurosurgery residency training program at NNI, Chairman of the neurosurgery department at NNI. In addition he was an executive committee member and headed education and training in the Saudi Association of Neurological Surgeons. His latest responsibility was directing the scholarship and postgraduate administration at KFMC where he ran over 50 residency and fellowship programs. KFMC has an existing Neurosurgical Simulation Unit that he champions. The medical city is currently building a world-class simulation Institution, CRESNT (Center of Research on Education, Simulation and Training).

Areas of Interest: Health professions education, Virtual Reality Simulation for education aHealth professions education, Virtual Reality Simulation for education and assessment, epilepsy surgery and Pediatric and developmental Neurosurgery, History of Neurosurgery.


Dr. Marcelo Magaldi Ribeiro De Oliveira, M.D., Ph.D.

Research Project Description: 
To develop and validate ex vivo, perfused, biological simulation models to be employed for assessment and training of students dependent on their level of surgical expertise. Basic surgical techniques can be used for the training of medical students and residents in postgraduate year one (PGY1). Intermediate surgical exercises are used for training of PGY2 and PGY3 residents. The focus of these systems will be the training of advanced microsurgical skills to PGY4-6 residents.

The creation of these hybrid biological models which compliment concurrent validity carried out by virtual reality simulator systems and operative surgery will be critical to the development of modern surgical simulation education.


Dr. Hamed Azarnoush, PhD

Visiting scientist (summer 2015) and Fellow (August 2011 - August 2013) at the Neurosurgical Simulation Research and Training Centre, Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital.

Dr. Azarnoush received his PhD in engineering from McGill University. During his PhD studies he worked with the National Research Council Canada (NRC). He continued collaborating with NRC as a fellow at the Neurosurgical Simulation Centre, Montreal Neurological Institute.

During his fellowship, he worked on the novel concept of surgical skill assessment using NeuroTouch, designing simulation scenarios and novel performance metrics. This work laid the foundation for execution of several projects and a sequence of trials that have been reported in various articles.


Sommer Christie, BSc, MHK, PhD Candidate

Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary

Sommer Christie’s doctoral research focuses on the how the brain and body are linked to performance. Specifically, her research explores, a)  the psychophysiological profiles of elite performers (e.g., athletes and neurosurgeons) during performance, b) how EEG and other physiological parameters  (i.e., heart rate, respiration rate, skin conductance, peripheral body temperature, and muscle tension) linked to the sympathetic nervous system stress response are related to performance, and c) whether biofeedback and neurofeedback training improves an individual’s ability to self-regulate physiologically (stress) and neurologically (attention), and therefore enhance performance. 




  Dr. Khalid Bajunaid

M.Sc. Student, Department of Experimental Surgery, McGill University


Thesis Title: Acute Stress Impacts Psychomotor Bimanual Performance During Simulated Tumor Resection Task

Accepted for publication, Journal of Neurosurgery

M.Sc. Department of Experimental Surgery, July 2015

Dr. Bajunaid's studies have focused on the influence of stress on neurosurgical performance using the NeuroTouch Simulator Platform.

Dr. Fahad Alotaibi

Neurosurgery Resident, McGill University
M.Sc. Student, Department of Experimental Surgery, McGill University


Thesis Title: Assessing Bimanual Performance in Brain Tumour Resection using Novel Virtual Reality Simulator NeuroTouch

MSc. Department of Experimental Surgery, July 2014

Collaborating with Sim lab team, primary developer of "Neurosurgical Assessment of Judgment and Dexterity (NAJD)" metrics and software to extract the metrics directly from NeuroTouch data output.


Dr. Gmaan Al-Zhrani

Neurosurgery Resident, McGill University
Master of Arts in Education Psychology, Department of Education, McGill University


Thesis Title: A Validation Study of a Virtual-Reality Neurosimulator (NeuroTouch) in Neurosurgical Training

M.A. Educational Psychology - Health Profession Education Stream, July 2014

Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology
Co-Supervised with Dr. Susanne Lajoie

Interest: Special interest in studying Neurosurgical expertise and measuring surgical skills objectively. Developed benchmarks for a set of novel metrics based on a group of board certified neurosurgeons performance during simulated brain tumor resections using the NeuroTouch. This research can be used to shift the neurosurgery training program from a competency-based model into a a profeciency-based model for the purpose of faster neurosurgical skills aquisition and maintenance.


Robin Sawaya, BSc

B.Sc. Neuroscience (Computer Science), McGill University (2012-2015)

M.Sc. Student, Integrated Program in Neuroscience, McGill University (2015-2017)



Dr. Abdulgadir F. Bugdadi, MBBS

M.Sc. Student, Department of Experimental Surgery, McGill University (2016)

Teaching assistant, Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Umm AlQura, Makkah Almukarramah, Saudi Arabia



Dr. Ghusn Alsidieri

M.Sc. Student, Department of Expertimental Surgery, McGill University (2016-2017)

Project: A validation study of novel metrics during the simulated Uni\Bilateral laminectomy by drilling.






Dr. Alexander Winkler-Schwartz

Neurosurgery Resident, McGill University


In the era of evidence-based medicine, high-quality research informs every aspect of patient care. Up until now, the technical skills underlying the operative procedures that patients undergo have been hardly studied, essentially, due to poor or under-developed research methodology. Currently, as a neurosurgical resident and member of the Neurosurgical Simulation Research and Training Centre I am pursuing validation studies in the novel field of neurosurgical simulation, with the goal of achieving concurrent validity for simulation technology in neurosurgery; a crucial step in making simulators an integral part of resident technical skill development and consultant surgeon patient-specific operative rehearsal.
Ultimately, I anticipate these interventions will improve the quality of surgical care delivered to patients’ burdened by neurological disease.
  Dr. Ibrahim Marwa

Research Assistant, Neurosurgical Simulation Research and Training Centre

  Dr. Alessandro Perin

Collaborator, C. Besta
Milan, Italy

  Duaa Olwi, BHSc, MSc

Visiting Epidemiologist & Biostatistician
Saudi Arabia







Jawad Fares

Visiting Medical Student, American University of Beirut
Beirut, Lebanon


Note to medical students - Jawad Fares

Note to medical students 2 - Jawad Fares

Neurosurgery in Lebanon - Youssef Fares & Jawad Fares

  Marta Baggiani

Visiting Medical Student, University of Pavia
Pavia, Italy

  Antonio Maltese

Visiting Medical Student, University Vita e Salute San Raffaele
Milan, Italy


Note to medical students - Antonio Maltese
  Mohammed Hasen

Visiting Medical Student, Dammam University
Dammam, Saudi Arabia

  Norah Alarifi

Visiting Medical Student, Alfaisal University
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


Note to medical students - Norah Alarifi
  Sarah McAdam

Visiting Mechanical Engineering Student, Newcastle University
United Kingdom

  Amy Haddlesey

Visiting Science Student, Queen's University
Kingston, Ontario

  Aysha Alsahlawi

Visiting Medical Student, King Faisal University
Hofuf, Saudi Arabia


Sara Venturini

Visiting Medical Student, Leicester University
United Kingdom


Note to medical students - Sara Venturini


Aden Deitcher

Visiting Student, Queen's University
Kingston, Ontario, Canada



Yuchen Zheng

Visiting Medical Student, University of St Andrews


Note to medical students - Yuchen Zheng



Praveena Deekonda

Visiting Medical Student, University of Exeter Medical School
United Kingdom




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