Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, M.D., also well-known as "Dr. Q," is a consultant and serves as chair of the Department of Neurologic Surgery at Mayo Clinic in Florida. Dr. Quiñones-Hinojosa joined the staff of Mayo Clinic in August 2016 and is recognized with the distinction of a named professorship, the William J. and Charles H. Mayo Professorship.
Dr. Quiñones-Hinojosa earned his B.A. in psychology at the University of California–Berkeley and his M.D. at Harvard Medical School, where he graduated cum laude. He completed an internship in general surgery, postdoctoral fellowship in developmental and stem cell biology, and residency in neurosurgery at the University of California, San Francisco.
Dr. Quiñones-Hinojosa’s clinical interests are surgical treatment of primary and metastatic brain tumors with emphasis in motor and speech mapping during surgery, as well as treatment of patients with pituitary tumors and skull base tumors using minimally invasive approaches. He leads NIH-funded research to cure brain cancer.
His research focuses on brain tumors and stem cell migration, healthcare disparities for minorities and clinical outcomes for neurosurgical patients. Currently, he has 11 submitted patents and started a new company named Sidera Medicine, LLC. Furthermore, he is frequently invited to give presentations on his research to both national and international audiences, and he has authored numerous journal articles, book chapters, abstracts and other written publications. He is an editorial board member and reviewer for several prominent publications. Most notably, Dr. Quiñones is the Editor-in-Chief for one of the most well-respected and widely read operative neurosurgical textbooks in the world –Schmidek and Sweet’s Operative Neurosurgical Techniques (6thedition). As well, he is one of the authors for–Controversies in Neuro-Oncology, which was awarded first
prize by the British Medical Association.
In recognition of his work, Dr. Quiñones-Hinojosa has received many awards and honors, including being named as one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in 2008, the 2014 Gary Lichtenstein Humanitarian Award and Neurosurgeon of the Year, and by the 2015 Forbes Magazine as one of Mexico’s most brilliant minds in the world. He has received honorary degrees from Southern Vermont College, Lackawanna College, Dominican University, University of Notre Dame and Loyola University.
In addition, he has published an autobiography, “Becoming Dr. Q,” about his journey from migrant farm worker to neurosurgeon and recently Annapurna with Plan B Entertainment productions announced that his inspirational life story is going to be featured in a movie.
Besides his clinical and research activities, Dr. Quiñones-Hinojosa is active in education and provides mentorship to many postdoctoral fellows.
Dr. Quiñones-Hinojosa is co-founder and serves as president of mission:brain, Bridging Resources and Advancing International Neurosurgery a 501 (c)(3) non-profit foundation. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Voices Against Brain Cancer, and he is co-chair of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons Tumor Section International Committee. Moreover, he serves on many study sections of the National Institutes of Health, including being chair of meeting sessions.
Michael T. Lawton MD is the chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the Barrow Neurological Institute, as well as its President and Chief Executive Officer and the Robert F. Spetzler Endowed Chair in Neurosciences. He is chief of vascular and skull base neurosurgery, specializing in the surgical treatment of aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations, arteriovenous fistulas, cavernous malformations, and cerebral revascularization, including carotid endarterectomy. As chief of one of the busiest cerebrovascular services in the country, he has experience in surgically treating over 4200 brain aneurysms and over 800 AVMs. He is also practices the endovascular treatment of aneurysms and skull base tumor surgery.
Dr. Lawton co-directs and conducts his research at the Barrow Aneurysm and AVM Research Center, a collaborative research group funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health that investigates the physiology of cerebral circulation and the pathophysiology of vascular malformations. His basic science investigations study the formation, underlying genetics, and rupture of brain AVMs, as well as the hemodynamics, rupture, and computational modeling of brain aneurysms. His clinical investigations study the anatomy of microsurgical approaches to vascular lesions and the outcomes of aneurysm, AVM, and bypass surgery. He is the principle investigator of a NIH U54 grant and program director of the Brain Vascular Malformation Consortium (BVMC), a multicenter group studying malformations associated with Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia, cavernous malformations, and Sturge Weber Syndrome.
He has published over 450 peer-reviewed articles, over 70 book chapters, and 3 textbooks, including Seven AVMs: Tenets and Techniques for Resection and Seven Aneurysms: Tenets and Techniques for Clipping, which has won numerous awards and sold more copies than Yasargil’s Microneurosurgery. His awards include the Young Neurosurgeon Award from the World Federation of Neurological Societies, the Harold Rosegay Teaching Award, and the Diane Ralston Clinical and Basic Science Teaching Award. He has given over 600 invited lectures nationally and internationally, including visiting professorships at over 40 neurosurgical institutions. He has been active in resident teaching, directing the CNS Anatomy Course for Senior Residents, co-directing the AANS Vascular Skills Course, and directing industry-sponsored anatomy courses. He sponsors an observership in vascular neurosurgery that has hosted more the 100 neurosurgeons and residents nationally and internationally. He co-founded mission:brain, a teaching mission to raise the level of neurosurgery practiced in developing countries, and has conducted 7 missions in Mexico and the Philippines.
April Sabangan is an Operating Room Nurse specializing in Neurosurgery at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center and has been practicing for over 20 years. She's been deeply involved in training nurses and residents for many years and has been a recipient of the Teaching and Service Awards. She is a member of the Department of Neurosurgery's Diversity Committee, aiming to promote diversity and improve representation. As part of this effort, she is also the O.R. liaison and mentor for the Oasis for Girls, a program devoted to providing girls 14-17 years old with exposure to health care and STEM careers.
Ms. Sabangan's pursuit of improving access to educational opportunities has also led to her involvement with Backpacks for the Future. She serves as secretary to this nonprofit that provides backpacks with school supplies to grade school children in rural areas in the Philippines. Additionally, she's worked as an operating room capacity-building volunteer in Ethiopia with Footsteps to Healing, and project liaison for a blood banking project in the Philippines with Global Healing. She has also volunteered with Operation Rainbow in Haiti and with Habitat for Humanity in Jordan.
Born and raised in the Philippines, she received her Nursing education and training in a large public hospital caring for some of the poorest in the country. Her first-hand experience in health care delivery disparities has galvanized her commitment towards improving access and quality of care in underserved and underdeveloped areas.
She is an avid traveler who has been to 30 countries and all seven continents. She is also an amateur photographer and a member of the San Francisco Women Artists Gallery. Finally, she likes to call herself the slowest but the most determined marathoner who believes showing up, and persevering to finish the race no matter the challenges, even if you finish last, is just as important as finishing first.
Being with Mission:BRAIN since its inception, April is deeply intimate in its development and growth. She is as committed now as she was from the very beginning to making Mission:BRAIN a global organization that creates positive, lasting, impactful change in the community it serves. She wants to ensure that those who are part of the Mission:BRAIN community can reach their full potential to achieve their mission statement to treat, educate, and empower.
Will Aarsheim is Managing Partner of Q Surgical, Northern California’s largest distributor of neurosurgical instruments and products. Will’s career has been focused on neurosurgical equipment distribution since the year 2000. In 2009, after learning of the admirable work of the many neurosurgeons who dedicate their time and resources to helping patients in areas around the world where neurosurgery care is not widely available, Will founded the Circle of Willis Foundation in an effort to support neurosurgeons engaged in bringing top quality neurosurgical care to overextended health care systems and their patients world-wide. In 2011 he helped launch the mission:brain foundation, the mission of which is closely aligned to his Circle of Willis Foundation, and since that time he has focused his surgical philanthropic efforts solely with mission:brain.
As a neurosurgical products distributor, Will is able to use his industry connections to obtain donations or lowest cost products in support of mission:brain’s overseas missions. In addition, due to his experience in the neurosurgical instrument/product field, he is in a unique position to use his expertise to understand and fill the equipment needs of the hospitals served by mission:brain. Will also serves as mission:brain's Treasurer.
Will’s philanthropic interests outside the world of neurosurgery include serving on the Board of Legal Aid of Marin, the mission of which is to provide access to the civil justice system to low income, vulnerable and otherwise underserved residents of Marin County.
In his personal life Will resides in Corte Madera with his two sons. He enjoys kayaking, sailing, and mountain biking and has run over sixty ultra-marathons.
Paola Suarez-Meade, M.D.
My name is Paola Suarez Meade, I was born and raised in Mexico City. I decided to go to medical school at Anahuac University in Mexico with the desire to help others and earned my degree in 2020. After
graduating, I became a post-doctoral research fellow at the Department of Neurological Surgery in Mayo
Clinic Florida, where I study brain cancer under the mentorship of Dr. Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa.
I first joined the Mission:BRAIN team in 2016, as I was given the opportunity to participate during the
outreach trips in Mexico City. In 2020, I became and active volunteer for the Foundation. My role is to
facilitate communication with our Latin-American partners, to help with the organization of our virtual
educational and fundraising events, our board meetings, our new student chapters, and – once the
COVID pandemic allows us to travel – organize Missions in different countries. I’m very passionate about contributing to Mission:BRAIN and to continue to do so, I am pursuing a career in neurosurgery to be
able to assist our patients as a treating physician in the future.
Juan Pablo Navarro is a dedicated research fellow on Dr. Q's esteemed team at Mayo Clinic Florida. Holding an MD degree from Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, Juan Pablo's passion lies in the realms of vascular and neurooncological brain surgery, as well as his unwavering commitment to global neurosurgical care. His journey with mission:brain began in 2021 when he established a chapter at his university, setting the stage for his tireless involvement. Since then, he has been instrumental in helping the foundation expand its horizons in Latin America, creating new connections and guiding students toward our three main goals: treating, educating, and empowering. Juan Pablo's path forward is equally promising as he takes on the role of Global Outreach Coordinator, where he will help unify the efforts of all student chapters worldwide and elevate our mission to the next level.
Taimur is the founding President of the Texas A&M Medical School chapter of Mission:BRAIN and currently serves in multiple positions of leadership both in and outside his medical school. He is currently wrapping up his pre-clerkship year at his school and pursuing research opportunities while studying for his licensing exams.
As a first-generation immigrant from Pakistan, Taimur is the first in his family to attend college. Before medical school, he graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and went on to complete a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) at UT Health Science Center in Houston. He has also been part of different societies, including the Planetary Society. Taimur pursued medicine as it has always been his passion, and wanted to have an individualized medical approach after studying a public perspective. He also completed a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) at the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University through the MD+ Plus Program. His diverse experiences in business, public health, research, and now medicine allow him to work at the intersection of health disparities, innovation, and education. He is also working with multiple companies operating in the medical innovation sector, including the Neurosurgical Atlas, ParaDocs Health, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Ai-Ris, and Lilia Biotechnology, and has been part of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons Medical Student Subcommittee.
I am a final year medical student, who aspires to be a cardiologist and an idealist. I believe in the power of human-kind. I’m a sports enthusiast and enjoy photography. Interacting with people from diverse cultures is something I adore. Join me in my mission to create a better future place.
Adrian is currently a 6th year medical student at Humanitas University in Milan, awarded with a merit-based scholarship. He is the founder of the first Mission:BRAIN European chapter at Humanitas, and he recently was nominated Regional Director of MB Europe.
His greatest dream is to combine both the clinical and the research side of Neuroscience, and he has joined this unique translational approach by working in Dr.Q’s team at Mayo Clinic Florida. He would like to contribute to the humanitarian field of global neurosurgery by empowering and promoting the network of medical students around the world, as he truly believes that building bridges is the key to have a meaningful impact on the community
Juan Carlos Gutiérrez is currently a medical student at UAG, and throughout the course of his life, he has cultivated a deep fascination for the field of neurosurgery. The intricacies of the human brain have captured his curiosity, propelling him toward a path of perpetual personal growth and learning.
Rooted in a strong sense of altruism, he aspires to utilize his passion for neurosurgery to one day make a meaningful and selfless contribution to society.
As the Regional Director for LATAM at Mission:BRAIN Foundation, it further solidifies his commitment to advancing neurological healthcare in the region.