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Brain Surgery Team

Richard W. Byrne, MD

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Richard W. Byrne, MD, is a board-certified neurosurgeon who specializes in surgical treatment for epilepsy, skull base surgery, brain tumor surgery, trigeminal neuralgia and radiosurgery.

Byrne has been involved in a number of epilepsy and brain tumor surgery trials and has conducted basic science research in epileptogenesis and brain tumor genetics. He has authored more than 100 manuscripts, book chapters and two textbooks on these subjects. 

Byrne is an active member of many professional societies, including the following:

  • President, Rush Surgical Society
  • President, Chicago Neurological Society
  • President, Illinois State Neurosurgical Society
  • President-elect, Neurosurgical Society of America
  • Chairman, Board of Directors of the Interurban Neurosurgical Society
  • Board of Directors, Congress of Neurological Surgeons

He has been in practice for 19 years and has performed more than 2,000 brain tumor operations and epilepsy surgeries.

Rory Breslin-Sani, APN

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Rory Breslin-Sani, APN, is an acute care nurse practitioner with more than 10 years of experience in critical care and neurosurgery nursing, working both at Rush University Medical Center and Rush-Copley Medical Center. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Villanova University and Master of Nursing Science with certification from Rush University.

Breslin-Sani is a published author of a peer-reviewed journal on the building of neuroscience integrated care units. She has also performed research on patient outcomes after implementation of new devices and hospital protocols as well as hospital-acquired pressure ulcer prevalence.

Breslin-Sani is a member of the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses, American Association of Critical Care Nurses, and American College of Nurse Practitioners. She is certified in neuroscience and critical care nursing.

Michael Chen, MD

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Michael Chen, MD, is a board-certified physician with appointments in the departments of neurology, neurosurgery and radiology.  

Chen's practice focuses on minimally invasive, endovascular treatments of brain and spinal cord vascular disease. Specifically, he is involved in the study and treatment of cerebral aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations of the brain and spine, intracranial atherosclerosis, carotid artery stenosis, acute stroke thrombolysis and preoperative tumor embolization of the brain and spine.

He has been in practice at Rush for 10 years and has been awarded grants to study cerebral aneurysms in women and treatments for memory loss after cerebral aneurysm rupture.

He has authored more than 70 peer-reviewed scientific papers and is an editor for the "Journal of Neurointerventional Surgery."

R. Webster Crowley, MD

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R. Webster Crowley, MD, is a board-certified endovascular neurosurgeon who has expertise in the treatment of brain aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations, carotid stenosis, and stenting for pseudotumor cerebri.

Crowley is a fellowship-trained endovascular surgeon who received his medical degree from the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington D.C. His training consists of neurological surgery residency at University of Virginia, a neurological surgery fellowship at Auckland City Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand, and an endovascular fellowship at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona.

He is currently a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, AANS/CNS Section on Cerebrovascular Surgery, the American Heart Association, and the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery.

Katherine Fasullo, BSN, RN

Katherine Fasullo, BSN, RN, Department of Neurosurgery, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago

Katherine Fasullo (Katie), BSN, RN, is a nurse clinical coordinator at University Neurosurgery. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at the University of Delaware in 2009. She began her career in Washington, DC, where she spent one year on a medical/behavioral health unit and four years in a surgical intensive care unit as a bedside nurse.

Fasullo then joined Rush in the Medical intensive care unit where she worked for two years before becoming a member of the neurosurgical team. She is a certified critical care nurse (CCRN). In addition, she has certifications in advanced life support (BLS, ACLS) and administering the NIH stroke scale (NIHSS).

Fasullo works primarily with Sepehr Sani, MD, Michael Chen, MD, Demetrius Lopes, MD, and R. Webster Crowley, MD.

Robyn Mudro Flanders, RN, MS, CS-ACNP, CNRN

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Robyn Mudro Flanders, RN, MS, CS-ACNP, CNRN, has more than 20 years of experience in neurosurgical nursing. She has worked in many areas of neurosurgical nursing, including as a staff nurse in the intensive care unit, a head nurse, a clinical nurse specialist and her current position as a nurse practitioner and clinical manager of University Neurosurgery.

She achieved her certification as an acute care nurse practitioner in 1997 from University of Illinois at Chicago. She is also a certified neuroscience nurse (CNRN).

Flanders is an accomplished speaker and has presented nationally on areas related to neurosurgery and neurosurgical nursing. She is involved in clinical research projects related to evaluation and treatment of neurosurgical patients.

She works primarily with Lorenzo Muñoz, MD.

Kiffon Keigher, RN, MSN, ACPN

Kiffon Keigher, RN, MSN, ACPN, is a nurse practitioner with many years of experience in neurosurgery and neuroscience nursing. 

She has been at Rush University Medical Center since 2003. She worked for seven years as a neuroscience intensive care unit nurse before starting her career as an advanced practice nurse.

Keigher has certification as an acute care nurse practitioner, a certified neuroscience nurse (CNRN) and a certified critical care nurse (CCRN). In addition, she has certifications in advanced life support (BLS, ACLS, PALS) and administering the NIH stroke scale (NIHSS).

She is published in the journal "Endovascular Today." Keigher works primarily with Demetrius Lopes, MD.

Demetrius Lopes, MD

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Demetrius Lopes, MD, is board-certified in neurosurgery. He is the director of neuroendovascular surgery at Rush. He is highly skilled in neuroendovascular therapy, an innovative approach to treating brain and spinal cord diseases from inside the blood vessels.

He specializes in the revascularization (restoration of blood circulation) in the brain, including the treatment of brain aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations, cerebral ischemia, stroke and the conditions leading to stroke.

Lopes has written many articles and chapters on various aspects of neuroendovasclar therapy, including carotid stenting.

Lopes began his medical education in 1987 at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Lopes joined Rush University Medical Center in 2001.

Beth McLaughlin, RN, MSN, AG-ACNP

Beth McLaughlin, RN, MSN, AG-ACNP, Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago

Beth McLaughlin, RN, MSN, AG-ACNP, is an acute care nurse practitioner who started with University Neurosurgery in October 2015. She has spent the last five years as a critical care medical/surgical intensive care nurse. She has experience with acute stroke neurology, cardiology, ICU/critical care and urology. 

McLaughlin received a Master of Nursing Science degree, specializing in acute care from the University of Illinois-Chicago. She is a member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and American Association of Critical Care Nurses. She also has certification from the Society of Critical Care Medicine. In addition, she has certifications in advanced life support (BLS, ACLS) and administering the NIH stroke scale (NIHSS) and emergency neurological life support (ENLS) protocols.

Lorenzo F. Muñoz, MD

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Lorenzo F. Muñoz, MD, a board-certified neurosurgeon, received his medical degree from the Ponce School of Medicine in Puerto Rico.

Muñoz treats intracranial pathology, with particular emphasis on complex brain and spinal cord tumors and cerebrovascular disease such as aneurysms, cavernous malformation and arteriovenous malformations. He is also experienced in the treatment of congenital conditions like Chiari I malformation and spinal dysmorphysm.

In partnership with radiation oncologist Aidnag Diaz, MD, MPH, Munoz developed a dedicated phone number for patients or loved ones who have been diagnosed with metastatic brain cancer, (312) RUSH-MET (787-4638). This number is answered by Muñoz or Diaz for a personalized consultation of treatment options to combat this disease and preserve quality of life.

Sepehr Sani, MD

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Sepehr Sani, MD, is a board-certified neurosurgeon. Sani has completed fellowships in stereotactic, functional and epilepsy neurosurgery.

His areas of clinical interest include deep brain stimulation, vagal nerve stimulation, microvascular decompression, epilepsy surgery, temporal lobectomy, corpus callosotomy and hemispherectomy.

In addition, Sani is interested in surgical treatments for Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, dystonia, Tourette syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, headaches, epilepsy, trigeminal neuralgia, hemifacial spasm and obesity.

His research interests include deep brain stimulation for the treatment of depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and vegetative state.  He is also involved in neuromodulation for the treatment of morbid obesity. 

Rey Vela, RN

Rey Vela, RN, nurse clinician, University Neurosurgery, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago

Rey Vela, RN, is a nurse clinician in University Neurosurgery. He believes strongly in Rush’s commitment to provide high quality compassionate care. Vela received his Bachelor of Science in nursing in 2011 from University of Illinois-Chicago.

He started in July 2015 with University Neurosurgery and worked the previous four years in the hospital at Rush University Medical Center’s neuroscience department.

Vela works primarily with Richard Byrne, MD, and Lorenzo Muñoz, MD.

Margaret Yesko, RN, MSN, APN

Margaret Yesko, RN, MSN, APN, nurse practitioner, Department of Neurological Surgery

Margaret Yesko, RN, MSN, APN, is an accomplished nurse practitioner who has been at Rush University Medical Center for 17 years. She has extensive experience in both neurology and neurosurgery.

She completed her Bachelor of Science in nursing at Marquette University and her Master of Science of nursing with certification as an adult nurse practitioner at Rush University.

She is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses.

Yesko works primarily with Richard Byrne, MD.