School of Medicine


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  • Stephen Lawrence McKenna, MD

    Stephen Lawrence McKenna, MD

    Clinical Professor (Affiliated) [Scvmc], Neurosurgery

    Bio Dr. Stephen McKenna is a founding member of the Stanford Partnership for Spinal Cord Injury and Repair. He is currently the Chief of the Rehabilitation Trauma Center; as well as, the site director of the Advanced SCI Medicine Fellowship at SCVMC.

    As a Neurocritical Care physician, Dr. McKenna specializes in ventilator-dependent Spinal Cord and Traumatic Brain Injury, as well as neuromuscular diseases. He has led first-in-human clinical trials ranging from vaccines for HIV to stem cell-derived oligodendrocyte progenitor cell-based therapies for SCI. Dr. McKenna is Chairman of the Respiratory Section of the International Standards to Document Autonomic Function after SCI (ISAFSCI) and co-chair of the American Spinal Cord Injury Association (ASIA) Research Education Subcommittee.

    Clinical Focus:
    Spinal Cord Injury
    Traumatic Brain Injury
    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
    Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS)
    Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis
    Neuromyelitis Optica (Devic disease)

    Professional Education:
    Board Certification: Neurocritical Care, UCNS (2008)
    Board Certification: Internal Medicine, ABIM (2005)
    Internship & Residency: Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (2002,2005)
    Medical Education: Stanford University School of Medicine (2002)

    Book Chapter:
    Shah A, Shem K, McKenna SL, Berlly M. Management of Respiratory Failure in Spinal Cord Injury. Spinal Cord Medicine (Hardcover) by Steven, M.D. Kirshblum (Editor) Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2011

    Selected Publications:
    Exploration of surgical blood pressure management & expected motor recovery in individuals with traumatic SCI.
    Ehsanian R, et al, McKenna SL.
    Spinal Cord. 2020 Mar;58(3):377-386. PMID: 31649323

    A Novel Pharyngeal Clearance Maneuver for Initial Tracheostomy Tube Cuff Deflation in High Cervical Tetraplegia.
    Ehsanian R, et al, McKenna S.
    Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2019 Sep;98(9):835-838. PMID: 30973517

    Burden of Care Implications & Association of Intracranial Hypertension with Extremely Severe Post-traumatic Amnesia After TBI: A 5-Year Retrospective Longitudinal Study.
    Quach NT, et al
    Front Neurol. 2019 Jan 29;10:34. PMID: 30761071

    Venous Thromboembolism is Associated with Lack of Vitamin D Supplementation in Patients with SCI & Low Vitamin D Levels.
    Ehsanian R, et al
    PM R. 2019 Feb;11(2):125-134. PMID: 30300766

    Pulmonary outcomes following specialized respiratory management for acute cervical SCI: a retrospective analysis.
    Zakrasek EC, et al, McKenna SL
    Spinal Cord, 2017; Feb 21. PMID: 28220822

    Dose Response Effect of Exposure to Hypotension on Expected Neurological Recovery in Individuals with Traumatic SCI.
    ARCHIVES OF PM&R
    Reza, E., et al, McKenna, S.
    2016: DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2016.09.016

    Combined SCI & TBI: recovery of forelimb function after unilateral cervical SCI is retarded by contralateral traumatic brain injury (TBI), & ipsilateral TBI balances the effects of SCI on paw placement.
    EXPERIMENTAL NEUROLOGY
    Inoue T, et al.
    2013 Oct 248: 136-47. PMID: 23770071

    Functional electrical stimulation in SCI respiratory care.
    TOPICS IN SPINAL CORD REHAB.
    R Jarosz, et al, S McKenna
    2012:Vol. 18, No. 4, 315-321. PMID: 23459661

    Impact of mean arterial blood pressure during the first seven days post SCI.
    TOPICS IN SPINAL CORD REHAB.
    J Cohn, et al
    2010: DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1310/sci1503-96

    Successful Pregnancy & Delivery in a C1 ASIA A spinal cord injured Woman: The Role of Coordinated Care Between PM&R & Obstetrics Services: A Case Report.
    PM&R
    Lin C, et al
    2010: DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pmrj.2010.07.461

    The impact of project closure on HIV incidence and mortality in a cohort of couples in Lusaka, Zambia.
    AIDS CARE
    Stephenson R, et al
    2008 Jul;20(6):683-91. PMID: 18576170

    Rapid HIV testing & counseling for voluntary testing centers in Africa.
    AIDS
    McKenna SL et al
    1997 Sep;11 Suppl 1:S103-10. PMID: 9376093

  • Ryan Nitta

    Ryan Nitta

    Sr Res Scientist-Basic Life, Neurosurgery

    Current Role at Stanford The main project of the Li lab is to elucidate the signaling pathways responsible for maintaining and initiating brain tumor growth. Previously the Li lab has identified an interesting protein, known as casein kinase 2, which plays an integral role in adult brain tumor growth. My goal is to expand on this initial finding and determine if casein kinase 2 could be a therapeutically relevant drug target in adult brain tumors and whether this protein plays a role in pediatric brain tumors. The role of the candidate would be the lead researcher on these projects, as well as managing and leading the undergraduate and medical students in the lab. In addition, I am responsible for maintaining the laboratory and assisting in grant writing.

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