Dr. Robert J. White, author, scientist and renowned brain surgeon, will speak on "The Rise and Fall of the Human Brain" at Lakeland Community College on Wednesday, January 25, at 7:30 pm in H-101 as part of the Great Lakes Lecture Series. The Lecture Series is sponsored by Lakeland Community College, Lake Erie College, and the Lake Hospital System.
While Dr. White is noted for his pioneering work in neurosurgery, he has also advised Pope John Paul II''s Committee on Bioethics. He once told Scene Magazine, “I believe the brain tissue is the physical repository for the human soul.” He has lectured, consulted and operated extensively in this country, as well as China, Europe and Russia.
Dr. White is internationally known for his experience in clinical brain surgery and for his contributions to the basic understanding of the central nervous system. As a result of his laboratory investigations, a number of special techniques for operative neurosurgery have been developed and introduced, including those utilizing low temperature states. These have found worldwide application in treating acute cerebral and spinal cord injury and protecting the brain during intercranial surgery.
White''s first medical breakthrough was a technique of cooling the spinal cord that slowed down the damage enough so that doctors could operate on it. "We discovered that you can keep a human brain going without any circulation," he told Scene Magazine. "It''s dead for all practical purpose -- for over an hour -- then bring it back to life. If you want something that''s a little bit science fiction, that is it, man, that is it!
Dr. White is Professor of Neurological Surgery at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine (CWRU) and formerly Co-Chairman of Neurosurgery at CWRU School of Medicine. Until recently, he was Director of the Division of Neurosurgery and the Brain Research Laboratories at MetroHealth Medical Center. He is internationally known for his experience in clinical brain surgery and for his contributions to our basic understanding of the central nervous system. As a result of his laboratory investigations, a number of special techniques for operative neurosurgery have been developed and introduced, including those utilizing low temperature states. These have found worldwide application in treating acute cerebral and spinal cord injury and protecting the brain during intracranial surgery.
Dr. White and his research group were the first scientists to successfully isolate the mammalian brain and maintain it in a viable state utilizing an extracorporeal perfusion system. They were also the first in medical history to transplant and hypothermically store the brain of the experimental animal. These researches have documented the immunologically privileged state of the brain, as well as the unique protective effect of deep cooling of the nervous system during circulatory arrest. They have also documented the degree of reduction of the brain''s metabolic activity at various low temperatures.
Dr. White was born in Duluth, Minnesota and received his medical education at the University of Minnesota and Harvard University Medical School from which he was graduated with honors in 1953. In 1962, he was the recipient of a Ph.D. degree from the University of Minnesota. His entire college and postgraduate education was funded by scholarships. His training in both surgery and neurosurgery was undertaken at the Peter Bent Brigham and Children''s Hospitals in Boston, completing his surgical neurological education at the Mayo Clinic. He is a member of the foremost research and surgical societies in this country and Europe. He is a consultant to the Burdenko Institute of Neurosurgery in Moscow, the Polenov Neurosurgical Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the Ukrainian Research Institute of Neurosurgery in Kiev. He is the only foreign member of both Russian and Ukrainian Academies of Medical Science.
Dr. White has been received in Papal audiences on numerous occasions to discuss his clinical and experimental work and has been an advisory to the Holy Father on bioethical issues. He has been the recipient of several Papal Knighthood''s and numerous Honorary Doctorate Degrees and visiting professorships. In 1994, he was appointed a member of the prestigious Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
He is married to the former Patricia Murray of Boston. They have 10 children and reside in Shaker Heights, Ohio.
The Great Lakes Lecture Series is sponsored by Lakeland Community College, Lake Hospital System and Lake Erie College. A reception will follow Dr. White’s address.