Fund Purpose: To fund brain tumor research.
Kevin O. Lillehei, MD, FAANS was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on July 6, 1953. He received his BA degree from Cornell University in 1975 with a double major in Chemistry and Physics. Following graduation with honors, Dr Lillehei entered medical school at the University of Minnesota. During this period he was greatly influenced by Dr. Shelley Chou, his medical school advisor, Dr. Lyle French, and Dr. James Ausman. The interaction with these great neurosurgeons solidified his desire to pursue a career in Neurological Surgery.
Throughout his career, Dr. Lillehei has been the recipient of many awards and honors, including: Westinghouse Science Talent Search Winner (1985); Scholar - Virginia Concrete Foundation (1985-1989); Summer Student Fellowship - National Institutes of Health (1985-1987); Dean's List - University of Virginia (1986-1988); Pre-Medical Honor Society (1986-1989); Secretary - Phi Delta Theta Fraternity (1988-1989); Fellowship - Medical Scientist Training Program (1990-1998); Scholarship - ARCS Foundation (1992-1994); Junior Investigator Travel Award - American Epilepsy Society (1992-1995); 1st Place Predoctoral Division - Georgetown University Student Research Days (1993); Graduate Student Travel Award - 19th International Herpesvirus Workshop (1994); MCGSO Travel Award - 25th Annual Society for Neuroscience Meeting (1995); Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society - Georgetown Medical School (1997-1998); Medical Student Award in Pharmacology - Georgetown Medical School (1999-2000); and Fellowship - Neurosurgery Research & Education Foundation (2001-2003)
Following graduation in 1979, he was recruited to the University of Michigan by Dr. Richard Schneider. He subsequently completed his internship in General Surgery at the University of Michigan under Dr. Gerald Turcotte, followed by five years of Neurosurgery Residency under the guidance of Dr. Glenn Kindt and Dr. Julian Hoff.
After graduation in 1985, he followed Dr. Glenn Kindt, one of his mentors, to the University of Colorado. Starting as an assistant professor, Dr. Lillehei rose through the academic ranks at the University of Colorado under the guidance of Dr. Glenn Kindt, Dr. Ken Winston, Dr. Alden Harken (Chief of Surgery) and others.
During this time, he has been involved in numerous neurosurgical societies, including the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS). He is past-president of the Rocky Mountain Neurosurgical Society and the Colorado Neurosurgical Society and currently sits on the editorial board of the journal of Surgical Neurology. In 2006, he was named the Kindt-Ogsbury Professor of Neurosurgery and Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Colorado.
In 1983, Dr. Lillehei married Anne C. Hofmann in Ann Arbor, Michigan and has one daughter, Kira, born July 28, 1984.
Dr. Lillehei’s clinical interests center primarily around the treatment of central nervous system tumors; including pituitary tumors, benign and malignant gliomas, spinal cord tumors, acoustic neuromas and complex skull base lesions. He is also interested in the treatment of peripheral nerve lesions and runs a multi-disciplinary peripheral nerve injury clinic.
Dr Lillehei is Director of the Neurosurgery Neuro-Oncology Laboratory with his research interests revolving around the treatment of malignant gliomas. In particular, his interest has centered around the local intra-cranial tumor micro-environment and the role of the immune system in intracranial tumor recognition and irradication. He is actively exploring the use of various tumor vaccines as adjuvant therapy for the treatment of malignant glioma combined with local intracranial immune enhancement. His work has been supported by local and federal grant funding.
In 2005, Dr. Lillehei established the annual Aspen Symposium on Brain Tumor Immunotherapy, which attracts clinicians and basic scientists worldwide to share their work in this exciting area.
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