Brains of the operation
Dr. Gelareh Zadeh

Most of Dr. Gelareh Zadeh’s surgeries involve her staring into a microscope for hours.

Dr. Gelareh Zadeh is a surgeon-scientist who excels in the research lab and the OR

On Christmas Day 2016, Chrissie Rejman’s dizziness got so bad that she was stumbling around the house. Her son – whom she affectionately calls Mr. Worrywart – declared he’d had enough of this six-month-old worsening health issue and called an ambulance.

An emergency room doctor told Rejman, who’s now 71, that he suspected she had an acoustic neuroma, which is a non-cancerous brain tumour that grows in the vestibular nerve in the inner ear, causing dizziness and also hearing loss. Indeed, hearing tests soon confirmed, to her surprise, that she’d lost a quarter of her hearing in her left ear. “You don’t really realize when you’re going deaf,” says Rejman.

Luckily, in early 2017, Rejman got a formal diagnosis and top-notch care from one of the best doctors in the country, Dr. Gelareh Zadeh, Head of the Division of Neurosurgery and the Division of Surgical Oncology in the Sprott Department of Surgery, the Wilkins Family Chair in Neurosurgical Brain Tumour Research, and the Medical Director of the Krembil Brain Institute. “She was terrific,” recalls Rejman of Dr. Zadeh.

Indeed, Dr. Zadeh is known as a rock star in neurosurgery. She specializes in some of the most complex neurosurgeries – removing skull-base tumours, of which acoustic neuromas are one – runs a busy and successful research lab, and still finds time to take leadership roles, including those at top international neurological medical organizations.