Birra Taha, MD

Resident PGY3, Department of Neurosurgery

Birra Taha

Contact Info

MD, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY

BS, Mathematics, Ohio State University, Columbus


Most recently, Dr. Taha served as the Neurosurgery Department’s research coordinator, helping department researchers meet the requirements of the U’s Institutional Review Board, a critical step toward getting research projects off the ground.

While participating in the Areas of Concentration Program at Weill Cornell, Dr. Taha worked with the Pediatric Surgery Department to develop a low-cost 3D-printable laparoscopic grasper that can be assembled from 3D-printed components. The Areas of Concentration Program provides dedicated time designed to enrich the medical school experience by requiring each student to select an Area of Concentration in which to obtain in-depth knowledge, skills and scholarly effort. Dr. Taha also participated in a two-month-long bio-design seminar that exposed members of the Weill Cornell community to medical device design.

He earned his BS in Mathematics from Ohio State University in Columbus, graduating Magna Cum Laude. While an undergraduate, Dr. Taha was a Nationwide Insurance Corporate Connections Scholar, and a Todd A. Bell Resource Center Scholar.

Dr. Taha is a student member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and has volunteered with the following organizations:

  • Machine Learning Interest Group
  • Tech-in-Medicine
  • Travelers Summer Research Fellowship
  • Students for Equal Opportunity in Medicine.

He has published or submitted for publishing 3 journal articles and was first author on two. Dr. Taha has also shared his work during an oral and a poster presentation. He is multilingual and when he has some spare time, Dr. Taha enjoys soccer, pick-up basketball and cooking.

Professional Associations

  • American Association of Neurological Surgeons (student member)


Research Summary/Interests

While earning his MD from Weill Cornell Medicine, Dr. Taha completed a dedicated year of research as the Rudin Fellow in Pediatric Neuro-Oncology, under the combined supervision of the Departments of Neurosurgery and Physiology and Biophysics. As a result of this work, he completed the following projects:

  • Explored and analyzed open repositories housing RNA-seq and microarray datasets to uncover new markers for Tumor-Associated Macrophages (TAMs). An article about the project is currently being prepared for submission
  • Used single cell transcriptome profiling as well as DNA methylation sequencing in a mouse model for glioma with pre/post radiation treatment
  • Developed a novel actuation mechanism to store and relay ventriculoperitoneal shunt function data. Presented as an oral presentation at the 2nd Annual CTSC Weill Cornell Hackathon
  • Developed a laparoscopic training system to allow surgical trainees to train in realistic OR scenarios.

Research Funding Grants

  • Rudin Foundation Fellow in Pediatric Neuro-Oncology, 2017-2018 ($32,000)
  • New York Society for Vascular Surgery, Device Innovation Grant, 2016-17 ($5,000)
  • Clinical & Translational Science Center (CTSC) Research Fellow, 2015 ($1,500)
  • UMN Updraft Funding, 2019 ($7,500)



Peer Reviewed Journal Articles/Abstracts

  1. Greenfield, J.P., Maachani, U, Taha, B & Bareja, R, Wang, K, Sboner, A, Haussner, T, Hoffman, CE, Mason, CE, Souweidane, M, Elemento, O, Pisapia, D, Rajappa, P. 217 Precision Sequencing Algorithm in Pediatric Neurosurgery. Neurosurgery. 2018, Sep; 65(CN_suppl_1): 121. Pub Status: Published
  2. Kahle, M*, & Taha, B*. (2015). New lower bounds on ? (Rd) for d= 8,..., 12. Geombinatorics, 24(3), 109-116.
  3. Taha, B., Winston, G., Tosi, U., Hartley, B., Hoffman, C., Dahmane, N., ... & Greenfield, J. P. (2020). Missing Diversity in Brain Tumor Trials. Neuro-Oncology Advances.
  4. Steed, T. C., Treiber, J. M., Taha, B., Engin, H. B., Carter, H., Patel, K. S., ... & Chen, C. C. (2020). Glioblastomas located in proximity to the subventricular zone (SVZ) exhibited enrichment of gene expression profiles associated with the cancer stem cell state. Journal of Neuro-Oncology, 1-8.

* = co-first author

Poster Presentation

Taha, B. (2017). A Modular, Fully Assemblable Surgical Grasper From 3-D Printed Components, presented at Medical Student Area-of-Concentration Poster Day; New York, NY.

Oral Presentation

Taha, B. (2018). Weill Cornell Health Hackathon/Innovation Challenge Oral Presentation presented at: Clinical & Translational Science Center (CTSC) Annual Directors Meeting; New York, NY.