Shelley Nien-chun Chou was a man of remarkable achievements, all the more amazing when one considers his humble beginnings. In 1924, he was born in a small village in China into a family who placed great emphasis on education. When Dr. Chou began his formal education, World War II curtailed its completion. Fortuitously, with his acquired fluency in English, Dr. Chou was befriended by a variety of western contacts who influenced his decision after the war to emigrate to the United States.
He attended the University of Utah and in 1949 was awarded his MD. Residency at the University of Minnesota followed and then a tour at the National Institutes of Health working in neurophysiology. In 1960, Dr. Chou returned to the University of Minnesota faculty. Over the following years, he moved up the academic ladder to ultimately be selected as Chairman of Neurosurgery in 1974.
A Neurosurgery Pioneer
Dr. Chou's contributions to neurosurgery were prolific, including pioneering research in brain scanning, along with major clinical contributions in cerebrovascular and spinal surgery. He was president of numerous neurosurgical organizations. Perhaps his greatest contribution was his deep interest in graduate neurosurgical education, particularly involving the American Board of Neurological Surgery and Residency Review Committee, where his influence will continue to be felt for many years to come.
An Esteemed Leader
The esteem with which he was held by his colleagues at Minnesota and the wide respect for his leadership ability became obvious when, after the resignations of the Dean of the Medical School and of the Vice President for Health Sciences, Dr. Chou became the unanimous choice of the Clinical and Basic Science faculties to become the Interim Dean of the Medical School and Vice President for Medical Affairs. After his retirement from these positions, he found more time to enjoy the desert southwest during the winters. Dr Chou passed away in July of 2001.
An Enduring Legacy
The fund established in his name will sponsor a university lecture focusing on impactful research by a recognized neurosurgeon and provide a forum to foster meaningful discussion about potential clinical applications of current advances in neuroscience, neurosurgery, and other fields of inquiry.
No lecture scheduled for 2020 or 2021 due to COVID restrictions.
June 19, 2019: Matthew Howard, MD, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Medical Device Inventions.
June 1, 2018: Bob S. Carter, MD, PhD, FAANS, Professor of Neurosurgery at Harvard Medical School in Boston; and Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery of Massachusetts General Hospital, “Fostering the Next Generation of Neurosurgeon Scientists”
May 5, 2017: Kim J. Burchiel, MD, FACS, John Raaf Professor and Chairman Emeritus, Department of Neurological Surgery, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, "The Case for Asleep DBS Surgery
May 6, 2016: L. Nick Hopkins, MD, FACS, chairman, University of Buffalo (NY) Neurosurgery Department, "Innovation in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke"
May 15, 2015: Fredric B. Meyer, MD, Alfred Uihlein Family Professor of Neurologic Surgery, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota; Mayo Clinic Enterprise Chair of Neurologic Surgery; and director of the Neuroregenerative Medicine & Surgery Program in Mayo's Center for Regenerative Medicine, "Triple Threat"
May 2, 2014: L. Dade Lunsford, MD, Lars Leksell Professor and Distinguished Professor at the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh, "Rationale and Results of Radiosurgery for AVM"
March 22, 2013: R. Michael Scott, MD, "Long-term Experience with the Surgical Treatment of Moyamoya Disease"
May 18, 2012: John M. Tew, MD, "Evolution of the Treatment of Trigeminal Neuralgia"
May 13, 2011: Volker N. Sonntag, MD, "The Journey of Spinal Neurosurgery in the USA"
April 23, 2010: George Ojemann, MD, "Basic science in the operating room: investigating the neurologic basis of cognition during epilepsy surgery"
February 27, 2009: Roberto C. Heros, MD, "Intracranial Dural Arteriorvenous Fistulas"
June 19, 2008: Alim Louis Benabid, MD, PhD, "How Can We Intervene in the Brain with Deep Electrical Stimulation?"
May 18, 2007: Rudolph Fahlbush, MD, "Intraoperative MRI in Neurosurgery"
May 5, 2006: John VanGilder, MD, University of Iowa, "Minnesota-Iowa Neurosurgery: A History"
May 6, 2005: Julian T. Hoff, MD, University of Michigan, "Intracerebral Hemorrhage: Clinical and Experimental Progress"
January 16, 2004: Edward H. Oldfield, MD, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Bethesda, MD, "Regional Drug Delivery Using Convection: Implications for Pharmacological Delivery"
November 17, 2000: Donlin M. Long, MD, PhD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, "The Philosophy of Neurosurgery: Harvey Cushing, Walter Dandy, Johns Hopkins and the University of Minnesota"
September 24, 1999: Robert F. Spetzler, MD, Barrow Neurosurgical Associates, Phoenix, AZ, "Spinal Vascular Lesions"
August 1, 1997: Albert L. Rhoton, Jr., MD (deceased), University of Florida, "Anatomy and Syndromes of the Posterior Fossa"
October 25, 1996: Robert G. Grossman, MD, Baylor College of Medicine, "Pallidotomy for Parkinson's Disease"
October 27, 1995: Lindsay Symon, CBE, TD, FRC, FACS, The National Hospital, Queen Square, London, “Some Physiological Aspects of the Surgery of Giant Aneurysms"
June 11, 1994: C. Miller Fisher, MD, Harvard Medical School, "Brain Herniation — An Update"
June 4, 1993: Charles G. Drake, MD, CC, OOnt, FRCSC, University of Western Ontario, London, "Management of Cerebral Aneurysms"
April 10, 1992: Vinko V. Dolenc, MD, PhD, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, "Twelve Years’ Experience with Cavernous Sinus Surgery"
April 6, 1991: Charles B. Wilson, MD, University of California, San Francisco, "Cryptic Vascular Malformations – A Spectrum"