Dr. Andrew Thomas Parsa - age: 48
(August 24, 1966 to April 13, 2015
Dr. Andrew Parsa, chairman of neurological surgery at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, died suddenly Monday morning, according to school officials and the Cook County medical examiner's office.
Dr. Parsa, 48, was remembered Monday afternoon as "a distinguished scholar" and an "extraordinarily talented surgeon" at Northwestern, Feinberg Vice President for Medical Affairs Eric Neilson said Monday in an email.
"Great, unexpected loss is always shocking," Neilson said. "Andy was a pioneering neurosurgeon and an innovative investigator who pushed the boundaries of scientific understanding, and his presence will be sorely missed across the country."
Known for his research on brain tumor immunology, Dr. Parsa joined Feinberg in 2013 after serving as a professor and vice chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of California at San Francisco, where he led an innovative approach to treating brain cancer by removing patients' tumors and creating individual vaccines from their malignant masses.
"He spent his whole life trying to solve the problem of treating brain tumors (and) glioblastoma multiforme — the most aggressive kind there is," Neilson said. "He got interested in medical school with one of his faculty members at that time, and he learned surgery could not cure this cancer. He began thinking how the immune system could be activated. It turned out to be an extremely novel approach."
Dr. Parsa's dedication to his work was only trumped by his devotion to his family, his colleagues said. Outside of work, he was a die-hard soccer fan and enjoyed attending his son's games.
Dr. Parsa is survived by his wife, Charlotte Shum, a Northwestern associate professor of orthopedic surgery, and their three children: Julia, Micheline and Ismail. As of Monday afternoon, funeral services had not been announced. The university expects to hold a memorial service in the coming weeks, Neilson said.
Chicago Tribune, April 13, 2015