The 2018 Charles G. Drake Professorship: A History of Collaboration

On January 31st, 2018, the Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University celebrated the Charles G. Drake Distinguished Visiting Professorship. The Professorship is named for the Department’s co-founder, Dr. Charles G. Drake. Dr. Drake was London’s first neurosurgeon and was a visionary leader in the development of surgical treatments of brain aneurysms, particularly those located around the brain stem.

Our 2018 Charles G. Drake Professor was Professor Fernando Viñuela, Professor Emeritus at The University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA). Prof. Viñuela has a cherished past with the Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences, having completed his Radiology Residency, Radiology Fellowship, and Neurointerventional Fellowship at Western University and subsequently becoming a faculty member with the Department of Medical Imaging as Interventional Radiologist and Assistant Professor of Radiology.

Prof. Viñuela left Western in 1986 to join the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA where he served as a Professor of Radiology / Neuroradiology from 1986 to 2010, Director of the Division of Interventional Neuroradiology and Director of Translational Research from 1986 to 2013, and the Co-Director of the UCLA Stroke Centre from 1995 to 2013. Prof. Viñuela is currently the Assistant Director of the UCLA Radiology Mentorship Program and Assistant Director of the UCLA Translational Research Laboratory.

Prof. Viñuela’s lecture, entitled “An Unplanned and Unfinished Journey through Objectives, Cultures, and Diversity” described his experiences during his medical training and career in medicine. Likening himself to Bilbo Baggins of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, Prof. Viñuela shared how his journey began in Uruguay and led him to places he never expected to study and practice, including Canada, Brazil, and the United States. Viñuela noted that he always felt welcome and at home in London, Canada (in spite of his Uruguayan accent) and that it was a point of pride for him to be able to say he trained in “The Land of Giants”.

Prof. Viñuela shared a history of the great neuroradiologists, neurointerventionalists, neurologists and neurosurgeons of the Americas and their contributions to the diagnosis and treatment of cerebrovascular disease.  

Over the course of his illustrious career, Prof. Viñuela had the chance to work with many noteworthy physicians in a variety of disciplines. His experiences are a testimony to the culture of collaboration that Dr. Drake set in motion when he co-founded the Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences with Neurologist Dr. Henry Barnett. This visionary act united neurologists and neurosurgeons under one department, and led to remarkably strong collaborations with neuroradiologists, neuropathologists, neurointerventionalists, and numerous allied clinical and scientific neuro disciplines.

Watch Prof. Viñuela's Lecture here.

Drs. Vinuela, Fox, and Pelz

Prof. Fernando Viñuela with Dr. Allan Fox and Dr. David Pelz.