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David W. Lowry, MD, MBA

David W. Lowry, MD, is a neurological surgeon at the Brain + Spine Center who evaluates referred patients to determine whether surgery would be right for them, and also whether other less invasive treatment options might work even better.

“It’s important to remember that often, the best option is not to have surgery. When I once asked a wise and experienced professor why it took so long to train a neurosurgeon, he responded only partly in jest, that it took about two years to learn how to do neurosurgery, and then another five to learn when not to. His answer has stuck with me, and I’ve shared it with many patients over the years, “ remarks Dr. Lowry.

Dr. Lowry received his BA from Hope College, in Holland, Michigan. While in medical school at Johns Hopkins he worked in the laboratory of Henry Brem, MD, a pioneer in using biodegradable polymer wafers to deliver drugs and other agents directly to the brain while bypassing the blood-brain-barrier. While at the University of Pittsburgh following medical school, Dr. Lowry completed his internship and neurosurgery residency over seven years and obtained his MBA. He then practiced in Grand Rapids for four years before starting the Brain + Spine Center in Holland, Michigan.

“I’m proud of the fact that the hospitals for my medical school (Johns Hopkins) and residency (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) are both in the US News Top 10 Hospitals for Neurology and Neurosurgery out of over 1300 medical centers nationwide that receive difficult cases. Both institutions gave me great training for what I do today,” states Dr. Lowry.

Dr. Lowry is a member of the North American Spine Society (NASS), Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS), The Johns Hopkins Medical and Surgical Society, Ottawa County Medical Society and the Michigan State Medical Society. He lives in Holland with his wife, Donna and their three sons, William, Sam, and Jonathan . Along with them, he enjoys cycling, kayaking and sailing his Sunfish sailboat on Lake Michigan. Dr Lowry also enjoys medical device development, golf and alpine skiing.

Dr. Lowry and his wife are active in the community, volunteering and supporting many organizations. They support their church and two (very early) Sunday’s a month they help out making coffee and cutting bagels. “Why a guy who needs all ten fingers, serves in this way still isn’t clear to me but I enjoy supporting fellowship among people of faith and also supporting the growers of the fair trade coffee we use – and we use lots of it!” jokes Dr. Lowry. He and his wife are also raving fans of Hope College, (their alma mater), where Dr. Lowry serves on the Board of Trustees, Secretary of the Board, Co-chair of the Investment Committee overseeing the college’s endowment fund, and as chair of the Presidential Search Committee. He is also a member of Holland Hospital’s Medical Executive Committee and Trauma Committee.

While collaborating with other providers at Brain + Spine to provide the highest quality of clinical neurosurgery to today’s patients, for tomorrow’s patients he collaborates with others to pursue medical innovation.

Dr. Lowry has also served as a consultant for venture capital firms such as the Mayfield Fund and New Enterprise Associates (NEA) as well as for some of their portfolio companies at work on neuroscience medical devices such as Northstar Neuroscience and LaunchCyte.

Dr. Lowry has been awarded two patents for his work:

  • Methods and systems employing intracranial electrodes for neurostimulation.
  • Implantable bone plate system and related method for spinal repair.

Dr. Lowry has written many professional publications and has been published in the Journal of Neurosurgery, Surgical Neurology, Neurosurgery, New England Journal of Medicine, and Stroke.

Dr. Lowry’s research includes:

  • Transmembrane Sodium and Water Transport at the Department of Biology at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. Advisor: Donald Cronkite, Ph.D.
    • transportation across ion channels in in vitro models
  • Neuronal Transplantation at the Department of Neurological Surgery at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. Advisor: Henry Brem, M.D.
    • transplantation of human neurons into a neonatal rat pup model
  • CNS Drug Delivery at the Department of Neurological Surgery at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. Advisor: Henry Brem, M.D.
    • use of biodegradable polymer wafers to deliver drugs directly to the CNS
  • Chemotherapeutic Synergy for CNS Tumors at the Department of Neurological Surgery at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. Advisor: Henry Brem, M.D.
    • introduced to established lab a new line of investigation: glutathione depletion for the potentiation of nitrosourea chemotherapeutic agents
  • Percutaneous Neuromodulation after Failed Dorsal Column Stimulation – Clinical Research in Private Practice Setting in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Commercial Sponsor: Vertis Neuroscience, Seattle Washington
  • Cortical Stimulation for Motor Recovery after Stroke Using Fully Implantable Device – Clinical Research in Private Practice Setting in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Commercial Sponsor: Northstar Neuroscience in Seattle Washington
  • Cervical Spinal Retractor System Development which is in pre-clinical product development and is self sponsored

When asked why he became a physician, Dr. Lowry answered, “My dad is a physician – a urologist – and he still works full time even though he’s in his seventies. Growing up I saw (in him) a person with absolutely single-minded focus on his profession, who helped people and relieved their pain and in so doing, made his corner of the world a better place. Other adults respected him, and told me I was lucky to have him as my father. I guess I became a physician in part to be like my father, but also to participate in something noble – the service of others. Physicians do well, but they do well by doing good, and that’s what I wanted to do.”

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Have you had an MRI in the last 12 months?