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Tom Ellis Obituary

Neurosurgeon Thomas L. Ellis died Saturday, June 30, 2012, at Duke University Medical Center. He was 50.
At the time of his death, Dr. Ellis was the director of the Neurosurgery Residency Program and the medical director of the Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery and Epilepsy Surgery program at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston Salem, N.C. He was a diplomate of the American Board of Neurological Surgery and a fellow of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the American College of Surgeons.

Dr. Ellis was born Sept. 12, 1961, in Dallas. He earned degrees in biomedical and electrical engineering from Duke University in Durham, N.C. He worked at Teradyne, earned his medical degree in 1993 at University of North Carolina, and completed his neurosurgery residency at University of Florida in 2000. He was then appointed to the Department of Neurosurgery faculty at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, rising to associate professor.

During his tenure at Wake Forest, Dr. Ellis was active in research to cure malignant brain tumors and with the use of neurostimulation to treat disorders of the brain. His recent collaboration with scientists at Virginia Tech explored a system that delivered treatments to specific targets in the brain, in addition to the development of an understanding of the neurochemical factors affecting behavior. With Wake Forest scientists, he had been investigating the role of brain stimulation to improve learning and memory.

He is survived by his wife, Michel, who grew up in Palm Beach and now resides in Winston Salem, N.C.; daughters Nicole, Noel and Natalie, and son Noble, all of Winston Salem; mother, Bonnie, of Winston Salem; brother Paul and sisters Rebecca, Carole and Renee, all of Dallas; in-laws Sharon and Ralph Nere of Palm Beach, Wade Byrd and Ellen Marts of Wellington, and Nicole and Dale Henderson and their children Lilly, Lucy and Jay, all of Monroe, Ga.

Memorial donations may be made to the Thomas L. Ellis Neurosurgery Education Endowment, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Medical Center Blvd., Winston Salem, NC 27157.