Meet Our Team

Meet Frank Attenello, MD

Originally published December 18, 2020

Last updated May 3, 2024

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Dr. Attenello is a neurosurgeon at USC Norris, part of Keck Medicine of USC, who specializes in brain tumor and brain injury treatment, including advanced minimally invasive techniques.

Here’s what you won’t find on his resume.

His parents inspired his career choice.

“From a pretty young age, I knew I wanted to be a doctor. My father was a busy physician, who was involved in research, while my mother, a PhD in molecular biology, worked in a laboratory at USC. Over time, I saw the pride and satisfaction they took in their work. This inspired me to explore, and ultimately pursue, a career involving work in patient care, as well as in the laboratory.”

He’s fluent in Mandarin Chinese.

“I can speak fluent Mandarin Chinese, because my grandmother spent a great deal of time taking care of me when I was growing up. My last name, Attenello, is Italian, but I am half Italian and half Chinese.”

He believes genetic research is transforming cancer and brain injury treatment.

“An increasing understanding of gene expression in brain injury and cancer has drastically changed our perspective. Critical techniques such as CRISPR — a gene editing tool that was recognized for a Nobel Prize — have been critical for studies in my laboratory.”

He hopes new medical treatments will eventually reduce the need for brain surgery.

“I would like to see medical treatments so successful that they make neurosurgical procedures almost unnecessary. Particularly in brain injury and brain tumors, improved medical treatments may very well be possible with success in the laboratory.”

He enjoys Keck Medicine’s culture and diversity.

“At Keck Medicine, I see a genuine desire to provide the best outcomes for our patients, whether it’s through coordination of clinical care, investment in research collaborations or investing in the future of neurosurgery.

I enjoy the fact that I can work with a wonderful group of patients while also working to improve care in our impressive laboratory facilities. I also have the constant opportunity to learn from the amazing faculty, residents and students here. This culture and these interactions are something I look forward to when I go to work.”

View Dr. Attenello’s full biography and schedule an appointment.