Robert J. Spinner was born in New York City on December 8, 1961. He received an undergraduate degree from MIT in 1984 and a Master’s degree in Greek and Latin Literature from Christ Church College, University of Oxford (UK) in 1985. He completed his medical school at the Mayo Clinic in 1989. He then was a Luce Scholar in Hong Kong. He completed full residency training in Orthopedics at Duke University (1990-1996) and in neurosurgery at the Mayo Clinic (1996-2000). He received training in peripheral nerve surgery with David Kline (1998-99) and at several international centers of excellence as a CNS Cushing Fellow (2001).
He joined the neurosurgical faculty at Mayo Clinic in 2001 and developed a practice limited to peripheral nerve surgery. There he ascended the academic ranks becoming Professor of Neurologic Surgery, Orthopedics and Anatomy in 2007 and the Burton M. Onofrio, M.D. Chair in Neurosurgery in 2011. He is the chairman of research in the Department of Neurologic Surgery, and he is the director of clinical and basic science fellows in peripheral nerve. He is board certified in neurosurgery and orthopedics as well as a journal editor and an active member of surgical societies in both specialties. He has more than 250 publications and has given over 600 presentations in his subspecialty.
His wife, Dr. Alexandra Wolanskyj, is fellowship director of hematology at Mayo. They have two children: Maxwell and Noah.