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Chair, CNS Tumors Group, Carbone Cancer Center
Director, Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program


Dr. Kuo is Professor of Neurological Surgery and Human Oncology, Director of the Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program at UW Health, and leads the Carbone Cancer Center CNS Tumors Group.  He specializes in treating benign and malignant brain and spinal tumors (i.e., GBM, pituitary tumor, meningioma, astrocytoma, metastatic cancer to brain), with special expertise in stereotactic radiosurgery for tumors, vascular lesions and trigeminal neuralgia. He co-directs the UW Carbone Cancer Center multidisciplinary Brain Tumor Clinic, and started the multidisciplinary Pituitary Tumor Clinic (with colleagues in endocrinology, neuro-oncology, radiation oncology and neuro-ophthalmology), and organized the interdisciplinary Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus program with allied health providers. Dr. Kuo chairs the CNS Tumors Groups of UW Carbone Cancer Center, leading national/international brain tumor clinical trials and campus-wide translational research to develop new approaches to brain tumor therapies. He helped formulate national clinical guidelines for evaluation and treatment of pituitary tumors and metastatic cancers to the brain, and Dr. Kuo’s work has been highlighted in Science Translational Medicine, Clinical Cancer Research, Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology and Neurosurgery, and reported by the media.


Featured in the News


(Podcast) John S. Kuo describes a new class of small-molecule, cancer-selective imaging and therapeutic agents.


(Article) "Alkylphosphocholine Analogs for Broad-Spectrum Cancer Imaging and Therapy” Science Translational Medicine


(Video) New Tumor Targeting Agent


(Article) Fluorescent Cancer-Selective Alkylphosphocholine Analogs for Intraoperative Glioma Detection



Watch Dr. Kuo in the Clinical Perspecitives Video Series

Carbone Cancer Center Finds a New Biomarker for Fatal Brain Cancer

Viral Infection Found to Increase Therapeutic Resistance of Glioblastoma Cells

Wisconsin Public Radio

Gray matters: Brain Cancer Awareness Month in May


More on Dr. Kuo


Dr. Kuo attended Hunter H.S. and The Bronx H.S. of Science in New York, and was a National Winner in the Westinghouse Science Talent Search for genetics research performed with Prof. Cosloy (City College of New York) as a high school student. As a National Merit and Harvard National Scholar, he graduated from Harvard University with summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa honors, and won a Ford Foundation grant for honors thesis research with Prof. Kleckner (Dept. of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology). He was awarded a full Medical Scientist Training Program Fellowship for both MD and PhD degrees from Harvard Medical School (Division of Health Sciences and Technology) and MIT. At MIT's Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, he won additional graduate research funding with Prof. Sive to discover novel neural development genes that advanced knowledge about embryonic brain development, stem cell biology, and cancer biology. Dr. Kuo won teaching awards at MIT, and was also inducted into Sigma Xi - Research Society of North America.

Dr. Kuo's interest in neurosurgery was sparked by Profs. Jenkins and Gehrke in introductory neuroanatomy, then nurtured by Profs. Black, Scott, Stieg, Ogilvy and Cosgrove at the Brigham & Women's and Massachusetts General Hospitals. He trained in clinical neurosurgery at the University of Southern California with Profs. Weiss, Apuzzo, McComb and Giannotta. Prof. Rutka mentored Dr. Kuo during his American Brain Tumor Association-NREF Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Toronto’s Labatt Brain Tumour Research Centre.

Dr. Kuo was recruited to the University of Wisconsin faculty, and also serve as Director of the Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program and directs an NIH-funded Brain Tumor Research Lab.  He is now a tenured Professor of Neurological Surgery and Human Oncology, and Chair of the CNS Tumor Group at Carbone Cancer Center. He leads national and international brain tumor biology and clinical research efforts, and is an Investigator of the Institute of Clinical and Translational Research and the Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine at UW. He has trained many undergraduates, medical, graduate and MD/PhD students, postdoctoral scientists and residents who are in advanced studies or have been appointed to clinical or scientific staff, faculty and director positions around the world. Dr. Kuo’s work has been presented nationally and internationally through many publications in high impact journals such as Science Translational Medicine, Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology, Clinical Cancer Research, Neurosurgery and many major invited talks. He was elected to the Society of University Surgeons, won the Preuss Award and was the 22nd invited Altman Lecturer at University of Pennsylania. In addition to multiple leadership roles at UW-Madison, UW Health and national neurosurgery and brain tumor organizations, Dr. Kuo serves on NIH study sections, is Chair of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons Membership Committee, and Co-Editor of Neurosurgery Watch, Tumor Editor of World Neurosurgery and Operative Neurosurgery.

Dr. Kuo is clinically focused on taking care of patients with brain tumors, and co-directs both the multidisciplinary brain tumor clinic and pituitary tumor clinics. His research group is working to advance understanding of brain tumor molecular biology in order to develop more effective therapies to improve clinical outcomes.

Dr. Kuo is married to the love of his life, Linda, an immunologist, who makes him whole with a wonderful sense of humor, patience and support. After moving to Madison, their family doubled with the births of two wonderful children, James and Angelina. The entire Kuo family looks forward to further adventures together.


John S. Kuo Research
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Professional Certifications and Education

Board Certification: Neurological Surgery
Medical School: Harvard Medical School, MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology
Internship: University of Southern California
Residency: University of Southern California
Fellowship: University of Toronto (Labatt Brain Tumor Research Center)
University of Southern California (Norris Comphrehensive Cancer Center)

Last updated: Tue, 11/14/2017 - 17:26
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