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An estimated 22,000 new diagnoses of primary malignant central nervous system tumors will be made in the United States this year and result in 1.5% of all cancer-related deaths. Gliomas, cancers of the supporting glial cells, will account for >14,000 of these cases. The most aggressive is glioblastoma multiforme (GBM, also known as grade IV astrocytoma), associated with a median survival of only 12-14 months despite maximal surgical resection, radiation treatment, and chemotherapy with the alkylating agent temozolomide. Recently, a rare subset of cancer cells termed cancer stem cells (CSCs) has been identified with enhanced ability to initiate tumors and resistance to common radiation and chemotherapies. Going against traditional dogma, every cancer cell may not be created equal, and specifically targeting and eradicating the CSCs could greatly improve brain tumor therapies.

With the goal of improving survival and quality of life for patients, our research focuses on both advancing understanding of brain tumor biology and developing novel therapies via testing in human cancer stem cell models. Our work has been featured on the covers of Science Translational Medicine and Neurosurgery, and highlighted in Clinical Cancer Research, Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology, Radiology, won the Preuss Award for Brain Tumor Research, and invited for many national/international presentations.

Our team at the Brain Tumor Research Laboratory has won funding from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and many other major foundations and groups to continue collaborative work with other UW scientists to study cancer stem cell biology, and to develop novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for cancer.


Our Mission


The goal of the Brain Tumor Research Laboratory is the biological and molecular characterization of cancer stem cells (CSCs) toward developing novel therapies specifically targeting the CSC population. We are working toward combining specific anti-CSC therapies with traditional regimens that destroy the bulk cancer cells to improve initial treatment and prevent recurrence of brain tumors.


Brain Tumor Research Group

  • John S. Kuo, MD, PhD

  • Paul A. Clark, PhD

  • Ray R. Zhang PhD (MD PhD candidate)

  • Jonathan Lubin (Shapiro fellow, MD Research Honors candidate)

  • Orlin Sergev (Shapiro fellow, MD student)

  • HuyTram Nguyen (AANS NREF fellow, Shapiro fellow, MD student)

  • Vishnu Varadarajan (undergraduate research assistant)

  • Nathan Ehrlich (undergraduate summer research assistant)

  • Sarea Recalde Phillips (undergraduate summer research assistant)


Past Members:

Name Year Mentoring relationship Current position
Daniel Treisman 2006-8 Undergraduate researcher, Cell Molecular Biology PhD student, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
UW-Madison
Odaine Gordon, PhD 2007 Integrated Biological Sciences Summer Research Program (IBS-SRP) Staff Scientist, Covance Inc, Madison WI
PhD, Vanderbilt University
Michael Jones, MD 2007-8 Undergraduate researcher, MD student, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
UW-Madison Neurosurgery resident, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL (7/15-6/22 expected)
 
Alexander Sasha Rackman, MD 2007-9 Undergraduate researcher, MD Yeshiva University, Tel Aviv, Israel, and New York NY
UW-Madison Resident, Internal Medicine, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City, New York
Johnathan Ebben PhD 2007-9 Undergraduate researcher, MD-PhD student, Medical College of Wisconsin
Marquette University
Jamie Hadac, PhD 2008 Integrated Biological Sciences Summer Research Program (IBS-SRP) PhD, UW-Madison
Postdoc fellow
Scripps Oceanographic Institute, San Diego, CA
Raman Kutty PhD 2008-10 Undergraduate researcher, Letters & Arts Senior Research Honors thesis award, UW-Madison MD-PhD student, Medical College of Wisconsin
Jose Montoya-Rosario 2009 Integrated Biological Sciences Summer Research Program (IBS-SRP) PhD student, unknown
Woodley Pean MD 2010 Integrated Biological Sciences Summer Research Program (IBS-SRP) MD student, Temple University, Philadephia, PA
Residency
Jeffrey Mahlum 2011 Undergraduate researcher, Bryon Riesch Paralysis Foundation Scholarship, National Spinal Cord Injury Association Scholarship, Medical Student,
UW-Madison UW-Madison (2014-18)
Mohamed Mohamed 2011 Integrated Biological Sciences Summer Research Program (IBS-SRP) University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Ardem Elmayan, MS 2012 Integrated Biological Sciences Summer Research Program (IBS-SRP) Undergraduate,
University of Providence, Providence, RI
MS, Cornell University
Dan Walden 2011-13 Undergraduate researcher, Medical student Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI (2015-19)
UW-Madison
Hong-En Chen 2011-13 Undergraduate researcher, Engineering PhD student, Pennsylvania State University (2015-)
UW-Madison
Tej Mehta 2012 Undergraduate researcher, Undergraduate,
Lawrence University UW-Madison (2011-15)
  MD student, North Dakota State University Medical School, ND
 
Herb Alex Chen 2012 High School student researcher Undergraduate,
UW-Madison (2013-17)
Matthew Stenerson 2012, 2015 High School student researcher High School valedictorian, Lincoln HS, Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Travel Medical Intern in Africa (2013-14)
Undergraduate student, Brandeis University (2015-19)
Asadullah Akhund, MS 2013 Integrated Biological Sciences Summer Research Program (IBS-SRP) Masters degree in bioengineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 
Will Lyon 2013-15 Undergraduate researcher, Medical Student,
UW-Madison UW-Madison (2015-19)
Rewais Hanna 2013-16 Undergraduate researcher, Undergraduate,
UW-Madison UW-Madison (2012-16)
Jordan Gaal 2014-16 Undergraduate researcher, Undergraduate,
UW-Madison UW-Madison (2013-17)
Annika Wellman 2016 High School student Minnesota
Hailey Frye 2016 High School student Minnesota
Gretchen Greene 2016 Clinical mentor to visiting undergraduate student Undergraduate, McAleister College, Minnesota
Julie Kijak 2016 Clinical mentor to undergraduate student Undergraduate,
UW-Madison
Vishnu Naradarajan 2016- Undergraduate researcher, Undergraduate,
UW-Madison UW-Madison (2014-18)
Sarea Recalde Phillips 2017 Integrated Biological Sciences Summer Research Program (IBS-SRP) Undergraduate, Penn State University, Hershey, PA
Steven Kurina 2017 Clinical mentor to undergraduate student Undergraduate,
UW-Madison
Justin Ye 2017 Clinical mentor to undergraduate student Undergraduate,
UW-Madison
Nathan Ehrlich 2017 Undergraduate researcher, Wesleyan University Undergraduate, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT
Meredith Gallagher 2017 Clinical mentor to visiting undergraduate student Undergraduate,
Butler University
Michael Zorniak, PhD 2007-13 Thesis advisor for Neuroscience PhD student Postdoctoral fellow, Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA (2013-14)
Scientific Liaison, Teva Pharmaceuticals Inc. (2014-17)
Associate Director, Portfolio Oncology MSL, Novartis, Inc. (2017-present)
Bahauddeen Alrfaei, PhD  2009-13 Thesis advisor for Cellular Molecular Pathology PhD student Postdoctoral fellow, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA (2013-15)
Director of Stem Cell Laboratory, King Abdullah International Medical Research Center, Saudi Arabia (2015-present)
Kelli Pointer, MD PhD 2011-17 Thesis advisor for CMB PhD/MD-PhD student, clinical mentor Cellular and Molecular Biology PhD (2015)
MD, UW-Madison (expected May, 2017)
Radiation Oncology Resident, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL (2017-2022)
Ray Zhang, PhD 2013-present Thesis advisor for CMB PhD/MD-PhD student Cellular and Molecular Biology PhD student, UW-Madison (PhD 6/2017; MD expected 6/2019)
Aaron Struck, MD 2007-8 UW-Madison Medical student Shapiro award researcher Epilepsy fellow Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA (7/2014-15)
Assistant Professor, Neurology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (2015- present)
Dave Francis, MD 2009-10 UW-Madison Medical student Shapiro award researcher Resident, Human Oncology, UW-Madison (2016-present)
Siarhei Vysotski, MD 2010-12 UW-Madison Medical student Shapiro award researcher, Research Honors student Emergency Medicine resident, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI (7/2013-16)
Attending Physician, Theda Clark Medical System, Neenah, WI 
Matthew Tipping, MD 2011 UW-Madison Medical student Shapiro award researcher Internal medicine resident, UW-Madison (7/2014-17)
Steve Amaefuna 2013-present UW-Madison Medical student Shapiro award researcher MD student, UW-Madison (class of 2018)
Jonathan A. Lubin 2016-present UW-Madison Medical student Shapiro award researcher, Research Honors candidate MD student, UW-Madison (class of 2019)
Joslyn K. Strebe 2016-present UW-Madison Medical student Shapiro award researcher, Research Honors candidate MD student, UW-Madison (class of 2019)
Huytram Nguyen 2017 UW-Madison Medical student Shapiro award researcher MD student, UW-Madison (class of 2020)
Orlin Sergev 2017 UW-Madison Medical student Shapiro award researcher MD student, UW-Madison (class of 2020)
Paul Clark, PhD 2006-10 Postdoctoral fellow, awarded UW Stem Cell Training Program Fellowship Assistant scientist,
UW-Madison
Yu Huang, PhD 2011-13 Postdoctoral fellow (joint with Justin Williams PhD, Biomedical Engineering) Research staff, Adjunct professor, affiliated scientist, Methodist Research Institute, Houston, TX (2013-16, 2016-present)
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Biological Engineering, Utah State University (2016-present)
Che Liu, PhD 2012-17 Postdoctoral fellow (joint with Robert Kaletja PhD, McArdle Center for Cancer Research) Postdoctoral fellow (joint with Robert Kalejta PhD, McArdle Center for Cancer Research, Molecular Virology program)
Senior scientist, Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Inc, Madison, WI (2017-present)
Jagannathan Balaji, MD 2012 Visiting scientist Director of Clinical Pathology, Ananya Hospital, Bangalore, India
Eduardo Moioli, MD PhD 2013 Visiting scientist Dermatology resident, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Priya Ezhilan, MS 2007-2010 Research specialist Homemaker, Austin, TX
Laurence Davidson, MD 2004-6 USC Junior neurosurgery resident, clinical research Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Walter Reed Medical Center, Bethesda, MD
Roham Moftakhar, MD 2005-8 UW-Madison neurosurgery resident, research Chief and Associate Professor of Neurosurgery, University of South Carolina – Palmetto Health, Charleston, SC
Amol J. Ghia, MD 2005-7 UW-Madison neurosurgery resident, research Assistant Professor, Radiation Oncology MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Sharad Rajpal, MD 2005-11 UW-Madison neurosurgery resident, research Spine Neurosurgery fellow, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH (2011-12)
Private practice Neurosurgeon, Boulder, CO
Brandon Rocque, MD 2005-12 UW-Madison neurosurgery resident, research, faculty mentor Assistant Professor of Pediatric Neurosurgery, University of Alabama-Birmingham, AL
Amrendra Miranpuri, MD 2006-12 UW-Madison neurosurgery resident, research Neuroendovascular fellow, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC 
Assistant Professor, Neurosurgery, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
Andrew Bauer, MD 2006-13 UW-Madison neurosurgery resident, research, faculty mentor Vascular Neurosurgery fellow and clinical associate, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH (2013-16)
Private practice Neurosurgeon, Boulder, CO 
Basheal Agrawal, MD 2006-13 UW-Madison neurosurgery resident, research Spine Neurosurgery fellow, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH (2013-14)
Private practice Neurosurgeon, Grand Junction, CO
Casey Madura, MD 2008-15 UW-Madison neurosurgery resident, research Pediatric Neurosurgery Fellow, University of Alabama-Birmingham, AL (2015-16)
Private practice Pediatric Neurosurgeon, Grand Rapids, MI
Kyle I. Swanson, MD 2008-15 UW-Madison neurosurgery resident, research mentor Neurosurgery Research Fellow and Clinical Instructor, UW-Madison (2015-16)
Functional and Epilepsy Neurosurgery Fellow, Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix AZ (2016-17)
Staff neurosurgeon, Aurora Health Care, Milwaukee, WI (2017-present)
Heather Leeper, MD 2010-12 UW-Madison neurology resident, research Neuro-Oncology fellow, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN (2012-14)
Private practice Neuro-oncologist, Park Ridge, IL 
Christopher Baggott, MD 2010-17 UW-Madison neurosurgery resident, research Chief neurosurgery resident, UW-Madison
Staff Neurosurgeon, Dean-St Mary Health Care (2017-present)
Yiping Li, MD 2012- UW-Madison neurosurgery resident, research mentor Neurosurgery resident, UW-Madison 
Yang Ming, MBBS 2014- neurosurgery resident, academic mentor Neurosurgery resident, National University Hospital, National University of Singapore
Aaron Foo, MBBS 2015- neurosurgery resident, academic mentor Neurosurgery resident, National University Hospital, National University of Singapore
Swati Jain, MBBS 2016- neurosurgery resident, academic mentor Neurosurgery resident, National University Hospital, National University of Singapore
Thomas Chooheng Tan, MBBS 2016- neurosurgery resident, academic mentor Neurosurgery resident, National University Hospital, National University of Singapore
Colin Teo, MBBS 2016- neurosurgery resident, academic mentor Neurosurgery resident, National University Hospital, National University of Singapore
Nivedh Dinesh, MBBS 2017- neurosurgery resident, academic mentor Neurosurgery resident, National University Hospital, National University of Singapore


Publications


(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

 

News
 

UW Study: Fluorescent Dyes Light up Brain Cancer During Surgery
http://www.med.wisc.edu/news-events/uw-study-fluorescent-dyes-light-up-brain-cancer-during-surgery/44957

Viral Infection Found to Increase Therapeutic Resistance of Glioblastoma Cells
http://www.med.wisc.edu/news-events/viral-infection-found-to-increase-therapeutic-resistance-of-glioblastoma-cells/51097


Supported By

  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Science Foundation

  • Tumor Immunology and Cancer Immunotherapy pilot award, Carbone Cancer Center

  • Midwest Athletes against Childhood Cancer Fund

  • AANS Neurosurgery Research & Education Foundation

  • Foundation of the American Society of Neuroradiology

  • Hilldale research fellowship

  • Roger Loff Memorial Fund for GBM Research (Farming against Brain Cancer)
  • Carbone Cancer Center
  • Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine
  • Medical Scientist Training Program
  • Steve Bolser Memorial Joggin for the Noggin
  • Semman Gray Matters Jam
  • Dept. of Radiology
  • Dept. of Neurological Surgery
  • Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
  • Institute for Clinical and Translational Research
     

Past Support:

  • Headrush Brain Tumor Professorship

 

July 2017



Last updated: Wed, 07/19/2017 - 11:35
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