John H. Sampson, MD, PhD, MHSc, MBA. serves as Co-Director of this program. He is the Robert H. and Gloria Wilkins Professor of Surgery and Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the DCI. Dr. Sampson is recognized internationally as a leader in the surgical and experimental treatment of brain tumors with a focus on immunotherapy and drug delivery to the brain. He has authored more than 240 peer-reviewed publications in this field, and currently serves or previously served on all major Editorial Boards in the field. He is PI for the Duke SPORE in Brain Cancer and has served as a Project or Core leader in all prior PPGs within the Neuro-oncology Program over the last decade. He has proven his ability to educate, collaborate, and lead scientists locally and nationally. As PI of an NINDS R25 Research Education grant, he has gained experience in career development and research training. He has served as a sponsor on four Investigational New Drug (IND) applications submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including one for an EGFRvIII-targeted vaccine which is now being evaluated in a worldwide Phase III registration trial. His mentorship of women and minority individuals has also been well-established having advanced several junior faculty in these categories into well-supported positions.
Hai Yan, MD, PhD, serves as the other Co-Director of this Program. He is the Henry S. Friedman Professor of Neuro-Oncology. Dr. Yan’s work is distinguished in the field of cancer genomics as he is known for his work in establishing a genetic basis for brain cancer. His research has been transformational, as he has been one of the pioneers in identifying the genetic signatures of various types of gliomas, including IDH1, IDH2, ATRX, TERT, and PPM1D mutations, with clear translational implications for opportunities to improve diagnosis and treatment of brain cancers. The molecular discoveries that Dr. Yan and colleagues made have now formed the basis for the entire classification of gliomas. The molecular criteria for gliomas based on his pioneering work are now placed in the World Health Organization IARC Blue Book Classification of CNS Tumors and will be used in clinics internationally.