Brain Tumor Expert Named Neurosurgery Chair

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

AUSTIN, Texas — Dr. John S. Kuo, an internationally known neurosurgeon-scientist who specializes in brain tumors, will be the inaugural chair of the Department of Neurosurgery, and the surgical director of the Mulva Clinic for the Neurosciences, for Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin.

Photo of John Kuo
John Kuo, inaugural chair of Neurosurgery

Kuo comes to Dell Med from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he is professor of neurological surgery and director of the Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program. He also leads the Central Nervous System Tumors Group at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, nationally known for cancer care, research and community involvement. In 12 years there, he has led and expanded multiple high-quality multidisciplinary teams — delivering clinical care for brain tumors, pituitary tumors and hydrocephalus — and has advanced discoveries from lab research to clinical trials.

“John is a nationally known innovator in neurosurgery and cancer research, as well as a dedicated teacher and compassionate physician,” said Dr. Clay Johnston, inaugural dean of the Dell Medical School. “He exemplifies Dell Med’s mission — to revolutionize how people get and stay healthy — by centering care around people’s health and accelerating the powerhouse research happening at the medical school and across the UT Austin campus.”

Kuo is among an elite group of neurosurgeons who have earned research funding from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. His research has been featured in journals such as Nature Reviews and Science Translational Medicine. He has been invited as visiting professor and speaker at institutions including Massachusetts General Hospital and MD Anderson Cancer Center. His honors include being named among “America’s Top Doctors” by Castle Connolly and the 2015 Preuss Award for best tumor research at the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. He also is an endowed visiting professor of surgery at National University of Singapore and was elected to the Society of University Surgeons and the American Academy of Neurological Surgery. He serves as the tumor editor for World Neurosurgery and Operative Neurosurgery and as chair of the membership committee for the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.

“It’s an honor to join Dell Med, with its profound focus on people and health. I’m excited to join Dean Clay Johnston and colleagues to build an advanced academic clinical care, teaching and research program that advances the school’s transformative mission, and to help create a world-class Mulva Clinic for the Neurosciences,” Kuo said. “By building on — and adding to — the discoveries and innovations taking place across UT Austin, I believe we will make a real difference for people in Central Texas and beyond who are wrestling with challenging problems such as brain tumors, stroke, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions.”

Kuo immigrated to New York City at age 9 from Taiwan, then graduated with highest honors from Harvard College and won a full scholarship to pursue medical and doctorate degrees from a joint Harvard Medical School-Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) program.

After advanced training at the University of Southern California and University of Toronto, Kuo was recruited to UW-Madison, where he created successful clinical and research programs by assembling multidisciplinary teams, mentoring and training colleagues and students across campus, and being awarded major grants for innovative research discoveries. He plans to pursue a similar strategy at Dell Med to advance the care of brain and spine patients, partnering with clinical and research colleagues in neuroscience, cancer and other areas to leverage Austin’s technology and bioscience advances on campus and in the community. He also brings a commitment to mentoring students and faculty — for which he has won awards at Wisconsin, Harvard and MIT.

Through Dell Med’s Mulva Clinic and LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes, he looks forward to working closely with patients, families and health providers across the Austin community through outreach, talks, patient and family support groups, and events publicizing and connecting people to advances in cancer and neuroscience care that improve outcomes and quality of life.

“John will be a tremendous asset for the medical school, UT Austin and the entire community,” said Dr. S. Gail Eckhardt, executive director of Dell Med’s LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes and chair of the medical school’s Department of Oncology. “We look forward to his collaboration with community providers to further develop Austin as a center of excellence in neuro-oncology.”