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Kuo, John S.

John S Kuo

Professor of Neurosurgery, Professor of Medicine
Department of Neurosurgery, Department of Oncology


Phone: 512-495-5557

Office Location

Postal Address
AUSTIN, TX 78712

Research Interests

My lab has the goal of advancing understanding of cancer stem cell (CSC) molecular biology and developing better cancer diagnostics and therapies. CSCs are the hypothesized drivers of rapid brain cancer recurrence in patients, exhibit stem cell-like properties of self-renewal and multipotent differentiation, and initiate tumors with high efficiency in a xenograft model. Isolating and using human glioblastoma cancer stem cell (GSC) lines and animal xenograft models, we are elucidating tumorigenic signaling/developmental pathways, oncogenic/tumor suppressor microRNAs, performing de novo screens for GSC-specific markers and differential mechanisms of GSC invasiveness to identify new GBM clinical biomarkers. We also test novel therapies in vitro and in vivo, including novel cancer-targeting analogs and immune-specific agents for translation to clinical trials in GBM and metastatic cancers to brain.


Dr. John S. Kuo, an internationally known neurosurgeon-scientist who specializes in brain tumors, is 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.

He was born in Taiwan, immigrated to New York City, and won a top National Westinghouse Science Talent Search scholarship for microbial genetics research while at the Bronx H.S. of Science. Dr. Kuo graduated with an AB summa cum laude in Biology from Harvard College, and was awarded an MSTP fellowship for joint MD and PhD studies at Harvard Medical School (Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology) and MIT's Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. Then he completed training in clinical neurosurgery at the University of Southern California and an NREF-American Brain Tumor Association postdoctoral fellowship at University of Toronto's Labatt Brain Tumour Research Centre. 

Dr. Kuo is a board-certified neurosurgeon specializing in surgery for adult brain tumors, with special expertise in pituitary surgery and stereotactic radiosurgery. To develop novel therapies and improve clinical outcomes, he also directs an NIH-funded translational research lab studying cancer stem cell/brain tumor biology and experimental therapeutics. He leads and participates in many multi-institutional brain tumor clinical trials as Chair of the CNS Tumors Group at UW's Carbone Cancer Center. Dr. Kuo has co-authored many high impact publications, including highlighted articles in Science Translational Medicine, Clinical Cancer Research, Neurosurgery, Nature Clinical Reviews Oncology, and given many invited national and international talks. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, American Academy of Neurological Surgeons and Society of University Surgeons; he also won the Preuss Award, Headrush Brain Tumor Research award, and the NREF Young Clinician Investigator award. Dr. Kuo was named as one of America's Top Doctors, the Yeoh Ghim Seng Visiting Professor in Surgery at the National University of Singapore, and also earned multiple teaching awards at Harvard, MIT and University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also has a strong record of mentoring many high school, undergraduate, graduate and medical students, residents, postdoctoral fellows and scientists. He has served on multiple NIH study sections, California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, MD Anderson Cancer Moonshot Scientific Advisory Board and other national/international scientific review boards. Dr. Kuo serves on multiple editorial boards including Scientific Reports, World Neurosurgery, Operative Neurosurgery and Neuromolecular Medicine.