Our Brain Tumor Program Leaders

David Largaespada, Ph.D., Director

Dr. Largaespada, the Margaret Harvey Schering Land Grant Chair in Cancer Genetics and Associate Director, Basic Sciences, Masonic Cancer Center,is a research professor whose laboratory has developed entirely new model systems for brain tumors in mice. He has been a member of the Masonic Cancer Center for many years and is the Cancer Center Associate Director for Basic Research. His laboratory has been able to create unique and important animal models of medulloblastoma and glioblastoma, two lethal brain tumors. Dr. Largaespada’s work with the random insertional mutagenesis or “Sleeping Beauty” model is nationally recognized and funded by the NCI.


Christopher Moertel, M.D.

Christopher Moertel, the Kenneth and Betty Jane Dahlberg Professor of Neuro-oncology, Clinical Director of the Pediatric Neuro-oncology Program and Medical Director, Comprehensive Neurofibromatosis Clinic, is a pediatric neuro-oncologist who specializes in treating children and young adults with brain tumors. He also sees patients of all ages with neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that can lead to a variety of life-altering complications. Moertel led the first vaccine trial for brain tumors at the U of M and is currently overseeing the second human clinical trial that investigates how a vaccine—made of tumor cells—may help treat children with brain cancer. He is nationally recognized for his expertise in pediatric neuro-oncology and is the Medical Director of the program. Dr. Moertel has organized collaborations with colleagues in the Twin Cities as well as nationally.


Matthew A. Hunt, M.D.

Matthew Hunt is an Assistant Professor in the Deptartment of Neurosurgery and his clinical interests include neuro-oncology, general  neurosurgery, and spine surgery.  He specializes in the treatment of primary and metastatic brain tumors, including gliomas such as astrocytoma and glioblastoma.  Treatment including conventional and MRI-guided surgery, stereotactic radiosurgery, and blood brain barrier modification are offered in appropriate circumstances. Dr. Hunt is also involved in the Canine Brain Tumor Clinical Trials Program, which provides human levels of neuro-oncological care to our pets, in hopes that the synergy created will lead to novel therapies for both humans and their companions. He is currently leading investigations into the development of immunotherapy for meningioma.


William Elmquist, Ph.D.

William Elmquist is a Professor and Department Head of the College of Pharmacy, and the Director of the Brain Barrier Research Center. He has been a member of the BTP since inception, joining the executive committee in 2013. The long-term objectives of Dr. Elmquist's research include examining expression and regulation of transport systems in key tissues that influence drug disposition, and how variability in expression, either genetically or environmentally controlled, may contribute to variability in drug response in the patient.


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