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Surgical and Molecular Neuro-Oncology Unit - Division of Intramural Research


John Park Image

John Park, M.D., Ph.D., Investigator

Dr. Park received an Sc.B. from Brown University in 1985 and an M.D.,Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1992. As an undergraduate, he worked under Dr. Ford Ebner and characterized the growth of neocortical brain transplants. His graduate thesis under Drs. Steven Burakoff and Fred Rosen was on the role of the CD43 molecule in the immune response. In 1998, he completed the Harvard Medical School/Children's Hospital/Brigham and Women's Hospital neurosurgery residency program and joined the faculty of these institutions. In the laboratory of Dr. Charles Stiles at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, he studied the role of immediate early genes in neural stem cell development. He has received awards from the American Brain Tumor Association, the Pediatric Section of the AANS and CNS, the New England Cancer Society, and the Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation. Dr. Park joined the NINDS as a tenure track investigator in 2002 and is head of the Surgical and Molecular Neuro-oncology Unit. His laboratory investigates the mechanisms of brain tumor development and chemotherapy resistance. A board certified neurosurgeon, Dr. Park specializes in the surgical treatment of patients with primary and metastatic brain tumors, particularly those in eloquent brain areas.

Laboratory Staff

Yong Choi, Ph.D., Research Fellow
Andrea Sedlock, B.S., M.S, Biologist
Kelly Shaffer, M.D., Graduate Student

Research Interests

Malignant gliomas, the most common primary intrinsic tumors of the brain, are highly lethal and are associated with median survivals of one to three years. In recent years, there has been increasing evidence that the cells of origin for these tumors are transformed neural stem cells, commonly referred to as “tumor stem cells.” One focus of the laboratory is the characterization of the normal and aberrant developmental processes used by these cells as they grow and develop into tumors. In particular, we are examining the transcriptional events that drive the differentiation of normal and malignant neural stem cells into astrocytes and glioma cells, respectively. The goal of the research is the identification and development of novel targets and strategies for the treatment of malignant gliomas.

Malignant gliomas are generally resistant to all conventional therapies. A subset of these tumors, anaplastic oligodendrogliomas with loss of heterozygosity (LOH) of chromosome 1p, however, are frequently responsive to PCV chemotherapy, and the median survivals of patients with these tumors can exceed ten years. A second focus of the lab is the clinical, genetic, biochemical, and functional characterization of a 1p encoded protein which is haploinsufficient in the setting of 1p LOH and renders tumors sensitive to specific classes of chemotherapy. A better understanding of the role of this protein in chemotherapy resistance mechanisms may lead to the rational design of more effective therapeutic strategies.


Clinical Protocols

  • Diffusion Tensor MRI to Distinguish Brain Tumor Recurrence from Radiation Necrosis  06-N-0085

Selected Recent Publications

  • Schmalz PGR, Shen M, and Park JK
    Treatment Resistance Mechanisms of Malignant Glioma Tumor Stem Cells, Cancers, 2011, vol. 3, pp. 621-635. Full Text/Abstract
  • Park JK, Hodges T, Arko L, Shen M, Dello Iacono D, McNabb A, Bailey NO, Kreisl TN, Iwamoto FM, Sul J, Auh S, Park GE, Fine HA, and Black PM
    Scale to predict survival after surgery for recurrent glioblastoma multiforme, J Clin Oncol, 2010, vol. 28, pp. 3838-3843. Full Text/Abstract
  • Arko L, Katsyv I, Park GE, Luan WP and Park JK
    Experimental approaches for the treatment of malignant gliomas, Pharmacol Ther, 2010, vol. 128, pp. 1-36. Full Text/Abstract
  • Kreisl TN, Kim L, Moore K, Duic P, Royce C, Stroud I, Garren N, Mackey M, Butman JA, Camphausen K, Park J, Albert PS and Fine HA
    Phase II trial of single-agent bevacizumab followed by bevacizumab plus irinotecan at tumor progression in recurrent glioblastoma, J Clin Oncol, 2009, vol. 27(5), pp. 740-5. Full Text/Abstract
  • Liang X-J, Choi Y, Sackett DL, Park JK
    Nitrosoureas Inhibit the Stathmin-Mediated Migration and Invasion of Malignant Glioma Cells, Cancer Res, 2008, vol. 68, pp. 5267-72. Full Text/Abstract
  • Ngo TT, Peng T, Liang XJ, Akeju O, Pastorino S, Zhang W, Kotliarov Y, Zenklusen JC, Fine HA, Maric D, Wen PY, De Girolami U, Black PM, Wu WW, Shen RF, Jeffries NO, Kang DW, Park JK.
    The 1p-encoded protein stathmin and resistance of malignant gliomas to nitrosoureas., J Natl Cancer Inst, 2007, vol. 99(8), pp. 639-52. Full Text/Abstract
  • Park DM, Li J, Okamoto H, Akeju O, Kim SH, Lubensky I, Vortmeyer A, Dambrosia J, Weil RJ, Oldfield EH, Park JK*, Zhuang P* (*corresponding authors)
    N-CoR pathway targeting induces glioblastoma derived cancer stem cell differentiation, Cell Cycle, 2007, vol. 6(4), pp. 467-70. Full Text/Abstract
  • Park JK, Williams BP, Alberta JA, Stiles CD
    Bipotent cortical progenitor cells process conflicting cues for neurons and glia in a hierarchical manner, J Neurosci, 1999, vol. 19, pp. 10383-10389. Full Text/Abstract

Selected Earlier Publications


Contact Information

Surgical Neurology Branch, NINDS
Porter Neuroscience Research Center
Building 35, Room 2B-1002
35 Convent Drive, MSC 3706
Bethesda, MD 20892-3706

Telephone: 301-402-6935 (office), 301-402-6935 (laboratory), 301-480-0099 (fax)
Email: parkjo@ninds.nih.gov