Darell D. Bigner, MD, PhD, started at Duke in 1963 as a medical student and has remained there for the past 41 years, with the exception of two years spent at the NIH (1968-70). He is the Edwin L. Jones, Jr. and Lucille Finch Jones Cancer Research Professor, Director of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke, and Director of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation Institute at Duke. Dr. Bigner is also co-Program Leader of the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Neuro-Oncology Program, Vice-Chairman of Investigative Pathology, Director of the Preuss Laboratory for Brain Tumor Research, former Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Neuro-Oncology, and Chairman of the Scientific Review Board of the National Cancer Center, and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. Most notably, Dr. Bigner co-founded the Brain Tumor Society’s research grant program in 1991 and served as Scientific Advisory Council Chair for 15 years.
Dr. Bigner is considered one of the leading authorities on brain tumors in the world. He has published more than 400 full-length manuscripts, books, chapters, and reviews, all on brain tumors. His research concerns the cause and improved diagnosis and treatment of malignant brain tumors in adults and children. His laboratory is the lead laboratory in Duke’s Neuro-Oncology Program, and the goals of his lab are to study basic mechanisms of neoplastic transformation and mechanisms of altered growth control in malignant brain tumors and tumors that metastasize to the brain and spinal cord. Monoclonal antibodies developed in Dr. Bigner’s laboratory are currently in clinical trials for patients with malignant brain tumors.
Dr. Bigner was awarded three consecutive MERIT awards by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The MERIT Award is a highly selective award presented by the National Institutes of Health that recognizes superior researchers who have demonstrated outstanding competence and productivity in research endeavors. MERIT Awards are given only to the top 1% of NCI investigators, and it is extremely rare for anyone to receive three consecutive MERIT awards.