Neurosurgeon-scientist honored for work in the laboratory and the clinic

Dr. Linda Liau looking at a test tube.

Dr. Linda Liau, chair of the neurosurgery department at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, has been awarded the Abhijit Guha Award for her pioneering work on treating brain tumors.

Established in memory of the late Dr. Abhijit Guha, the award is jointly sponsored by the Society for Neuro-Oncology and the Joint Section on Tumors of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. It is given to an individual who is recognized as being an outstanding clinician with an active research laboratory. In addition, the recipient will have played an active role in the mentorship of the next generation of neuro-oncology professionals.

Liau, a neurosurgeon-scientist in UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, has dedicated the last two decades to developing and refining treatment strategies for glioblastoma, an aggressive and fast-growing type of brain tumor. Her research with dendritic cells has led to one of the first personalized vaccines for people with glioblastoma, a type of tumor that had previously been thought to be immune-privileged. Liau and her team were the first to test the vaccine in people and were able to demonstrate that the body could actually mount an immune response against tumors in the brain following the vaccination. For some of the patients in Liau’s studies, the vaccine has added months, even years, of life for those with a disease that often only has a lifespan of months.

The award was presented to Liau during the Society for Neuro-Oncology’s 23rd annual meeting in November.