APL Colloquium

December 11, 2013

Colloquium Topic: Engines of Brain Cancer Migration

The objectives of the lecture are as follows:

1. Understand migratory behavior of brain cancer
2. Illustrate the radioresistance and chemoresistance of brain cancer
3. Describe the population of brain tumor stem cells in these cancers

In the lab, the objective is to understand the molecular motors affecting glioma dispersion. Gliomas are the most common type of primary brain tumor, with 40,000 people in the United States diagnosed every year. The diffuse infiltration of glioblastoma (GBM) cells into the healthy brain makes complete surgical removal nearly impossible, leading to recurrence in 99% of cases. Despite a combination of radiation and chemotherapy, median survival remains at approximately one year for patients with GBMs. Increasing evidence suggests that the ability to generate tumors resides only in a specific population of cells (brain tumor stem cells) that share characteristics such as self-renewal, multipotency, and the ability to migrate long distances, with normal neural stem cells, found in the subventricular zone of the brain.

Colloquium Speaker: Alfredo QuiƱones-Hinojosa

Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, MD, FAANS, FACS
Professor of Neurological Surgery and Oncology, Neuroscience and Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Director, Brain Tumor Surgery Program, JHB and Director, Pituitary Surgery Program, JHH
Department of Neurosurgery, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, MD (often referred to as Dr. Q) was born in a little village near Mexicali, Mexico. He spent his childhood in Mexico until he jumped the border fence into the United States at the age of 19. Speaking no English at that time, he worked on farms outside of Fresno, California earning money to take English classes. From there he took classes at San Joaquin Delta College in California and earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. In fact, he graduated with highest honors.

Dr. Q received a medical degree from Harvard University, where he graduated cum laude. He went on to complete his residency in neurosurgery at the University of California, San Francisco, where he also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in developmental and stem cell biology.  At The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, Dr. Quiñones is a Professor of Neurosurgery and Oncology, Neuroscience and Cellular and Molecular Medicine. In addition to directing the Brain Tumor Surgery Program at Johns Hopkins Bayview Hospital, and the Pituitary Surgery Program at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Dr. Quiñones leads the Brain Tumor Stem Cell Laboratory.  He focuses on the surgical treatment of primary and metastatic brain tumors, with an emphasis on motor and speech mapping during surgery.

 Dr. Q is an internationally renowned neurosurgeon and neuroscientist who leads cutting edge research to cure brain cancer.  Named as one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in 2008, Dr. Q was also selected by Popular Science magazine as one of their 6th Annual Brilliant Ten in their search for young genius influencing the course of science.  He has received an honorary degree and appointed to the Board of Trustees at Southern Vermont College.  Dr. Q has published over 230 peer-reviewed articles and over 40 book chapters and has edited two books on stem cells.  He is the lead editor for the 6th edition of Schmidek and Sweet's Operative Neurosurgical Techniques, the world's preeminent encyclopedia of neurosurgery. He has also published an autobiography, “Becoming Dr. Q” about his journey from migrant farm worker to brain surgeon.

Dr. Q conducts numerous research efforts on elucidating the role of stem cells in the origin of brain tumors and the potential role stem cells can play in fighting brain cancer and regaining neurological function.  He has received R01 funding from the National Institute of Health for his work with stem cells and cancer and his awards include also grants from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Physician-Scientist Early Career Award, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, an the Maryland Stem Cell Foundation .  Dr. Q has given over 200 invited lectures nationally and internationally, including visiting professorships at several universities.

Besides being a constantly in-demand lecturer on an array of subjects, Dr. Q continues to galvanize public attention. On the award-winning ABC series Hopkins, his was the lead episode.  Along with appearances on such shows as NOVA, CNN with Sanjay Gupta, CBS news with Katie Couric, NBC's The Today Show, as well as on National Public Radio, Dr. Q has been featured in a variety of newspapers and magazines and has a growing on-line following.  Dr. Q is regularly listed as one of the Best Doctors in America and America’s Top Surgeons as well as Baltimore Top Docs.  He has been the recipient of “Health Care Heroes Award”, which recognizes doctors who make a difference in the lives of their patients.  In addition, he also delivers motivational addresses, and in 2013 spoke to the graduating classes of Johns Hopkins University, UC Irvine and National University at their commencements.