Translational Neurosciences

The Translational Neurosciences department is committed to accelerate the development of novel therapies for brain cancers and neurological disorders through drug innovations and precision medicine.

Translational Neurosciences Team at JWCI

Our Vision

Translational Neurosciences - Saint John's Cancer Institute
Saint John’s Cancer Institute Translational Neurosciences department supports a multidisciplinary and collaborative research approach
  • Make an impact on brain and metastatic cancers
  • Develop innovative, efficient, and transformational treatment strategies
  • Develop early disease detection approaches for cancer and brain disorders
  • Optimize stem cell therapies for cancers and brain disorders
  • Optimize Brain Health by preventing neurotoxicity, and developing new therapies to regenerate the brain
  • Optimize patient and caregiver quality of life

Partnership & Collaboration

The Saint John’s Cancer Institute maintains global academic and industry partnerships.

Under the direction of Santosh Kesari, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Neurosciences, Chair of Translational Neurosciences & Director of Neuro-oncology, the department of Translational Neurosciences partners and collaborates with academic, institutions, industry organizations, and cancer centers worldwide to optimize therapies for brain cancer and disorders. These collaborations have resulted in promising new cancer therapies that aim to to extend the lives of people with brain cancer and bridge the gap in neurotherapeutic discovery and development.


Institute for Systems Biology

  • Computational modeling and network pharmacology

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount-Sinai

  • Plexin-B2 Function in Glioma Invasion and Glioma Stem Cell Maintenance (Roland Friedel)

The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

  • The role of Nrf2 in mediating resistance to EGFR inhibition in glioblastoma
Neurosciences Collaboration - Saint John's Cancer Institute
Saint John’s Cancer Institute employs a multidisciplinary approach, empowering a collaborative team environment.

Current Research Topics

Neuroscience clinical trials are conducted for:

  • Brain Cancer (Primary) Studies
  • Brain Metastasis
  • Solid Tumors
  • Neurology
  • Quality and Outcomes Research

Cancer Therapeutic Studies

More than 18,000 Americans develop a tumor in the brain or central nervous system annually, and the number of patients with metastatic brain tumors continues to grow. Although progress has been made, many brain tumors do not respond to standard treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy and surgery remains the only approved option for patient with brain cancer. Therefore, there is an urgent need for better treatments and management strategies for brain cancer. In the Translational Neurosciences Laboratory, we take a comprehensive, interdisciplinary approach to gain a better molecular and biological understanding of malignant gliomas and other brain tumors. We integrate studies on tumor genetics, tumor microenvironment, and chemoresistance in brain tumors, as well as other type of cancers (i.e., colon, ovarian, breast, and prostate), and translate them into practical application and novel therapies for patients.

Current projects include:

Translational Neuroscience Research - Saint John's Cancer Institute
Saint John’s Cancer Institute supports a comprehensive, interdisciplinary approach to understanding brain tumors.
  • Olig2 biology in cancer
  • Targeting cancer stem cells
  • PDGFR signaling in glioblastoma
  • Biological mechanisms of drug resistance
  • Role of wnt signaling in chemo-resistance and design of new treatment strategies
  • New drug discovery
  • Preclinical pipelines for drug screening
  • Early cancer detection and biomarkers
  • Cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers
  • Identification of biomarkers using genomics and proteomics in brain cancer
  • Analysis of immune microenvironment in brain cancers/ identifying potential drug targets
  • Immunotherapy for brain cancers

Neuroscience Research Studies

Neurological disorders affect almost one billion people worldwide. There are more than 600 diseases of the nervous system including stroke, tumors, developmental disorders, metabolic disorders, and hereditary diseases, as well as degenerative diseases. The Translational Neurosciences Laboratory has established cross-disciplinary collaborative research programs with the goal of improving health care for neurological illness. In addition to the identification and development of new classes of therapeutic compounds targeting neuronal pathways, processes, and proteins, we study stem cell technologies in efforts to reverse neural tissue damage and to recover neurological deficits that eventually can be used as new clinically efficacious regenerative therapy. The Saint John’s Cancer Institute works directly with the Pacific Neuroscience Institute, collaborating with physicians who provide precision, leading-edge care for patients with a wide spectrum of neurological and cranial disorders.

Current projects include:

Pacific Neuroscience Institute
Learn more about Pacific Neuroscience Institute at
  • Development of drugs for dementia
  • Stem Cell Therapeutics
  • Brain Health
  • New Devices and Technologies to monitor neurological function

News and additional information

For the latest information and news, please visit the

Neuroscience NIH Articles