February 28, 2022

Van Meir appointed to Inaugural David Hart White Endowed Professorship for Brain Cancer Research

Written by

Erwin G. Van Meir, Ph.D., has been appointed to the newly established David Hart White Endowed Professorship for Brain Cancer Research at the NCI-designated O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB.Dr. Erwin Van Meir 4

As the inaugural holder of the professorship, Van Meir, who also serves as an associate director for the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center and professor in the Department of Neurosurgery, has spent his career studying the molecular basis for human tumor development and how to devise novel therapeutics that will improve patient survival. He joined UAB in 2019 after leading a research team studying brain cancer for more than 20 years at Emory University.

He noted that the establishment of the new professorship underscores the community’s strong commitment to advance scientific knowledge about cancer and, in the process, identify new ways to target it so that new therapeutics can be designed for patients young and old. “It takes a team effort, and when we all work together to address cancer we can achieve a lot more. Brain tumors are particularly challenging because their growth damages the central nervous system, with medulloblastoma and glioblastoma being the most malignant and claiming the lives of children and adults,” he said. “It is wonderful that the O’Neal and White families and other donors are uniting with the O’Neal to help foster a culture of research, discovery and entrepreneurship to find the new drugs we need.”

Penny Page, one of the family members who helped establish the professorship, noted that her family has been touched by cancer too many times. “My father, David White, died from lung cancer that metastasized to his brain, and that is why it was important for us to endow this professorship,” she said. “My sisters, my brother and I are excited to have Dr. Van Meir in Birmingham and to be the first holder of the David Hart White Endowed Professorship in Brain Cancer Research. We look forward to hearing more about his work at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center.”