Duane Mitchell, M.D., Ph.D.

Phyllis Kottler Friedman Professor of Neurosurgery

College of Medicine

2019 Awardee

Since the beginning of his doctoral studies 25 years ago, Duane Mitchell has been dedicated to research focused on utilizing the human immune system to combat different cancer tumors.

“My overall goal has always been to facilitate meaningful efforts that can ultimately bring about the realization of safe and effective immunotherapy treatments for patients with malignant brain tumors,” Mitchell said.

His specific research area has focused on developing cellular immunotherapy to treat pediatric and adult brain tumors. Mitchell’s lab has been successful in translating several approaches into first-in-human clinical trials in patients with malignant brain tumors. To date, 10 new brain tumor immunotherapy trials have been developed from discoveries made in Mitchell’s lab.

“I believe in a strongly integrated research enterprise that spans the spectrum from discovery science to interventional human trials,” Mitchell said. “I’d like this to realize its maximal potential for relevant and impactful contributions to the field of neuro-oncology.”

Over the last five and half years in partnership with William A. Friedman, his team has developed the Wells Brain Tumor Center dedicated to the clinical care of brain tumor patients and to research finding newer, more effective treatments for malignant brain tumors.

Mitchell received a 2016 Top 10 Clinical Research Achievement Award from the Clinical Research Forum in Washington, D.C., recognizing the results published in Nature (Mitchell et al., 2015) from a phase 1 trial of a novel cancer vaccine. He was also the recipient of the UFHCC 2019 Top Influencer Award and received an appointment in 2018 to the National Cancer Institute’s Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC). He was also selected to chair the 2019 NCI site visit for the Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Branch.

In 2019, Mitchell was appointed to co-chair the Annual Society of Neuro-Oncology Meeting Education Day. He also serves as a permanent member of the NIH study section on Cancer Immunotherapy and Immunopathology (CII). Currently, he is a PI on three active NIH awards and holds several private foundation grants. Over the last five years, Mitchell has authored 42 publications, including featured papers in Clinical Cancer Research, Nature Communications, Neuro-Oncology and Nature, and is co-inventor on over 10 filed UF patents.