Dr. John H. Sampson, MD, PhD

John H. Sampson, MD, PhD, is the Robert H. and Gloria Wilkins Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at Duke University as well as the Co-Leader of the Duke Cancer Institute’s Neuro-Oncology Program. He  is an internationally recognized neurosurgeon and clinical scholar with deep knowledge and experience in development of new drugs and treatment strategies against brain tumors, including glioblastoma multiforme.

Dr. Sampson received his M.D from the University of Manitoba (Canada) in 1990 and his PhD in Pathology from Duke University in 1990. He completed his clinical residency training in surgery and neurosurgery at Duke University (1991-1998) and joined the Duke University faculty in 1998.  He also received Master of Health Science (MHS) (2007) and Master of Business Administration (MAB) (2011) degrees from Duke University.  At Duke University, Dr. Sampson has been a Professor of Neurosurgery since 2009 and the Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery since 2015.

Dr. Sampson was named to the prestigious National Academy of Medicine in 2017. In addition to membership in the National Academy of Medicine, Dr. Sampson is a member of the Association of American Physicians (AAP). In April 2018 he was elected president of the Private Diagnostic Clinic, Duke’s physician practice with 1,650 members and $865 million annual total revenue.

Dr. Sampson is a recognized leader in the surgical resection and experimental treatment of complex brain tumors. His clinical practice is focused on treating patients with both benign and malignant brain tumors, while his research laboratory is actively investigating immunotherapy and new modalities of precision drug delivery to brain tumor tissue while avoiding healthy tissue. He is a neurosurgeon-scientist who develops novel drugs for patients with brain tumors and focuses on the development, translation, and mechanistic understanding of immunotherapies. His research led to the development of a vaccine against a common mutation in brain tumors that was given Breakthrough Therapy Designation by the FDA after it was shown to extend survival in patients with glioblastoma multiforme, the most lethal form of brain cancer. Dr. Sampson has published more than 200 peer-reviewed articles in journals such as Nature, JAMA, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and has been an editorial board member for all major journals in the field. His recent publications in the official journals of the American Association of Cancer Research have provided very important scientific and clinical insights and guidance about how to best activate a brain tumor patient’s immune system against his cancer.  Likewise, he published on the best treatment options for advanced stage cancer patients with brain metastases.

Dr. Sampson has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for 20 years. He is the Principal Investigator of the Duke SPORE in Brain Cancer grant from the Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) program of the National Cancer Institute. He also is the recipient of a very prestigious 5-year grant award from NIH for further development of a brain tumor vaccine.