Darell Bigner, MD, PhD, director of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke, has received the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Medicine, honoris causa at Lund University in Sweden. The honorary degree is given to a prominent scientist who has collaborated with the University. During the three-hour ceremony conducted in Latin, Bigner was honored for his career-long contributions to brain tumor research and for his long-standing collaboration with Swedish investigators, particularly those at the University of Lund.
Bigner’s first collaboration with Swedish investigators began in the 1970s with Drs. Jan Pontén and Bengt Westermark of the University of Uppsula. He has also collaborated with Lars Svennerholm, Pam Fredman and Jan-Eric Mansson of the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, developing monoclonal antibodies which are being developed into therapeutic reagents reactive with gangliosides. Most recently, Bigner and his colleagues at the University of Lund are planning joint brain tumor vaccine studies.
In addition to director of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center, Dr. Bigner is also the Edwin L. Jones, Jr. and Lucille Finch Jones Cancer Research Professor and director of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation Institute at Duke. He is considered one of the leading authorities on brain tumors in the world. His research concerns the cause and improved diagnosis and treatment of malignant brain tumors in adults and children.
Dr. Bigner has also received three consecutive MERIT awards by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The MERIT Award is a highly selective award presented by the National Institutes of Health that recognizes superior researchers who have demonstrated outstanding competence and productivity in research endeavors. MERIT Awards are given only to the top 1% of NCI investigators.