Dr. Balveen Kaur
Dr. Balveen Kaur

An internationally recognized neuro-oncologist has joined McGovern Medical School to establish a new translational research program focused on cancer biology and therapeutic resistance.

Balveen Kaur, Ph.D., has been named professor and vice chair in the Department of Neurosurgery as well as the school’s second holder of a John P. and Kathrine G. McGovern Distinguished Chair.

Established by the transformational $75 million John P. McGovern Foundation gift made to the school in 2015, 10 McGovern Endowed Chairs recognize distinguished scientists and/or physicians whose accomplishments and conduct exhibit the standards of excellence of the late Dr. John P. McGovern. The first McGovern Distinguished Chair named was Holger Eltzschig, M.D., Ph.D., interim chair of the Department of Anesthesiology.

“Dr. Kaur’s research distinctions make her an excellent addition to our faculty and a most worthy McGovern Chair,” Dean Barbara J. Stoll said. “With her leadership and collaboration, I am confident she will establish one of the most successful research centers in the country.”

Kaur was recruited from the Ohio State University, where her research program identified novel therapeutic approaches to treat brain tumors. The new neuro-oncology program she will direct at McGovern Medical School will integrate activities across numerous departments and promote collaborative research.

Kaur also has been named a UT System STARs Award recipient.

The UT System Board of Regents created the Faculty Science and Technology Acquisition and Retention (STARs) Program in 2004 to help UT institutions attract and retain the best-qualified faculty. Awards, which can be used to purchase equipment and renovate facilities, require institutional support. Priority is given to recruitment or retention of individuals with national reputations and the promise of election to national honorific societies.

“We are delighted to have successfully recruited Dr. Kaur to our institution,” said Michael Blackburn, Ph.D., executive vice president and chief academic officer of UTHealth.  “She brings unique research and leadership skills that will help us grow our cancer research programs and enhance research training at UTHealth.”

Kaur received her MSc in biotechnology from Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, India and her Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from Emory University in Atlanta, where she also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in molecular neuro-oncology.

Kaur joined the Ohio State University in 2005 and most recently was professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery, Department of Neuroscience, and Department of Radiation Oncology; associate director of the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute; co-director of the Ohio State University Office of Postdoctoral Research, and vice chair of research for the Department of Neurological Surgery.

Kaur has contributed more than 90 peer-review publications to biomedical journals and has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 2008.