John Sampson


Robert H., M.D. and Gloria Wilkins Professor of Neurosurgery, in the School of Medicine

John Sampson Profile Photo
John Sampson Profile Photo


Current research activities involve the immunotherapeutic targeting of a tumor-specific mutation in the epidermal growth factor receptor. Approaches used to target this tumor-specific epitope include unarmed and radiolabeled antibody therapy and cell mediated approaches using peptide vaccines and dendritic cells. Another area of interest involves drug delivery to brain tumors. Translational and clinical work is carried out in this area to formulate the relationship between various direct intratumoral infusion parameters and drug distribution within brain tumors and normal brain.

The Duke Brain Tumor Immunotherapy Program (BTIP) has an emphasis on translational research in Neuro-Oncology. There are two main areas of study. The first is novel mechanisms of delivery of large molecular weight molecules, such as monoclonal antibodies, throughout brain intersitial space using novel intracerebral infusion techniques developed by this laboratory. Studies exploring this technology are undertaken in both small and large laboratory animals and patients with brain tumors.

The other focus of the BTIP is translational immunotherapy. In this line of work, dendritic cell vaccination strategies and adoptive T-cell strategies have been developed to target novel and well-characterized tumor-specific antigens in patients with brain tumors. The BTIP integrates well with and works closely with the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke. The BTIP is well funded and currently holds seven NIH grants, including a SPORE in Brain Cancer grant. There are a large number of investigators at various levels so that students will get exposure to various levels of research and mentorship.


  • M.D. University of Manitoba (Canada), 1990
  • Ph.D. Duke University, 1996
  • M.H.S. Duke University School of Medicine, 2007
  • M.B.A. Duke University, 2011
  • University of Manitoba (Canada), 1989
  • Duke University, 1991
  • Duke University, 1998


  • Robert H., M.D. and Gloria Wilkins Professor of Neurosurgery, in the School of Medicine
  • Professor of Neurosurgery
  • Professor of Biomedical Engineering
  • Professor of Integrative Immunobiology
  • Professor of Radiation Oncology
  • Professor of Pathology
  • Professor in Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Member of the Duke Cancer Institute

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • Member. National Academy of Medicine. 2017

Courses Taught

  • BME 394: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)
  • BME 494: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)
  • EGR 393: Research Projects in Engineering
  • EGR 491: Projects in Engineering
  • PATHOL 293: Research Independent Study
  • PATHOL 793: Research Independent Study