The Inaugural Sarah J. Nelson, PhD Brain Tumor Symposium with Invited Speaker Etty (Tika) Benveniste, PhD


November 14, 2019



Time Duration

3:00pm – 6:00pm


Mission Bay | 600 16th St. San Francisco CA 94158 | Genentech Hall Byers Auditorium

The UCSF Department of Neurological Surgery Brain Tumor Center
The UCSF Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging

Warmly invite you to the Inaugural Sarah J. Nelson, PhD Brain Tumor Symposium



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Etty (Tika) Benveniste, PhD
Senior Vice Dean for Basic Sciences, School of Medicine (SOM)
Associate Vice President for Medicine and Basic Sciences
Charlene A. Jones Endowed Chair in Neuroimmunology
Professor, Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology
Co-Director, UAB Multiple Sclerosis Center
Associate Director, Basic Science Research • O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center
University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)

About Dr. Benviniste:
Dr. Tika Benveniste is currently Senior Vice Dean for Basic Sciences at the UAB School of Medicine, and holds the Charlene A. Jones Endowed Chair in Neuroimmunology. She was Founding Chair of the Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology (2012-2015), and served as Chair of the Department of Cell Biology (2000-2011). Previously, Dr. Benveniste was the Founding Associate Dean for Postdoctoral Education (1999-2001) and Director, Graduate Program in Cell Biology (1995-2000).

Dr. Benveniste initiated research as a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA in the emerging field of neuroimmunology, elucidating mechanisms by which cells of the immune system and the central nervous system communicate and influence functionality. Specifically, her lab has focused on the interaction of cells of the immune system (T-cells, neutrophils, macrophages) with cells of the central nervous system (microglia, astrocytes), with a particular focus on the role of interferons, cytokines and chemokines. These studies have implications for a number of autoimmune/ neurodegenerative diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease. She leads an active program in understanding the biologic basis of macrophage and neutrophil polarization, and CD4+ T-cell differentiation in the context of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, an animal model of MS. More recently, her lab has explored the pathogenic potential of CD4+ T-cells in pre-clinical models of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, evaluating the role of protein kinase CK2. Furthermore, her lab is studying the mechanisms by which two signaling pathways, JAK/STAT and CK2, contribute to the pathogenesis of brain tumors, seeking to elucidate the mechanisms that lead to aberrant activation of these pathways in Glioblastoma (GBM) and the use of specific JAK and CK2 inhibitors to block these pathways in vivo. A more recent area of study is how the microbiome influences the efficacy of check-point inhibitors in pre-clinical models of GBM. Her laboratory has over 240 publications on these topics in journals such as J. Clin. Invest. InsightPNASJ. Immunol.J. Neurosci.Nature Immunol.Cancer Immunol. Res.Mol. Cell Biol.Clin. Cancer Res., and others. Dr. Benveniste’s research is supported by grants from the NIH (NCI, NINDS), the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Dr. Benveniste was elected in 2009 as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).


Dr. Benveniste takes great pride in her mentorship activities, which include the training/mentoring of over 270 high school students, undergraduates, graduate students, medical students, residents, postdoctoral fellows, visiting scholars and junior faculty. Specifically, 36 graduate students have obtained their Ph.D. degree from Dr. Benveniste’s lab, and 33 postdoctoral fellows have trained with her. The majority of her former graduate students and postdoctoral fellows are in academic faculty positions. In 2014, Dr. Benveniste was honored to receive the UAB Graduate School Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring. In addition, Dr. Benveniste is involved in mentoring/training activities nationally with the Society for NeuroOncology (SNO) and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).