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John S. Yu, MD

  • Director, Brain Tumor Center
  • Director, Surgical Neuro-oncology
  • Department of Neurosurgery
  • Neurosurgical Director, Gamma Knife Center

John S. Yu, MD, is an internationally renowned neurosurgeon specializing in the treatment of malignant and benign tumors of the brain and spine. He is an expert in the use of radiation therapy and radiosurgery to stop the progression of tumors, and he leads research in immunotherapy, gene therapy, and bone marrow-derived neural stem cells as new approaches to treating tumors.

Dr. Yu’s research experience dates back to the early 1980s when he was in the Honors research program at Stanford University and a student of French literature and biology at the Universite de Paris and Institut Pasteur in France, where he conducted research in the Department of Immunology. He received grant-supported research fellowships in the 1990s, and for the past decade has been awarded National Institutes of Health grants for his work to find new ways to undermine gliomas and glioblastoma multiforme.

He began his teaching and administrative career at Harvard Medical School and served as assistant clinical professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of California (Irvine) Medical School from 1997 to 2001.

Dr. Yu joined Cedars-Sinai in 1997 as one of the key founding members of the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute. He serves on the Faculty Academic Advisory Council and the Cancer Committee, and he is a Quality Assurance Facilitator in Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai.


  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Association of Neurological Surgeon
  • Joint Section on Tumors, American Association for Neurological Surgeons and Congress of Neurological Surgeons
  • Society for Neuro-Oncology
  • International Society for Cellular Therapy
  • Editor, Current Stem Cell Research and Therapy
  • Ad hoc reviewer: Cancer Research, The Lancet, Clinical Cancer Research, Oncogene, Molecular Therapy, and Journal of Neuro-Oncology


  • Participant, Brain Tumor Progress Review Group Roundtable, National Cancer Institute and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
  • Ad hoc reviewer for Research Programs Review Branch, National Cancer Institute 
  • Member, Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs Peer Review Program, National Cancer Institute


  • National Board of Medical Examiners
  • American Board of Neurological Surgery


  • Recipient of the Preuss Resident Award, Joint Section on Tumors, American Association of Neurological Surgeons and Congress of Neurological Surgeons
  •  Awarded several patents for advances related to treatment of tumors and other brain disorders
  • Co-authored several book chapters on gene therapy, skull base surgery for meningiomas, immunotherapy for malignant gliomas, and radiosurgery for intracranial lesions
  • Listed among America's Top Surgeons and America's Top Doctors
  • Named in several Marquis Who’s Who publications including:
    Who’s Who in Medicine in 2002
    Who’s Who in Science and Engineering since 2003
    Who’s Who in America in 2009
  • One of America's Top Cancer Specialists since 2005

  • Bachelor’s Degree: Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 1985
  • Master’s Degree: Harvard University Department of Genetics, Cambridge, MA, 1990
  •  Medical Degree: Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA, 1990
  • Internship: General Surgery, Beth Israel Hospital, Boston, MA, 1990-1991
  • Residency: Neurosurgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, 1991-1997
  • Fellowship: Gene Transfer Strategies, National Institute of Mental Health, 1986 
  • Fellowship: Neuroscience, National Institute of Mental Health, Neuroimmunology Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, 1988-1989
  • Fellowship: Molecular Neurogenetics Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, 1993-1995

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