Dr. Durden joins Children's Hospital & Medical Center, UNMC

by Sarah Weller, Children's Hospital & Medical Center | September 19, 2018

Image with caption: Donald Durden, M.D., Ph.D.

Donald Durden, M.D., Ph.D.

Donald Durden, M.D., Ph.D., an internationally renowned pediatric oncologist and researcher specializing in the treatment of children with brain tumors and the development of leading-edge therapeutics, has joined the teams at UNMC and Children's Hospital & Medical Center. Dr. Durden's research brings more than $9 million in NIH grant support to the Child Health Research Institute (CHRI), doubling its funding.

Dr. Durden will lead efforts to develop and apply targeted, personalized drug therapies for pediatric and adult cancer at Children's, UNMC and beyond. His innovative research and expertise align with Children's vision: "To be a global leader for children's health."

Dr. Durden has been named chief of the inaugural division of computational chemistry and innovative therapeutics, in addition to his role as professor within the department of pediatrics at Children's/UNMC. He also serves as interim division chief of pediatric hematology/oncology and holds the Children's Hospital & Medical Center Chair of Pediatric Oncology. Dr. Durden will be the CHRI's lead pediatric cancer investigator and help lead its scientific committee, while serving as associate director for pediatric oncology research at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. Within the UNMC College of Pharmacy, Dr. Durden is director of computational chemistry.

"We're enabled by science, and driven by compassion," Dr. Durden said. "When we see a 3-year-old completely paralyzed with a brain tumor, we have the burning desire to find a cure for that child. To this aim, we will develop within Children's a Phase I/II clinical trial infrastructure to ensure children in Nebraska, the region and beyond are receiving the very best, most innovative therapeutics."

"Dr. Durden's scientific breakthroughs have led to safer, more effective cancer treatments for children," said Richard G. Azizkhan, M.D., president & CEO of Children's Hospital & Medical Center. "His work is nothing short of life-changing -- and game-changing in terms of how we target and inhibit cancer cells. He is a true pioneer in the field of pediatric cancer research, and we could not be more excited to have him in Omaha benefiting the children and families we serve."

"Dr. Durden's recruitment is a perfect example of how the partnership between UNMC and Children's is taking pediatric cancer care to a whole new level in our community and the region," said UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D. "He is a true superstar in the cancer field. It speaks volumes for the quality of our pediatrics program that he would bring his world-class expertise to Nebraska."

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Tom O'Connor
September 19, 2018 at 10:52 AM

Having seen Dr. Durden present at a recent forum on the UNMC campus, I must say that he is an impressive addition to our team. His research will truly make a difference for our cancer patients. Welcome, Dr. Durden, and great to have a baseball aficionado on board!

Lisa Runco
September 19, 2018 at 7:06 AM

On behalf of the Child Health Research Institute (CHRI), we are absolutely thrilled to welcome Dr. Durden to Omaha, to Children's and to UNMC. His work is transformational and he already has a long list of people who want to collaborate with him. His presence will be very instrumental in getting CHRI off to a running start.