Dec. 1, 2017:

Investigator Spotlight

Elizabeth C. Neil, MD, Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota Educational background: BS, Wayne State University School of Medicine: MD, University of Cincinnati: Residency in adult neurology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: Fellowship in neuro-oncology

Research interests: I am a neuro-oncologist at the University of Minnesota. A career focus of mine is to make clinical trials available to my patient population, which includes those diagnosed with primary brain tumors or metastatic disease to the central nervous system. I partake in industry-sponsored, national consortium, and Big Ten Network coordinated clinical trials, as well as investigator initiated clinical trials by way of collaborating with pharmaceutical/ bio-engineering companies and especially, University researchers. Opening these trials at the University of Minnesota Medical Center – Fairview is made possible with institutional resources and the support of my neuro-oncology team colleagues.

Little-known facts about Dr. Neil:

  • I played four years of college basketball on a Division I athletic scholarship.
  • My husband and I forfeited our highly coveted tickets to Hamilton on Broadway; third row with the original cast, because on the morning of the show, we unexpectedly (yet warmly welcomed) the birth of our daughter.
  • I am married to an architect and we passionately restored our first home in Cincinnati, a Queen Anne built in 1895 with plans to do the same to our current home, a 1910 American Four Square.


Thought Leader Perspectives

Robert Kratzke, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation

As a lung cancer specialist I am dazzled by the myriad of new therapies successfully used in our patients. These are truly exciting times to be working with cancer patients. I see patients every day who living longer and healthier with previously fatal cancers. The Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota is internationally recognized as a leader in innovative cancer care. Cell based therapies, stem cell transplants, viral oncolytics, are among the many novel treatments pioneered at the Masonic Cancer Center. It is my honor to work with my many dedicated and talented colleagues in oncology at the University of Minnesota.

However, the development of new cancer treatments requires the participation of a team of patients, families, and physicians as we attempt to rapidly bring exciting new developments to cancer care. The Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium brings together the expertise of the Cancer Centers of the Big Ten Conference in a concerted effort to quickly bring new cancer therapies to our patients.

Our physicians participate in this consortium by developing new cancer therapies that are then tested at Cancer Centers across all the institutions of the Big Ten Conference. This represents an amazing opportunity to leverage our considerable expertise with the remarkable depth of expertise at institutions such as the University of Wisconsin, Northwestern, and the University of Michigan among others.

As a college football fan, I love the intense rivalries and festive energy of Big Ten football. Winning games, breaking the plane of the goal line, singer the rouser are all electrifying and inspiring events. Imagine with me the power as we harness that energy collaborating on beating cancer. That is what we will accomplish with the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium. Please join us for this exciting drive for a cure.


About the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium: The Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium was created in 2013 to transform the conduct of cancer research through collaborative, hypothesis-driven, highly translational oncology trials that leverage the scientific and clinical expertise of Big Ten universities. The goal of the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium is to create a unique team-research culture to drive science rapidly from ideas to new approaches to cancer treatment. Within this innovative environment, today’s research leaders collaborate with and mentor the research leaders of tomorrow with the unified goal of improving the lives of all patients with cancer.

About the Big Ten Conference: The Big Ten Conference is an association of world-class universities whose member institutions share a common mission of research, graduate, professional and undergraduate teaching and public service. Founded in 1896, the Big Ten has sustained a comprehensive set of shared practices and policies that enforce the priority of academics in the lives of students competing in intercollegiate athletics and emphasize the values of integrity, fairness and competitiveness. The broad-based programs of the 14 Big Ten institutions will provide over $200 million in direct financial support to almost 9,500 students for more than 11,000 participation opportunities on 350 teams in 42 different sports. The Big Ten sponsors 28 official conference sports, 14 for men and 14 for women, including the addition of men’s ice hockey and men’s and women’s lacrosse since 2013. For more information, visit