Dr. Linda Liau, an internationally renowned neurosurgeon and researcher, has been named chair of the neurosurgery department at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Chosen after a national search, Liau had been serving as interim department chair since January 2017.

She has devoted the past 20 years to developing and refining treatment strategies for tackling glioblastoma, the most aggressive and lethal type of brain tumor. Her research has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health for the past two decades, and she has authored more than 150 research articles, along with several book chapters and textbooks. 

“I have a huge drive to prove that things that seem impossible can actually work,” Liau said. “When I first started working on brain tumor immunotherapy, everyone told me that you can’t mount an immune response in the brain. Now we know that’s not true.”

Clinically, Liau is an internationally recognized expert in intra-operative brain mapping and complex brain tumor surgery, attracting patients from all around the world. In a field dominated by men, Liau is only the second woman to chair an academic department of neurosurgery in the United States.

“When I started medical school, people told me that women shouldn’t be neurosurgeons, because it’s too challenging of a profession,” she added. “It’s been very fulfilling for me to break these stereotypes.”

In addition to her research and surgical caseload, Liau directs a clinical team of over 50 neurosurgeons, neuroscientists, residents, fellows, and other specialists in the UCLA Department of Neurosurgery, one of the world’s leading centers for neurosurgical research, diagnosis and treatment.