- Molecular Biology
- Childhood Cancer
- Surgery for Brain Tumors
Board Certification and Academic Information
||Neurosurgery - Professor
Oncological Sciences - Adjunct Professor
||American Board of Neurological Surgery (Neurosurg)
Academic Office Locations
|Academic Office Phone Number
||Academic Office Address
||Clinical Neurosciences Center
Department of Neurosurgery
175 North Medical Drive East
Salt Lake City, UT 84132
||Huntsman Cancer Institute
2000 Circle of Hope
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
Dr. Fults is Professor of Neurosurgery and Oncological Sciences at the University of Utah and holder of the M. Peter and Robyn Heilbrun endowed chair in neurosurgery. His is a board-certified neurosurgeon and a member of the brain tumor program at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. He is also an HCI investigator and member of the Cell Response and Regulation program. Dr. Fults is a clinician-scientist who has a long-standing commitment to the idea that advances in brain tumor treatment depend critically on understanding the molecular biology of this devastating disease. He has been the principal investigator of an NIH-funded research program in brain tumor biology for over 28 years.
Research in Dr. Fults’s laboratory is now focused on medulloblastoma, a malignant brain tumor that arises in the cerebellum in children. Aggressive treatments, combining surgery with radiation and chemotherapy, now offer children a 70% chance of being cured, but these harsh treatments carry a high risk of causing disabling neurological side effects, including neuropsychiatric challenges, stunted body growth, and hormonal imbalance, later in life. Hope for extending disease-free survival and eliminating treatment-related neurotoxicity rests on developing new treatments that specifically target the signaling molecules that drive medulloblastoma growth.
Dr. Fults studies how signaling molecules that normally govern the growth and differentiation of normal stem cells in the brain cause medulloblastoma. His experimental approach uses genetically engineered mice, in which genes can be transferred and expressed in stem cells in the brain. His research team discovered that activation of the Hedgehog signaling pathway, which is important in normal brain development, induces tumors in mice that closely resemble human medulloblastomas. In Dr. Fults’s lab, this mouse model is also used for preclinical testing of new therapies and for discovering the genes that cause medulloblastomas to metastasize to the spine, a condition that carries a grim prognosis for patients.