Understanding how brain tumors develop in children and identifying personalized treatment strategies
Our Core Values are driven by the need to quickly address the significant unmet need of children and young adults with CNS tumors with a set of guiding principles. We will conduct experiments often, fail fast, learn quickly from our mistakes and try again. We will work rapidly, quickly translating discoveries in the lab to the bedside, and then get the data back to our labs in real time.
We do not believe we should remain constrained by study conduct only within North America, and we will reach out to other countries and continents to complete studies quickly. We believe collectively, and globally we can push for breakthroughs and remain bold, pushing boundaries, being both safe and disruptive, not constrained by conservative strategies of the past, with the understanding that the stakes are high and incremental results are not our goal. Our stakeholders are our patients and their families. Being innovative, collaborative and bold are critical to the mission of PNOC
The success of any enterprise can be measured by many metrics. For PNOC, our ultimate success will be the cure of patients we care for and treat on our clinical trials. To reach that goal requires collaboration and engagement of researchers across the globe, and the development of the best clinical trials possible to improve overall and quality survival of children and young adults with CNS tumors. Over the years, PNOC has been successful in trial development and patient enrollment, especially given the consortium is largely philanthropy funded. Our protocol metrics and patient enrollments, membership, funding and publications are shown below. A clinical trials consortium could be considered “successful” based upon those outcomes, but PNOC emphasizes “significant” benefit achieved, not just the numbers of protocols and patients seen and treated. In the end, what matters most is how our most important stakeholders, children and families, fare both in terms of quality and quantity of life.
PNOC is comprised of researchers across the globe. Each brings their unique perspective and emphasis to our group, and all are passionate about finding a cure for pediatric brain tumors. We highlight some key researchers here to shed light and praise on their contributions to PNOC.
Michal Yalan Oren, MD
Pediatric OncologistDr. Michal Yalon specializes in Pediatric-Hemato-Oncology at Sheba Medical Center. She is in charge and manager of Pediatric Brain Tumors cases at Sheba Medical Center beginning from June 2006.
Ranjit Bindra, MD, PhD
Co-Principal Investigator, Pediatric RadioncolgoistRanjit Bindra, MD PhD is a physician-scientist and biotech entrepreneur at the Yale School of Medicine. Clinically, he treats adult and pediatric primary CNS tumors, and he is a member of the Yale radiosurgery team, with expertise in treating brain metastases and benign tumors such as arteriovenous malformations. Dr. Bindra received his undergraduate degree in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University, and both his MD and PhD from the Yale School of Medicine. He completed his medical internship, radiation oncology residency, and post-doctoral research studies at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Bindra is the study co-chair of PNOC 017 and his group led a team of four major laboratories at Yale, which reported the stunning discovery that IDH1/2-mutant tumors harbor a profound DNA repair defect that renders them exquisitely sensitive to PARP inhibitors.
Ashley Margol, MD, MS
Principal Investigator, Pediatric Neuro-OncologistDr. Ashley Margol is a pediatric neuro-oncologist who specializes in the care of infants, children and young adults with brain and spinal cord tumors. She holds a Masters degree in Clinical, Biomedical and Translational Research from the Keck School of Medicine and has continued her career in clinical and translational pediatric brain tumor research. She is an attending physician in the Neuro-oncology Program and Division of Hematology/Oncology and Blood and Marrow Transplantation at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.
Fatema Malbari, MD
Pediatric Neuro-OncologistDr. Malbari is the neurologist for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Program and also manages oncology patients with neurologic problems, including seizures. Her clinical interests and areas of research include CNS tumors, Cancer Neurology, Neurofibromatosis and Tuberous Sclerosis.
Michael Prados, MD
Pediatric and Adult Neuro-oncologistDr. Michael Prados is the founding member of the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium and is a leading expert in the development of clinical trials for brain tumors. At UCSF, he is the director of translational research in neuro-oncology, working directly with laboratory scientists to develop new therapies for patients and better understand the biology of different types of brain cancer.
Lissa Baird, MD
Pediatric NeurosurgeonDr. Baird is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery. Her practice is focused on caring for children with neurosurgical disorders of the brain and spine. She has specific expertise in brain tumors and pediatric neurovascular disease, as well as using minimally invasive and endoscopic techniques for treating many disorders including hydrocephalus, tumors of the skull base and pituitary region, and arachnoid cysts. Her research interests are focused on neuro-oncology and working towards novel treatments and a better understanding of pediatric brain tumors.
Tom Davidson, MD
Principal Investigator, Pediatric Neuro-oncologistDr. Tom Belle Davidson is a pediatric neuro-oncologist who specializes in caring for children with brain and spine tumors. Her research is focused on developing novel clinical therapies. She is currently developing a clinical trial using immunotherapy to improve the outcomes of children with high-grade gliomas.
Asher Marks, MD
Principal Investigator, Pediatric NeurologistAsher Marks, MD is the Director of Pediatric Neuro-Oncology at the Yale University School of Medicine. He is a clinician researcher and educator with a particular interest in the development of early phase trials for the treatment of aggressive pediatric brain tumors. Dr. Marks received his medical degree from Temple University and went on to complete a pediatric residency, pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship, and pediatric neuro-oncology fellowship at Children’s National Medical Center. He is the study chair of PNOC 017 and is an active and vocal advocate for the adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer population.
Jennifer Elster, MD
Principal Investigator, Pediatric Hematologist/OncologistDr. Jennifer Elster attended the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and then went on to complete pediatric residency and pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship at the UPMC medical education program at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. After an additional research year funded by a St. Baldrick’s fellowship grant to study a novel mechanism of tumor angiogenesis, she was recruited by the University of Louisville where she joined and eventually led the pediatric neuro-oncology program. During her time in Louisville she was funded by a CureSearch Grant to study the feasibility and tolerability of a cancer germline antigen dendritic cell vaccine with poly-ICLC adjuvant in patients with relapsed neuroblastoma, sarcoma, and high grade CNS tumors. In keeping with her longstanding goal of providing excellent cutting edge care to children with CNS tumors, she recently joined the neuro-oncology team at the University of California, San Diego.
Carol Bruggers, MD
Co-Principal Investigator, Pediatric Neuro-oncologistDr. Carol Bruggers is a pediatric neuro-oncologist who specializes in caring for children and teenagers with diverse types of brain tumors. She has a particular interest in the treatment of progressive low-grade gliomas in children, and in the treatment of familial and sporadic atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumors. Dr. Bruggers has a longstanding interest in quality of life and late effects in children who have survived brain tumors.
Nicholas Vitanza, MD
Co-Principal InvestigatorDr. Nicholas Vitanza is a pediatric neuro-oncologist at Seattle Children’s Hospital and laboratory researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. In clinic, he cares for children with central nervous system tumors and, in the lab, he focuses on understanding the epigenetic aberrations of diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) and its molecular vulnerabilities with the hope of improving outcomes for affected children. He also assists in the development of immunotherapy clinical trials for children with brain and spinal tumors.
Nicholas Whipple, MD, MPH
Principal Investigator, Pediatric Neuro-oncologistNicholas Whipple, MD, MPH has joined the faculty of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology as an Assistant Professor on the clinical track. The primary focus of his clinical care is pediatric neuro-oncology. Dr. Whipple received his M.D. at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine. He completed residency training in Pediatrics at the University of Utah. At St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, he completed a fellowship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, followed by a fellowship in Pediatric Neuro-Oncology. Dr. Whipple received a Master of Public Health at George Washington University. Dr. Whipple’s research interests are pediatric neuro-oncology, targeted therapies for pediatric central nervous system tumors, cancer/tumor predisposition syndromes and histiocytic disorders. Dr. Whipple provides clinical care at Primary Children’s Hospital.
Elias Sayour, MD, PhD
Principal Investigator, Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery and PediatricsElias Sayour, MD, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery and Pediatrics and Principal Investigator of the RNA-Engineering Lab at the University of Florida. He functions as the newly appointed Director of the Pediatric Cancer Immunotherapy Initiative (PCI2) of the UF Health Cancer Center and Vice Chair of the UFHCC Scientific Review Monitoring Committee. As a board-certified pediatrician and oncologist, Dr. Sayour has extensive translational experience as PI/Co-I on several human trials. His translational efforts are also focused on new pipeline technologies including a novel lipid-nanoparticle (NP) formulation that he pioneered for the immunologic treatment of cancer currently being tested in canine (pet dog) patients with terminal brain cancer before translation into dedicated human studies.
John Crawford, MD
Principal Investigator, Pediatric Neuro-oncologistDr. Crawford is the Director of Pediatric Neuro-Oncology at UC San Diego. He completed child neurology fellowship and pediatric neuro-oncology training at Children’s National Medical Center. Dr. Crawford’s basic science research focuses on the neurobiology of pediatric brain tumors. He is interested in both neuro-immunologic and neuro-virologic mechanisms of tumor development and progression. Dr Crawford’s clinical interests include understanding neurologic predictors of outcomes with regards to a wide variety of pediatric central nervous system tumors. Dr. Crawford is Board Certified in Neurology with Special Qualifications in Child Neurology and Neuro-Oncology.
Carl Koschmann, MD
Co-Principal Investigator, Pediatric Neuro-oncologistDr. Koschmann is a Pediatric Neuro-Oncologist in the Department of Pediatrics and a Principal Investigator of an independent translational Pediatric Neuro-Oncology laboratory. His work in the clinic and lab complement and drive each other, resulting in a clear goal to improve therapies for children with brain tumors. He has engaged in research and the clinical care of pediatric brain tumor patients at both Seattle Children’s Hospital and the University of Michigan’s Mott Children’s Hospital. The Koschmann laboratory is exploring the molecular mechanisms by which recurrent mutations in pediatric high-grade glioma (HGG), including glioblastoma (GBM), anaplastic astrocytoma (AA) and diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) promotes tumor formation and affect treatment response.
Andrea Franson, MD MS
Principal Investigator, Pediatric OncologistDr. Andrea (Flynn) Franson is a Pediatric Oncologist in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Michigan. She received her bachelor's degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York and her medical degree from the University of Michigan Medical School. She completed her residency in Pediatrics and fellowship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). During fellowship, she earned a master's degree in Pharmacology from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. While at CHOP, she was an Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation Center of Excellence Scholar, through which she had mentored training in clinical trial design and pharmacology. Dr. Franson has focused her research efforts in transnational science, working to transition the most promising compounds into the clinic for children with cancer.
Ana Guerreiro-Stücklin, MD, PhD
Co-Principal Investigator, Pediatric OncologistDr. Ana Guerreiro Stücklin is a pediatric oncologist. After her medical studies at the University of Porto, Portugal, she graduated from the MD-PhD Program at the University of Zurich and completed her pediatric residency at the University Children’s Hospital in Zurich. She was a pediatric hematology/oncology and subsequently neuro-oncology fellow at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto until 2018, when she returned to Zurich and joined the Neuro-Oncology Group at the University Children’s Hospital. Her research interests include the study of chemoresistance, metastases and the molecular causes of treatment failure, especially in gliomas and medulloblastomas affecting infants and young children. Additionally, she is interested in the development of new targeted therapies and clinical trials for pediatric brain tumors.
Nicolas Gerber, MD
Principal Investigator, Neuro-oncologistDr. Gerber is pediatric neuro-oncologist and head of the Early Phase Clinical Trials Unit of the Department of Pediatric Oncology at the University Children’s Hospital of Zürich. He is board certified in pediatric oncology and in pharmaceutical medicine, and he is interested in the development of clinical trials within international collaborative groups and in the evaluation of novel treatment approaches for patients with refractory disease.
A/Prof David Ziegler, BSc (Med), MBBS, FRACP, MD/PhD
Principal Investigator, Paediatric Haematologist / OncologistA/Prof Ziegler is a paediatric oncologist at the Kids Cancer Centre, Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick. He treats children with all types of cancer and sub-specialises in childhood brain cancers, including malignant gliomas, DIPG and medulloblastomas. He is the Group Leader of the Brain Tumour Group at the Children’s Cancer Institute, Australia, focusing on development of novel targeted therapies for brain cancer, with a goal of rapid translation from laboratory to clinic. He leads the national childhood cancer personalized medicine trial.
Christopher Tinkle, MD PhD
Co-Principal Investigator, Assistant Member, St. Jude FacultyDr. Christopher Tinkle is an Assistant Member in the Department of Radiation Oncology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Dr. Tinkle received his undergraduate degree at the University of Texas at Austin and completed MD/PhD training through the Tri-institutional MD/PhD program at Weill Cornell Medical College and Rockefeller University in the laboratory of Dr. Elaine Fuchs. He completed a translational internship at UT Southwestern Austin Programs and radiation oncology residency at the University of California San Francisco, where he developed an interest in pediatric brain tumors under the mentorship of Dr. Daphne Haas-Kogan. His translational research efforts are focused on the identification of novel molecular therapies targeting pediatric brain tumor-specific genomic alterations that enhance the therapeutic ratio of conventional DNA damaging agents.
Amar Gajjar, MD
Principal Investigator, Pediatric Neuro-OncologistDr. Gajjar is co-chair of the Department of Oncology, interim chair of the Department of Pediatric Medicine and director of the Neuro-Oncology Division at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Dr. Gajjar is also co-leader of the hospital’s Neurobiology and Brain Tumor Program, one of five cross-disciplinary, multi-departmental programs in the St. Jude Comprehensive Cancer Center. He is principal or co-principal investigator in several innovative clinical trials of new treatments for a variety of childhood brain tumors, with a focus on medulloblastomas, PNET and rhabdoid tumors (ATRT). Dr. Gajjar has been instrumental in the growth of the Neuro-Oncology program at St. Jude and in developing international collaborations with Australia, Canada and other leading institutions in the United States. Dr. Gajjar also works to develop key bridges between the clinical research and laboratory-based research programs within the Neurobiology and Brain Tumor Program. He is co-author of over 175 papers, many of which have contributed to the improved clinical care of children with brain tumors.
Sarah E. S. Leary, MD
Principal Investigator, Neuro-oncologistSarah E. S. Leary, MD, is an attending pediatric neuro-oncologist at Seattle Children’s Hospital and professor in the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Her clinical and translational research focus is in novel therapeutic development for pediatric brain tumor patients.
Nick Gottardo, MB ChB FRACP PhD
Principal Investigator, Consultant Pediatric Oncologist/Neuro-oncologistProf Nick Gottardo is Head of the Paediatric and Adolescent Oncology/Haematology Department at Perth Children’s Hospital, Western Australia and a Paediatric Oncologist and Neuro-Oncologist. He co-leads the Brain Tumour Research Programme at the Telethon Kids Institute, which focuses on providing laboratory evidence that will more accurately inform new paediatric brain cancer clinical trials. He is the Deputy Chair on the Australian and New Zealand Children’s Haematology/Oncology Group (ANZCHOG) Executive and he also chairs the ANZCHOG Central Nervous System (CNS) Tumour Group. He leads the Children’s Oncology Group’s front-line clinical trial for WNT-driven Medulloblastoma (ACNS1422) and the Australian AIM-BRAIN PROject (Access to Innovative Molecular diagnostic PROfiling) for CNS tumours.
Eric H. Raabe, MD, PhD
Co-Principal Investigator, Assistant Professor of OncologyDr. Eric Raabe is assistant professor of Pediatric Oncology at Johns Hopkins. In addition to caring for pediatric brain tumor patients, Dr. Raabe's research focuses on translational neuro-oncology, with the overall goal being to develop new therapeutics for poor-prognosis brain tumors. He has significant expertise in stem cell biology, developmental biology and murine xenografting. He has developed normal human neural stem cells for use as genetically accurate gain-of-function models for high-risk brain tumors, including models of high and low grade glioma, medulloblastoma, as well as DIPG. Dr. Raabe's lab group has provided the preclinical data supporting numerous current or planned national pediatric brain tumor clinical trials in tumors including DIPG, low-grade glioma and medulloblastoma.
Kenneth J. Cohen, MD, MBA
Principal Investigator, Director of Pediatric Neuro-Oncology and Clinical Director of the Division of Pediatric OncologyDr. Cohen is Director of Pediatric Neuro-Oncology and Clinical Director of the Division of Pediatric Oncology at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins. The Pediatric Neuro-Oncology program at Hopkins conducts a broad range of research centered primarily around the development and testing of new therapies for children with brain tumors. Recent research has focused on the most high-risk brain tumors, including the use of molecularly targeted therapies and novel delivery systems. The multidisciplinary nature of this work translates into continual collaboration with specialists in pediatric neurosurgery, radiation oncology, neuropathology, neuroradiology, neurology, neuro-ophthalmology, and neuropsychology. As Clinical Director of the Pediatric Oncology Division, Dr. Cohen is responsible for the operation of all of the division’s inpatient and outpatient services. In addition, he oversees the full range of clinical trials under way throughout the division. Dr. Cohen is co-chair of the High-Grade Glioma Committee for the Children's Oncology Group. He is a lead author for the PDQ® Cancer Information - National Cancer Institute brain tumor treatment summaries. He is on the scientific advisory for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. He also serves on the scientific advisory boards of the Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation and Curing Kids Cancer. He is the Chair of the Johns Hopkins Institutional Review Board #6.
Brian Rood, MD
Brian Rood, MD
Gene Hwang, MD
Lindsay B. Kilburn, MD
Principal Investigator, Pediatric Neuro-oncologistDr. Lindsay B. Kilburn is an attending clinician in the Division of Oncology within the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children's National Medical Center. Dr. Kilburn received her medical degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School and went on to complete her pediatric residency at the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters, a pediatric hematology oncology fellowship at Texas Children’s Hospital and a clinical pharmacology fellowship at the Baylor College of Medicine. Presently, Dr. Kilburn is the study chair of two Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium (PBTC) studies: PBTC-021 and PBTC-030. She is also the chair of newly accepted concept proposal for study of a MEK-inhibitor with a MTOR- Inhibitor. Dr. Kilburn is an integral member of both the clinical and research teams at Children’s National.
Anne Bendel, MD
Principal Investigator, Pediatric Hematologist/OncologistAnne Bendel, MD is a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment and long-term followup of children and young adults diagnosed with central nervous system (CNS) tumors. Dr. Bendel completed her medical school, pediatric residency and pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship training at the University of Minnesota. She joined Children's Minnesota in 1994 where she became the Director of the Neuro-Oncology Program. Dr. Bendel has a strong interest in clinical research of pediatric CNS tumors, CNS tumor cancer predisposition syndromes, long-term followup of pediatric CNS tumor survivors, and the treatment of tumors seen in neurofibromatosis and other neurocutaneous syndromes.
Maggie Skrypek, MD
Co-Principal Investigator, Pediatric Hematologist/OncologistMaggie Skrypek, MD attended medical school at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. She completed her pediatric residency and pediatric hematology-oncology fellowship training at the University of Minnesota. Maggie then went on to complete an additional year of fellowship training in Pediatric Neuro-Oncology at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL. Maggie joined the division of Neuro-Oncology within the hematology-oncology program at Children's of Minnesota in 2015.
Sabine Mueller, MD, PhD
PNOC Lead, Pediatric Neuro-oncologistDr. Sabine Mueller is a pediatric neuro-oncologist who specializes in caring for children with all types of brain tumors and related genetic syndromes. At PNOC, she participates in developing new clinical trial protocols of the most recent advances in pediatric cancer therapy. She is also interested in understanding and developing treatments for the late effects of therapy children can experience following treatment and survival of brain tumors.
Adam Resnick, PhD
Cassie Kline, MD
Principal Investigator, Pediatric Neuro-oncologistDr. Cassie Kline is the Director of Clinical Research for Neuro-Oncology within the Division of Oncology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, as well as Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Kline specializes in the care of children, adolescents, and young adults with brain and spinal cord tumors of all types. She has a Master’s of Advanced Studies in Clinical Research and focuses her career on early phase clinical trials and developmental therapeutics for pediatric brain tumor patients. Dr. Kline’s other research interests include predictors of neurocognitive outcomes in pediatric brain tumor survivors and personalized and immunotherapy-based approaches for the treatment of brain tumors. Additionally, Dr. Kline serves as the Director of Data Quality and Integration for PNOC, overseeing the consortium’s data collection processes and also integration across a variety of data platforms and research collaborations.
Jane Minturn, MD, PhD
Co-Principal Investigator, Neuro-oncologistDr. Jane Minturn is a pediatric neuro-oncologist who specializes in the care of infants, children and young adults with brain and spinal cord tumors. Her research interests are in identifying mechanisms of treatment resistance (tumor hypoxia, autophagy) to target therapeutically, and the use of non-invasive imaging biomarkers for monitoring treatment efficacy on clinical trials. She is an attending physician in the Center for Childhood Cancer Research and Division of Oncology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Tabitha Cooney, MD
Principal Investigator, Neuro-oncologistDr. Cooney joined the Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital in 2019. She is currently the Director of the Stop & Shop Family Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Outcomes Clinic and is a Member of the Faculty in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Cooney’s clinical interests include early phase clinical trial development for pediatric central nervous system (CNS) tumors, developmental therapeutics, disparities, and survivorship. She has several PNOC trials ongoing and in development, using targeted and immunotherapeutics.
Susan Chi, MD
Co-Principal Investigator, Neuro-oncologistDr. Chi joined the Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital in 2003. She is currently the Director of their Pediatric Brain Tumor Clinical Trials Program and is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Chi’s clinical interests include neuro-oncology, atypical teratoid-rhabdoid tumor (ATRT), and infant brain tumors. Her primary area of interest is the development of clinical trials, in collaboration with larger multi-institutional, collaborative groups, for the treatment of young children with malignant brain tumors, and specifically in exploring novel strategies to treat this young population.
Iris Fried, MD
Principal Investigator, Pediatric OncologistDr. Iris Fried specializes in pediatric Hematology Oncology at Shaare Zedek Medical Center. She graduated in 1999 from The Faculty of Medicine, Ben Gurion University, and was trained in pediatrics at Hadassah Medical Hospital in Israel. In 2010, following completion with honours of fellowship in Pediatric Hematology Onclogy in Hadassah Medical Center, Dr Fried participated in the brain tumor program in SicKids in Toronto, with further training in Children’s National Medical Center in Washington. During these years she won the scholarship of the American Physicians Fellowship and the Harry and Bella Wexner Legacy Heritage Fund for medical education and research as a Senior Fellow. Between 2012-2017 Dr Fried led the neurooncology program in Hadassah Medical Center. During these years she received the Matzner award for excellence in medical practice, from the Hebrew University-Jerusalem. Dr Iris Fried leads the pediatric oncology section in Shaare zedek Medical Center since July 2017.
Ashley S. Plant, MD
Pediatric Neuro-OncologistAshley S. Plant, MD is an attending physician in neuro-oncology at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University. Dr. Plant received her medical degree from Stanford University School of Medicine. She completed her pediatrics residency at University of California, Los Angeles and her pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship at Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Boston Children’s Hospital. She completed additional training in neuro-oncology at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Her research focus includes immunotherapy and the immune microenvironment as well as early phase clinical trial design for pediatric brain tumors.
Dan Runco, MD, MS
Co-Principal Investigator, Pediatric Hematologist/OncologistDr. Daniel Runco is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. He attended Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and completed residency in pediatrics at Riley Hospital for Children and Indiana University School of Medicine. He served as Chief Resident and Clinical Lecturer in the Department of Pediatrics at Riley Hospital for Children before completing fellowship in hematology/oncology at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Dr. Runco also earned a Master of Science in Clinical Research from Emory University Laney Graduate School before joining the Indiana University School of Medicine faculty. His clinical focus is caring for children with tumors of the brain and spine with research interests in nutrition, feeding dysfunction, and supportive care in children undergoing cancer treatment. Dr. Runco was recognized as a Children’s Oncology Group Young Investigator at the State-of-the-Science Nutrition Meeting in 2018 and continues to be active in several national professional societies. He has published on nutritional support and exercise interventions in children with brain tumors as well as risk factors for weight loss during treatment. Dr. Runco continues to be passionate about educating patients, families, and physicians on pediatric brain tumors and nutritional support complementing medical therapies.
Scott L. Coven, DO, MPH
Principal Investigator, Pediatric Hematologist/OncologistDr. Scott L. Coven is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at Indiana University School of Medicine and Riley Hospital for Children. He received his medical degree from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his pediatric residency at Baylor Scott & White Health. He then completed his fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH. Additionally, Dr. Coven earned a Master of Public Health (MPH) from The Ohio State University and completed a fourth year dedicated Neuro-Oncology Fellowship under the mentorship of Jonathan L. Finlay. Dr. Coven’s clinical interest is caring for children with brain and spinal cord tumors, along with long-term survivors of childhood cancer. His research efforts include investigation of disparities in care for children with central nervous system tumors. Furthermore, Dr. Coven is passionate about global medicine and is utilizing his expertise to expand Neuro-Oncology services in Kenya.
Jasper van der Lugt, MD PhD
Principal Investigator, Pediatric OncologistJasper van der Lugt is a pediatric oncologist, with a focus on high grade pediatric brain tumors. He obtained is Medical Degree at the University of Utrecht and his PhD from the University of Amsterdam. Since 2018 he is appointed at the Princess Maxima Center as a treating physician and lead of the neuro-oncology subdivision of the Trial and Data Center within the Maxima. At this position he is responsible for implementation and development for early phase trials. His research focus is on clinical and translational (cellular) immune therapy for children with a CNS malignancy. He is a member of the independent ethics committee (IEC) of the University Medical Center of Utrecht.
Derek Hanson, MD
Principal Investigator, Pediatric OncologistDr. Derek Hanson is the Section Chief of Pediatric Neuro-oncology at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center. He completed his pediatric neuro-oncology fellowship at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Dr. Hanson's clinical research interests include developing early phase clinical trials for pediatric brain tumors and treatment protocols for ETMR. His pediatric neuro-oncology lab focuses on translational research to bring new therapies for ETMR and ependymoma from the bench to the bedside.
Dannis van Vuurden
Co-Principal Investigator, Pediatric OncologistDannis van Vuurden is a pediatric oncologist specialized in the treatment of children with brain tumors. His focus is on high-grade gliomas and brain stem cancer (DIPG). In addition to treating and guiding patients and their parents, he is also involved in scientific research. This research focuses on technological innovation to bring medication across the blood-brain barrier. With this research he tries to introduce anti-cancer drugs into the tumor by means of convection-enhanced delivery (CED) or by means of focused ultrasound (FUS) mediated blood-brain barrier disruption. He also lead an international registration of DIPG patients from the Máxima, the SIOPE DIPG Registry.
Girish Dhall, MD
Principal Investigator, Pediatric Hematologist/OncologistDr. Girish Dhall is a Professor of Pediatrics and Benjamin Russell Endowed Chair in Pediatric Hematology & Oncology, and Division Director of the Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, and Blood & Marrow Transplantation Program at the University of Birmingham in Alabama (UAB) and Children's of Alabama (COA). He is Director of the COA Pediatric Clinical Trails Office, Deputy Director of the Neurofibromatosis Clinical Trials Consortium, and he is titled Senior Scientist at UAB’s O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center. He is also Head of the Pediatric Neuro-oncology program. His major area of research interest is clinical research in CNS germ cell tumors and infant medulloblastoma and designing early phase clinical trials for patients with pediatric brain tumors.
Daniel Landi, MD
Principal InvestigatorDr. Daniel Landi is a pediatric neuro-oncologist at Duke. Dan's research interests include developing and evaluating novel therapies for children with brain and spinal cord tumors. He is particularly focused on immune-based approaches against pediatric glioma.
David M. Ashley, MBBS (Hon), FRACP, PhD
Co-Principal InvestigatorDr. Ashley is a professor in the Departments of Neurosurgery, Pediatrics, Medicine, and Pathology at Duke University. His career in cancer research dates more than two decades. His peer-reviewed publication record is diverse and includes laboratory-based cancer research, clinical trials, as well as public health and psycho-oncology research. His primary research focus is on the immunology, epigenetics, and genetics of brain tumors. His achievements in research have led to change in practice in the care of both children and adults with brain tumors. Dr. Ashley is highly regarded for his work, as evidenced by numerous awards and invitations to plenary sessions and symposia of international standing. He has been the principal investigator of a number of important national and international studies both clinical and pre-clinical. Dr. Ashley was appointed Director of The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke in 2018.
Angela Waanders, MD
Pediatric Neuro-OncologistAngela Waanders, MD, MPH is a pediatric neuro-oncologist with interest in genomic profiling, clinical informatics, biobanking, and data analytics. She grew up in Allegan, Michigan, and went on to attend Western Michigan University as a Medallion Scholar. She received a Master’s in Public Health from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and a Doctor of Medicine from Tulane University School of Medicine. She completed training in both general pediatrics and pediatric hematology-oncology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Waanders was recruited to the Ann & Robert H Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago in 2019, and became the Director of Precision Medicine in Oncology and was also appointed as an Associate Professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. As the current Executive Board Chair Co-Chair of the Children’s Brain Tumor Network and with her translational research at the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute of Lurie Children's, Dr. Waander's focus is on developing novel therapeutic strategies to develop less toxic, more effective treatment strategies for all children with brain tumors.
Moatasem El-ayadi, MD
Co-Principal InvestigatorDr. El-Ayadi attained his medical degree in 2003 from Kasr El-Ainy School of Medicine, Cairo University, then he completed his fellowship of pediatric hematology oncology at the National Cancer Institute, Cairo University in 2010. After obtaining his Medical Doctorate degree in 2014, he spent a one-year post-doctoral clinical research fellowship of pediatric neuro-oncology at University Hospital of Geneva, CANSEARCH Research Laboratory, Faculty of Medicine, Geneva, Switzerland. Following his return to Egypt and until present, he’s been working as a consultant of pediatric oncology and acting as the co-PI of the neuro-oncology, and RB study teams at the Children Cancer Hospital of Egypt-57357. He is also an assistant professor of pediatric oncology at National Cancer Institute (NCI), Cairo, Egypt. Dr El-Ayadi’s research work focuses on pediatric CNS tumors with particular interest in high-grade gliomas and diffuse pontine gliomas. His work also involves other CNS tumors such as choroid plexus tumors and intra-cranial germ-cell tumors. In addition, his research focus includes germline cancer predisposition syndromes, especially replication repair deficiencies, neurofibromatosis type-1 and tuberous sclerosis. He is a member of the Scientific and Medical Advisory Committee (SMAC) of CCHE-57357, and Board Member of both the African SIOP and the African Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Society (APNOS). He is also a member (CCHE representative) of the international DIPG registry and the international replication repair deficiency consortium.
Ahmed Elhemaly, MD
Principal InvestigatorProf. Ahmed Elhemaly graduated from faculty of medicine on 2003, he has more than 15 years of experience in pediatric oncology. After finishing his Ph.D. in 2013, he worked as a consultant of pediatric neuro-oncology and stem cell transplant in Children cancer hospital of Egypt as well as an assistant professor in National Cancer institute Egypt. He was the head of infectious disease group in the Poem working group from 2013-2016. He is the Co-PI for the Neuro-Oncology group in CCHE-57357. Prof. Elhemaly field of interest is stem cell transplant in brain tumors. He is also interested in ongoing clinical trials for different brain tumors. He succeeded to join the Head start IV making CCHE is the only center in the Middle East joining the trial and he is acting as Co-PI for the CCHE site. He is running family screening aiming to identify cases suspected as CMMR-D using the NGS.
Christopher Park, MD
Co-Principal Investigator, Pediatric Neuro-Oncologist
Dr. Park found his dream job as a pediatric neuro-oncologist by combining his passion for treating children with cancer with his deep fascination with the brain. He completed his pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship at the University of North Carolina and then an additional year of pediatric neuro-oncology fellowship at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC. Chris is very excited about the future of clinical research in the pediatric neuro-oncology population and looks forward to providing better outcomes and more successful therapies to children with brain tumors.
Erin Crotty, MD
Principal Investigator, Pediatric Neuro-Oncologist
Dr. Crotty is a pediatric neuro-oncologist at Seattle Children's Hospital, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Washington, and clinical investigator at the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research. She specializes in the treatment of brain and spinal cord tumors in children, adolescents, and young adults. Her primary interests include targeted and immunotherapy-based approaches to treat pediatric high-grade glioma and other high-risk brain tumors. Her main focus is on accelerating treatment options into early phase clinical trials. To support this work, she received additional translational research experience in the Olson lab at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center prioritizing immunotherapy drug candidates for medulloblastoma.
Devorah Segal, MD, PhD
Co-Principal InvestigatorDr. Segal is a pediatric neurologist at NYU Langone. She is the Associate Director of the Comprehensive Neurofibromatosis Center. Her clinical expertise is in neuro-oncology and genetic disorders that predispose to nervous system tumors. Her research interests include clinical trials in low-grade tumors and neurogenetic disorders, imaging findings in neurofibromatosis, and long-term outcomes of low grade gliomas.
Megan Paul, MD
Dr. Megan Paul attended the University of Arizona Tucson School of Medicine and remained there for residency in pediatrics. She transitioned to the University of California San Diego/ Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego for fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology. During fellowship she began research in novel markers of chemoresistance in medulloblastoma with support from a ACTRI physician-scientist training award. She was selected for a NIH pediatric clinical pharmacology training fellowship and this supported continuation of her research while she simultaneously completed clinical pediatric neuro-oncology fellowship at UCSD/RCHSD with Dr. John Crawford and Dr. Jennifer Elster. She is now an Assistant Professor in Pediatrics at University of California San Diego providing clinical care in pediatric neuro-oncology.
Dr Girish Chinnaswamy
Professor & Head, Division of Pediatric Medical Oncology
Maryam Fouladi, MD, MSc, FRCP
Pediatric Neuro-oncologistMaryam Fouladi, MD, MSc, FRCP, is a pediatric neuro-oncologist, co-executive director of the pediatric neuro-oncology program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and a Professor of Pediatrics at the Ohio State University College of Medicine. Dr. Fouladi is an internationally recognized expert in pediatric brain tumors, and is particularly renowned for her work in phase I clinical trials. She is the founding director of CONNECT, an international consortium focused on developing and testing novel therapies in early phase clinical trials. Fouladi’s primary research interest focus on brain stem gliomas (DIPG) and is the founding Chair of The International Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG)/diffuse midline glioma (DMG) Registry. She has authored or co-authored over 140 peer-reviewed publications in leading medical journals. In addition to her roles at Nationwide Children’s and Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, Dr. Fouladi serves as the Chair of the Collaborative Network for Neuro-Oncology Clinical Trials and CNS Committee of the Children’s Oncology Group. Prior to coming to Nationwide Children’s, Dr. Fouladi served as medical director of the Brain Tumor Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and was also a full professor and the Marjory J. Johnson Endowed Chair in Brain Tumor Translational Research. She received her medical degree from the University of Toronto, and completed her pediatric residency and hematology/oncology fellowship at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. She completed her neuro-oncology fellowship training at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital followed by additional training in the Molecular Pharmacology Department at St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
Dr Maya Prasad
Professor, Pediatric Oncology
Jessica Foster, MD
Pratiti (Mimi) Bandopadhayay, MBBS, PhD
Joanna Phillips, MD, PhD
Goals and Strategies
The primary goal of PNOC is to find a cure for pediatric brain cancers. We believe strongly in collaborating with those who are passionate, creative, and collaborative. Creating specific Research Groups to focus on a certain disease type or modality, such as imaging, will help our consortium as a whole develop innovative, patient-centric treatment plans.Learn More About Goals and Strategies
Collaborating with PNOC
Collaboration is a key part of PNOC’s values and our success. We collaborate with individuals, hospitals, research institutions, patients and families – with anyone. Contact us if you have an idea or question, or if you would like to learn more about collaborating with us.