I am conducting research on the development of cerebellar mutism (also called posterior fossa syndrome), a complication seen in patients who have had surgery for medulloblastoma. This syndrome can deprive patients of the ability to speak and may cause trouble with walking, chewing, eating, and swallowing. In addition, I have a special interest in paraneoplastic syndromes in patients with neuroblastoma and other childhood cancers. Such syndromes may include impairment of walking, talking, and eye movement.
I teach and supervise residents and fellows and have been the Director of the Pediatric Neuro-oncology Fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering since 2005. Fellows who train here have the benefit of a large volume of patients cared for by an experienced team of leading clinicians. I also work with the Communication Skills Research and Training Laboratory, which provides communication-skills training to physicians and nurses in various areas (medical, surgical, and radiation oncology; pain and palliative care; critical care; radiology; and pediatrics).
The developing nervous system, while quite resilient, requires special care during treatment. My goal is to help preserve neurologic and cognitive function in children with cancer so that once therapy is completed a child can return to his or her school and family and can resume a normal life. I consider myself to be a guardian of my patients' nervous systems, and I want them to survive and thrive to be the best they can be.