I am a board-certified pediatric neurologist and neuro-oncologist who cares for children and young adults with primary brain tumors. In collaboration with my colleagues in the Brain Tumor Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering, I am involved in several clinical trials to evaluate novel approaches to treating patients with newly diagnosed and recurrent brain tumors. I have an interest and expertise in treating patients with ependymoma, and I am the primary investigator at MSK for the Collaborative Ependymoma Research Network clinical trial for children with recurrent ependymoma.
As a pediatric neurologist, I have a special interest in the prevention and treatment of neurologic complications in young patients receiving treatment for primary brain tumors and other cancers. I also care for children who have a rare neurologic condition called neurocutaneous melanocytosis, which is sometimes seen in patients with large congenital melanocytic nevi (abnormal moles).
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 recently received two years of funding from the Cycle for Survival Foundation to study low grade gliomas in children. As the principal investigator, I, along with my collaborators at MSK — Neal Rosen, Ingo Mellinghoff, and Jeffrey Greenfield — will obtain fresh tissue from patients undergoing surgical resection of low grade glioma to study, in the laboratory, the effects of novel medications on these tumors. During the second phase of the study, promising compounds will be tested in patients.
In addition, I teach and supervise residents and fellows and in 2005 founded MSK’s Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Fellowship; I served as Director from 2005 to 2014. I continue to be heavily involved in running the fellowship. 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.
- Clinical Expertise: Pediatric Neuro-Oncology and Neurology
- Languages Spoken: English
- Education: MD, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
- Residencies: University of California, San Francisco
- Fellowships: University of California, San Francisco; Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
- Board Certifications: Pediatrics; Neurology (CAQ in Child Neurology); Neuro-Oncology
Research is integral to our mission at Memorial Sloan Kettering, and clinical trials help us discover better forms of patient care and treatment. For you, this could mean access to a new therapy or therapy combination. Click to see a list of the trials I’m currently leading.