Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Program

Meet the Fellows


    Our fellows are a lively, close-knit group with diverse professional and personal passions. Although each has achieved great things before entering our doors, our fellows graduate from the program with a deeper reservoir of knowledge and experience to pursue their dreams.

    St. Jude is a great place to work. We hope you’ll consider joining our team.

    Current Fellows

    • Kari Bjornard, MD

      Kari Bjornard, MD


      After spending most of my childhood growing up in Northfield, Minnesota, I attended Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. After college, I returned to the Twin Cities to work as a research assistant for the Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota in the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology department. After that year, I again headed east to attend medical school at New York Medical College in Valhalla.

      While there, I developed an interest in public health and also pursued a Master of Public Health (MPH) in epidemiology. My studies in epidemiology led me to take a year off between my third and fourth years to participate in “The CDC Experience,” a fellowship in applied epidemiology, where I conducted research on racial and congenital trends in congenital heart defects at the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. After returning to finish my MD and MPH degrees, I attended residency at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland.

      After residency, I stayed in the Baltimore area to work as an attending physician for one year in a combined pediatric emergency/inpatient unit at a nearby community hospital. When not at work, I enjoy running and both playing and watching other sports, as well as spending time with my dog, Chalupa, and significant other, Artour.

    • Lindsay Blazin, MD

      Lindsay Blazin, MD


      I grew up in rural southwestern Pennsylvania, then moved to the big city to earn my undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Pittsburgh. I've always wanted to be a pediatrician, and after volunteering on the oncology floor at Children's Hospital, I knew I wanted to be a pediatric oncologist. I completed my pediatrics residency at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and had every intention of sticking around for fellowship. (You may have gathered, correctly, that I really like Pittsburgh.) But after one day at St. Jude, I knew this was the place for me.

      I love St. Jude for the incredible clinical and research experiences available here, but more importantly for their obvious commitment to making life a little easier for kids with cancer and their families. I am looking forward to joining this amazing team and hope to spend some of my time here studying the psychosocial impact of cancer diagnoses on children and their families. And, of course, on becoming an excellent clinical oncologist.

    • Steven Carey

      Steven Carey, MD, PhD


      I grew up and received the majority of my training in Tucson, Arizona. I earned a BS in Biochemistry/ Molecular & Cellular Biology, PhD in Cancer Biology, and MD all at the University of Arizona, Tucson. During medical school, I participated in the Pediatric Oncology Education Program at St. Jude performing neuro-oncology research. I completed my pediatric residency at the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital where my research focused on neuroblastoma. I am excited to work at St. Jude due to its diverse population, research opportunities and critical-care training. Away from work, I am an avid runner and run at least two half-marathons per year.

    • David Cervi, DO, PhD

      David Cervi, DO, PhD


      I was born and raised in a lovely, quaint town in rural Ontario. After completing my undergraduate training and obtaining a Master's Degree at the University of Windsor, I moved to the big city where I obtained my doctoral degree in cellular and molecular biology at the University of Toronto. While there, I was inspired by many fine scientists and oncologists, adult and pediatric alike, which encouraged me to pursue medical education. After my post-doctoral training at Children's Hospital of Boston in the field of tumor angiogenesis and platelet biology, I entered Michigan State College of Osteopathic Medicine and obtained my medical degree and subsequently completed my residency training at Children's Hospital of Michigan. Education and training have occupied the better part of my life, although I still try to find some time to spend with family and friends and if possible attend an opera or the symphony. It is truly a privilege to continue my training in pediatric hematology/oncology at an institution as great as St. Jude. I first became aware of the hospital as a teenager (many, many years ago). I hope to be able to continue applying my research knowledge to better understand the onset and progression of various tumors with the goal of optimizing treatment modalities for children with refractory disease.

    • David Claassen

      David Claassen, MD


      I'm originally a small-town Nebraska boy, undergrad in Minnesota (too cold), residency in Texas (too hot), hoping Tennessee will be just right. I have a beautiful musician wife and two mischievous boys ages 6 and 3. My science background is in DNA repair mostly and a bit of pluripotency regulation. I'm a big child; I love playing with my boys and Legos. I love good food and the symphony, and my guilty pleasures are college football (Go Huskers!) and SciFi/Fantasy novels. I'm thrilled my calling has brought us to a place like St. Jude.

    • Stephanie Dixon, MD

      Stephanie Dixon, MD


      I’m originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan and stayed in-state to complete both college and medical school at the University of Michigan, Go Blue! During this time I was able to become involved with a variety of research and volunteer opportunities after being a camp counselor at both pediatric oncology and hemophilia camps. I became interested in needs surrounding transition, late effects and survivorship in medical school which led me to my residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics in Cincinnati. I am excited to train at St. Jude due to its reputation for excellent clinical care, opportunities in survivorship research and training, and the felling of an energetic community.

      My husband, Griffin, works for Medtronic and enjoys golf and brewing beer. When not at work, we enjoy traveling, spending time with our dog (Ruby), college football, running and pretty much any other outdoor sports or activities! We are looking forward to moving to the South and exploring Memphis!

    • Rebecca Epperly, MD

      Rebecca Epperly, MD


      I grew up in the Quad Cities area of western Illinois, a few hours north along the Mississippi River. I went to the University of Iowa for undergraduate and medical school, where I studied bassoon performance in addition to medicine. Not only did I develop a passion for Hawkeye sports, but also found an incredible bond with our Pediatric Oncology patients and families through the Dance Marathon program. Our next adventure led my husband Ren and I to Pittsburgh, where I completed my pediatrics residency training. We have loved our time in the city of bridges and sports, which is also the hometown to our son Elijah. When not at work I enjoy yoga, Crossfit, and playing outside with my boys.

      St. Jude stands out for it's amazing clinical and research opportunities, but even more because of the shared sense of mission and commitment to families battling pediatric cancer. We are so excited that our journey has led us south to Memphis and I can't wait to join the St. Jude team!

    • Lisa Force, MD

      Lisa Force, MD


      I grew up just outside of Portland, Oregon, where my appreciation for family, exploring the outdoors, delicious coffee and vegetarian food began. I did my undergraduate studies at the University of Oregon and my medical training at Boston University School of Medicine. During my twenties I spent time in Belize, Peru, Ethiopia and Kenya, experiences that shaped my desire to improve child healthcare in international settings and sparked an interest in pediatric oncology. I completed my residency in pediatrics at the University of Washington/Seattle Children’s Hospital and following residency worked for a year in Botswana as part of Baylor’s Global Health Corps providing clinical care to children with cancer, blood disorders and HIV.

      My hope is to focus my career on improving pediatric oncology care in resource-­‐limited settings, and I’m excited to join St. Jude, where there is a collective recognition of the importance of improving pediatric hematology-­‐oncology care globally and an inspiring passion for this work. On my interview day I felt drawn to becoming a part of the St. Jude team, where there seemed to be a shared focus on  providing excellent and compassionate patient-­‐centered care and a genuine warmth in staff interactions. I’m looking forward to living in the South and exploring the Memphis music, art, hiking and food scenes!

    • Jessica Gartrell, MD

      Jessica Gartrell, MD


      I grew up in a small town just outside Kansas City and then moved to Nebraska to complete my undergraduate and medical school training. I then decided it was time to move down to Memphis to complete my pediatric residency, where I was fortunate enough to witness the amazing things done at St. Jude first hand. I have two adorable boys and a wonderful husband. We could not be more excited to stay in Memphis where I feel that the training is unsurpassed.

    • Dylan Graetz, MD

      Dylan Graetz, MD


      I grew up in Milford, Connecticut and am a true New Englander at heart. I completed my undergraduate degree at Middlebury College in Vermont where I majored in English Literature and spent most of my time hiking/ running/ biking/ snowboarding/ playing in the gorgeous Green Mountains. After college I lived in San Francisco for a year working on a political campaign and for an LGBT clinic. I returned to the great state of Connecticut for medical school at UConn and stayed an extra year to complete my MPH. Since then, I have been in Philadelphia - soaking in city life and great food while trying to avoid the sports fans. Somewhere along the way I managed to live on 5 continents and hike Kilimanjaro! I am passionate about working globally in under-served settings and cannot wait to join St. Jude and continue this pursuit.

    • Joshua Hess, MD

      Joshua Hess, MD


      I can remember wanting to be a doctor as far back as elementary school. I was born and raised in Charleston, WV and after high school I attended WV State University and met my wife the first week of classes. My plans to carry on through medical school changed when I was hired into a research chemist internship with Bayer CropScience. I completed degrees in Biology and Chemistry and continued my career in the chemical industry for several years but frequently felt something missing.

      It wasn't until my wife and I were expecting our first child that I began to reconsider a career in medicine. Shortly before our daughter was born I began studying and was accepted to medical school later that year. While returning to school was no easy task (now with two children), I soon felt I was in the right place. It was in my fourth year of medical school that I spent a month in the pediatric oncology clinic and knew I wanted to be a pediatric oncologist. I am both humbled and excited by the opportunity to further pursue my education and research at St. Jude.

      My time outside of work is spent with my wife, Alicia, and children, Anessa and Abram.

    • Caitlin E. Hurley, MD

      Caitlin E. Hurley, MD


      I am a life-long New Englander. I grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts, attended undergraduate at Boston College, medical school at the University of Massachusetts and completed my residency at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. St. Jude drew me to the South by the end of my interview day. I was captivated by the energy on campus, the immense opportunities for research and the commitment to clinical care. I look forward to exploring Memphis, especially the vibrant culinary and music scenes!

    • Jennifer Kamens, MD

      Jennifer Kamens, MD


      I grew up in a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a pediatrician. I then broke with family tradition by attending the University of Virginia where I studied biomedical engineering and discovered my love for research. I continued my schooling at Temple University School of Medicine and then went on to complete residency in the Harriet Lane Program at Johns Hopkins. I am excited about moving to Memphis and the opportunity to do my fellowship in Hematology/Oncology at St. Jude. When not at work, I enjoy running, biking, traveling, and spending time with my sisters and friends.

    • Harry “Adrian” Lesmana, MD

      Harry “Adrian” Lesmana, MD


      I embody the typical characteristic of a Pisces man; powerfully emotional, strongly intuitive, deeply sensitive and a long life dreamer. I was born, raised and received my early education in a small city in Indonesia. After completing high school, I moved to a much bigger city, Jakarta, where I received my medical training at University of Indonesia. Not satisfied with what I could accomplish in my home country, I decided to move to US to pursue further clinical training. I completed a combined pediatrics and medical genetics residency training at Cincinnati Children's Hospital where I found my true passion for hematology genetics. I am so privileged to be part of St. Jude Children's big family where people with diverse background and interest have unified intention to help children afflicted with cancer and other blood related disorders. Personally, I am hoping to bridge the gap between medical genetics and hematology/ oncology. My clinical interest is mainly in inherited anemias, bone marrow failure syndromes and pediatrics cancer predisposition syndrome. When I am not at work, I spend majority of my time with my two dogs, Albert and Einstein, either in dog parks, hiking trails or just at home binge watching Netflix TV series. I am also a movie buff and love going to see broadway shows, plays and other performing arts. I can't wait to explore what Memphis could offer!

    • Jonathan Miller, MD, PhD

      Jonathan Miller, MD, PhD


      Born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, I grew up an avid sports fan (Go Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins!) and later developed my love of science and research. I moved to Washington DC after college to work full time in an NIH lab where I cemented my interest in medicine and scientific research. I stayed in the Nation's capital for a total of 8 years to complete medical training at Georgetown and found the love of my life, Miranda, before heading to California to enjoy the sun, nature, and life at Stanford. There I learned to become a pediatrician, in part because of my residency and in part because I became a father to my son, Abraham. I have long been interested in the complexity and acuity of pediatric cancer as well as the opportunity to enter the vulnerable, sacred space of caring for a family with a child battling cancer. I am so grateful and can think of no better place than St. Jude to complete my training and further contribute to advancing therapy and improving outcomes. Our family is also looking forward to the Southern hospitality, Memphis BBQ, and owning a home for the first time!

    • Anand Patel, MD

      Anand Patel, MD


      I was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. I attended Duke University for my undergraduate training in Biomedical Engineering. Then, I travelled to the upper Midwest to complete an MD/PhD at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. My research training was in molecular pharmacology, and focused on the mechanism of PARP inhibition on cell killing in ovarian cancer. After 9 years in the frigid north, I moved to St. Louis to complete a pediatric residency at St. Louis Children's Hospital. When I'm not working, I'm usually watching a college basketball game (go Blue Devils!) or catching a live music show.

      I've spent most of my adult life working in one lab or the other with the aim of identifying new and safer ways to treat cancer. I chose to train at St. Jude because of the collective sense of mission I felt when I visited there, and the belief that we can do better in treating young patients afflicted with cancer.

    • Akshay Sharma

      Akshay Sharma, MD


      I grew up in India and graduated from a medical school there in 2010. After medical school I deferred residency and spent about two years doing lab research at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. It is during this time that I got really interested in pediatric oncology and BMT. I completed residency at the University of Kentucky where I worked on improving vaccination rates in children, something that I am really passionate about in addition to oncology.

      I chose St. Jude because this place is like Disneyland for pediatric oncology. It’s not just academically renowned but also has a unique patient-centered approach, which makes working here a very satisfying experience, both scholarly and spiritually. The devotion of all the employees is truly embodied in the dream to ensure that “no child should die in the dawn of life.”

    • Michael Terao, MD

      Michael Terao, MD


      I'm originally from the Washington DC area and a huge Washington Nationals fan. I attended Allegheny College (Meadville, PA) where I majored in English before starting at Eastern Virginia Medical School (Norfolk, VA). After medical school I completed my pediatric residency at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland (Oakland, CA) where I completed research on the use of concept mapping in undergraduate medical education. After residency, I spent one year as chief resident at the Morehouse School of Medicine Pediatric Residency (Atlanta, GA) prior to starting at St. Jude.

      I'm mainly interested in survivorship and adolescent/young adult oncology research.

    • Jessica M. Valdez, MD

      Born in the tiny town of Espanola in northern New Mexico, working as a pediatrician started as a childhood dream. I told my second-grade teacher I wanted to be a doctor who cared for children. In undergraduate school at the University of New Mexico, while serving as a child-life volunteer with pediatric oncology patients, I realized I not only wanted to be a pediatrician, but I also wanted to specialize in hematology/oncology—and St. Jude was where I wanted to work.

      My path toward this wonderful facility started at the University of New Mexico Medical School, followed by a pediatric residency at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. Along the way I spent a year as a Howard Hughes Fellow conducting research on immunocompromised hosts in the pediatric oncology branch at the National Institutes of Health. I also spent several months as a Fogarty Scholar in Nigeria. Accompanying me to Memphis is my newlywed husband, Tim, and our little dog, "Lilly Monster." We are both very excited about starting our lives together in such a vibrant and exciting city.

    • Caitlin Zebley

      Caitlin Zebley, MD


      I grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota and am so excited to live in Memphis away from blizzards and subzero temperatures! Southern living sounds amazing after being in other (cold) parts of the country. In 2008, I graduated Summa Cum Laude from Iona College in Westchester, New York with an Honors Degree and double major in chemistry and biology. During college, I developed a love for research after becoming involved in a NASA project analyzing the atmosphere of Mars.

      My childhood dream was to become a pediatric physician and I went on to graduate from Chicago Medical School in 2012 and complete my pediatric residency at the University of Minnesota in 2015. I feel blessed to be a part of St. Jude—a one-of-a-kind facility where top-notch, compassionate patient care is combined with cutting-edge research. When not at work, I enjoy spending time with my new husband, Nico, and our 3-year-old hound-mix, Rue.

    Our Alumni: Where are they now?


    Albany Medical Center
    All Children’s Hospital
    Baylor College of Medicine
    Children’s Hospital of Alabama
    Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
    Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
    Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters
    Children’s Hospital of Vanderbilt
    Cincinnati Children’s Hospital
    Cleveland Clinic
    Cook Children’s Medical Center
    Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    Duke University
    Emory University
    Essentia Health Cancer Center
    Helen Devos Children’s Hospital
    Johns Hopkins Hospital
    Mahidol University

    Maine Children’s Cancer Program
    Memorial Sloan Kettering
    Nationwide Children’s Hospital
    New York Medical College
    Niswonger Children’s Hospital
    Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital
    Queen Mary Hospital
    Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
    St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
    St. Vincent Children’s Hospital
    Scott and White Healthcare
    Stanford University
    The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)
    University of North Carolina
    University of Oklahoma
    University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
    University of Wisconsin School of Medicine
    University of Utah Primary Children’s Medical Center
    Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University