Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Fellowship

Meet the Fellows

 
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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

  • Thomas B. Alexander, MD

    Thomas B. Alexander, MD

    Alexander

    I grew up in Atlanta and have since lived and studied at the University of Virginia and the University of North Carolina, where I completed Internal Medicine and Pediatric residency. My wife works as a counselor and in her spare time is a full time mom to our two young sons. They keep us smiling and humbled. When I am not in the hospital or chasing toddlers, I love to bike, fish or fiercely compete in tennis or golf at an astoundingly mediocre level of play.

    I chose St. Jude in order to efficiently maximize my clinical and research training. My goals during fellowship are to learn excellent clinical medicine and to develop research paths in treatment related morbidity, particularly focusing on leukemia and lymphoma management. Because of the diversity and abundance of patients, academic expertise, and support staff, I feel that I can accomplish more in less time at St. Jude than I could anywhere else.

  • Kari Bjornard, MD

    Kari Bjornard, MD

    Bjornard

    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.

  • Steven Carey

    Steven Carey, MD, PhD

    Carey

    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 Claassen

    David Claassen, MD

    Claassen

    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.

  • Caitlin E. Hurley, MD

    Caitlin E. Hurley, MD

    Hurley

    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

    Kamens

    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.

  • Seth E. Karol, MD

    Seth E. Karol, MD

    Karol

    I am from Ohio, having completed my residency in pediatrics at University Hospitals of Cleveland Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital. I came to St. Jude due to the variety of clinical exposures and research options available to me. After a fantastic first clinical year, I’ve been pursuing research in the Hematologic Malignancies program where I’m working on projects evaluating the germ-line genetic variations contributing to adverse outcomes due to chemotherapy. A particular area of focus is osteonecrosis in patients with ALL. Outside of work, I enjoy getting together with the other fellows and spending time with my wonderful wife and two children.

  • Erica Kaye, MD

    Erica Kaye, MD

    Kaye

    I was born in New York and raised in Maryland. I studied English literature in college at Yale, and then took a year to travel/work in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Southern India. Then I went to Harvard Medical School, and again took an extra year to work in Guatemala and South Africa before starting pediatrics residency at Boston Children's Hospital. I've always been interested in pediatric oncology, but during residency, I also became really interested in pediatric palliative care. I'm especially interested in ways to improve communication around end-of-life issues, both in the US and internationally. My husband (Zach) is also in medicine (he was an OMFS resident, and then decided to switch career paths and is now doing radiology). Outside of the hospital, my favorite pastimes are singing, oil painting, re-teaching myself piano/guitar, and attempting to do the NY Times crossword (it doesn't usually go so well). Zach and I also love being outdoors, going to concerts, art festivals, and sporting events, and we are really excited to explore Memphis!

  • Spencer Mangum, MD

    Spencer Mangum, MD

    Mangum

    I was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Utah in biomedical engineering, and then went East for medical school at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York. I returned to Utah to complete my pediatrics residency at Primary Children’s Hospital and am excited to now be at St. Jude for my next step in training. Along the way, I’ve been blessed with a family. I married my wife during my undergraduate years, had two children during medical school, and our third child most recently during residency. I love the outdoors (particularly skiing, hiking and fly-fishing). My current professional interests involve experimental therapeutics in the hematologic malignancies; however, I’m looking forward to defining these interests further while at St. Jude.

  • Rosa Nguyen, MD

    Rosa Nguyen, MD

    Nguyen

    I was born and raised in the high north of Germany, in a city called Hamburg, where I attended medical school before I moved to Baltimore, Maryland, for pediatric residency. My interest in pediatric oncology stems from caring for patients with tumor suppressor gene disorders. Quickly, I have come to cherish the opportunity to help these children and families and be part of their lives. Elizabeth Lawrence once wrote that "there is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again." For children with cancer, I found this place to be St. Jude. I think St. Jude is the perfect place where excellent clinical care meets top-notch research, and I am very thankful for the opportunity to pursue my fellowship training here.

  • Jason R. Schwartz, MD

    Jason R. Schwartz, MD

    Schwartz

    Most people call me Schwartz; I grew up in the once small, but now bustling city of Denham Springs, Louisiana. I attended Louisiana College in Pineville for my undergraduate education, majoring in biology. From there, I completed the MD/PhD program at the Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans. My graduate training was in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology where the focus of my research was the mechanism of glucocorticoid-mediated apoptosis in acute lymphoblastic leukemia. From Louisiana, I traveled to Nashville for General Pediatrics Residency at Vanderbilt.

    My home is full of girls: my wife (Mindy) and two daughters (Sydney and Lynden). My hobby is endurance sports, namely, triathlon. I truly enjoy the science of the sport, particularly, the biochemistry of endurance nutrition (…it’s okay, my wife thinks I am a nerd too).

    I consider myself immensely fortunate to have the opportunity to train at St. Jude. As a patient, undergraduate Pediatric Oncology Education (POE) Program student, and visiting medical student, I have experienced the unparalleled compassion and devotion that glows from all who strive to ensure that “no child should die in the dawn of life.” I am realizing a dream to be part of such a team at a place like St. Jude.

  • Akshay Sharma

    Akshay Sharma, MD

    Sharma

    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.”

  • Jennifer M. Snaman, MD

    Jennifer M. Snaman, MD

    Snaman

    Hello! My name is Jennifer Snaman and I am excited to be in Memphis. I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, as one of four children into a large (and loud) Army family. We moved all around the country until my father retired outside of Washington, DC, while I was in high school. I met my wonderful husband Josh Currier while I was an undergraduate at Vanderbilt University.

    After school, I moved to Atlanta for graduate school in population biology before returning to Virginia for medical school. We were excited to match for residency in the land of the Red Sox and loved our four years spent in Boston, Massachusetts. I finished residency at the Boston Combined Residency Program in 2011 and stayed on as a hospitalist in the Children’s Hospital Boston ICU for a year. My husband, my 1-year-old son Max and I moved to Tennessee in June 2012 (my third lifetime move to Tennessee) and have enjoyed our past year in the Bluff City. I will be working as a clinical pediatric palliative and hospice care fellow for the next year before finishing my research and fellowship in hematology-oncology.

    While not at the hospital, my husband and I enjoy chasing around our toddler son and exploring all that Memphis has to offer. On the weekend, you are likely to find us at the zoo, botanic gardens or one of the many local festivals.

  • Aimee Talleur, MD

    Aimee Talleur, MD

    Talleur

    I grew up in upstate New York, just outside of Albany. My family still resides in the Northeast. I attended Union College in Schenectady, New York and medical school in Syracuse, New York. I completed my pediatric residency at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC. I never thought I would move to the South, but St. Jude pulled me in from the moment my interview day started. I was drawn to the overall spirit of the program and hospital, as well as the innumerable opportunities that are available to fellows. Since my arrival, everyone has been extremely welcoming and eager to teach. When I am not at work I enjoy tasting my husband's cooking, spending time with friends and family, trying new restaurants and exploring all that Memphis has to offer.

  • 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.

  • Nicholas S. Whipple, MD

    Nicholas S. Whipple, MD

    Whipple

    I grew up in Tupelo, Mississippi, and consider myself a southern boy. After serving for two years in Guatemala as an LDS (Mormon) missionary, I returned home unsure of what educational course to pursue. I watched the movie Patch Adams for the first time and felt that medicine would make an unforgettably worthwhile life career. I earned a degree in English at Ole Miss then attended the University of Mississippi Medical School. I crossed the country and completed pediatric residency training at Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, where I found and fell in love with my beautiful wife. I now join St. Jude as a Fellow in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology where I'm privileged to be a part of a place where funding is no obstacle and the highest hopes for success can be supported. Each day is a new challenge. But the walls of St. Jude seem to hold stories that speak, and I am propelled to learn and to make whatever difference I can in the life of a patient and family.

  • Caitlin Zebley

    Caitlin Zebley, MD

    Zebley

    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
Amgen
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
Genentech
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