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Pediatric Surgical Oncology Fellowship Program

Providing cutting-edge surgical training in the clinical management of pediatric cancers and resection of solid tumors

We offer training in our state-of-the-art surgical complex to fellows with a variety of surgical backgrounds. As a clinical fellow in our Pediatric Surgical Oncology program, you will work with leading faculty from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital to develop expertise in the resection and perioperative management of complex pediatric solid tumors including:

  • High-risk neuroblastoma with vascular encasement
  • Bilateral and unilateral Wilms tumor
  • Mediastinal masses
  • Hepatic tumors
  • Limb salvage surgery for bone tumors
  • Thoracic surgery for metastatic cancer
  • Soft tissue sarcoma
  • Germ cell tumors

You will play an integral role in our multidisciplinary pediatric solid tumor team which includes faculty and fellows from multiple pediatric sub-specialties, including:

  • Hematology/oncology
  • Radiation Oncology
  • Anatomic Pathology
  • Diagnostic Imaging and Interventional Radiology
  • Cancer Predisposition/genetics

Our Clinical Program

Since St. Jude opened its surgical complex in 1996, our surgeons have been an integral part of the diagnosis and treatment team, working closely with oncologists, radiation therapists, radiologists, pathologists, hematologists and basic scientists. We are a national and international referral center for patients with complex pediatric tumors requiring surgery. Our faculty have special clinical expertise in:

  • Neuroblastoma: We are a leader in the management of children with neuroblastoma and have developed protocols for gaining gross total resection of tumors in children with high-risk neuroblastoma with imaging-defined risk factors, including vascular encasement.
  • Wilms tumor: We have performed nephron sparing procedures in more than 80% of the children who have been treated at St. Jude for bilateral Wilms tumors. We also perform surgical resection for Wilms tumor patients with vascular extension.
  • Hepatic tumors: Our faculty are skilled at resection of primary tumors and pulmonary metastatic disease for hepatoblastoma, hepatocellular carcinoma and other pediatric liver tumors.
  • Bone tumors: Our department has been recognized nationally and internationally for its limb salvage program in the management of bone tumors.
  • Soft tissue sarcomas: We see a high volume of patients with rhabdomyosarcoma and non-rhabdomyosarcoma soft tissue sarcomas.
  • Minimally invasive surgery: We perform an array of thoracoscopic procedures for pulmonary metastatic and mediastinal tumors. We also perform laparoscopic, retroperitoneoscopic, and single-site procedures for abdominal tumors and other abdominal pathology.
  • Procedures in hematology patients: Our hematology patients routinely undergo minimally invasive total and partial splenectomies and cholecystectomies.
  • Melanoma: In collaboration with the Solid Tumor Division, our department manages the treatment of children with this rare condition, establishing sentinel lymph node biopsy as the standard of care.

Learn more about the Department of Surgery

Our Research Program

The Department of Surgery actively participates in St. Jude clinical protocols, as well as Children’s Oncology Group (COG) protocols. We have several open prospective clinical trials for patients undergoing pediatric cancer surgery. We are leading an active clinical trial in the use of near infrared spectroscopy with indocyanine green guidance to facilitate resection of primary tumors and to identify occult metastatic disease. We participate in a multi-institutional prospective clinical trial to evaluate enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocols in patients undergoing pediatric cancer surgery.

We have two current clinical trials investigating adeno-associated viral vectors (AAV)-medicated gene therapy for both hemophilia A and hemophilia B.

Our department also conducts innovative basic and translational scientific research. The NIH-funded lab of our department chair, Andrew M. Davidoff, MD, focuses on angiogenesis and gene therapy, both for cancer and the treatment of monogenetic disorders. Jun Yang, MD, PhD, leads an NCI/NIH funded laboratory that is developing novel epigenetic therapies for high-risk neuroblastoma and other pediatric cancers. Andrew J. Murphy, MD, studies the genetics of bilateral Wilms tumor and has developed a large library of Wilms tumor patient-derived xenografts for the study of rare, aggressive forms of this disease. Lindsay J. Talbot, MD, leads a translational laboratory effort to generate novel immunocompetent animal models of pediatric osteosarcoma and to pioneer CAR T-cell therapies for this disease and other pediatric solid tumors.

Learn more about our Research Program

Fellowship Program

The fellowship is for two years, beginning July 1.

  1. As a Pediatric Surgical Oncology fellow, you will gain extensive experience in the resection of abdominal and thoracic tumors, limb-sparing resections for bone tumors, head and neck surgery, soft tissue surgery, and central venous access. First year fellows will also spend three months on a pediatric surgery rotation at nearby Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.

    You will participate in regular conferences and professional development programs at St. Jude, such as weekly case management conferences, the Solid Tumor Conference and Tumor Board, Pediatric Surgery Oncology Multi-Institutional case discussions, and weekly conferences at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.

    Funding is available for you to attend national and international scientific meetings during your fellowship.

    Fellows will undertake clinical research projects during the fellowship period and are expected to publish at least three first author clinical manuscripts.

  2. We provide fellows with a strong clinical foundation while customizing training to each fellow’s professional goals. A typical weekly schedule includes:

    • Operating room: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
    • Weekly didactic curriculum on Wednesday morning at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital
    • Wednesday afternoon conferences and didactic curriculum
      • Lead weekly case management conference
      • Participate in weekly solid tumor conference (tumor board)
      • Lead quarterly morbidity and mortality conference
      • Lead quarterly multi-institutional, international case discussion conference
      • Participate in quarterly pathology conference
    • Daily afternoon clinics for new solid tumor consults and postoperative follow-up patients
    • Three-month pediatric surgery rotation at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital (during first year)

Applying for Fellowship


Eligible applicants will have completed a general surgery residency or an ACGME-accredited pediatric surgery fellowship. International applicants must be ECFMG certified, have passed all three steps of the USMLE, and be eligible for sponsorship on an H-1B visa.

Application Process

To learn more about current openings and the application process, please email Abdelhafeez H. Abdelhafeez, MD, Fellowship Program Director. A complete application will consist of: a curriculum vitae (CV), personal statement, ECFMG certificate (international fellows only), and three (3) letters of recommendation. Applicants may apply at any time. Our interview season occurs in the fall for a July 1 start.

Inquire about applying