About Us

Student and assistant dean walking in hall, talking

Our Mission

The mission of the St. Jude Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences is to educate and train future generations of scientists seeking to understand the molecular basis of human disease and develop novel therapies based on that understanding.

Our Vision

The St. Jude Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences is designed to maximize student potential through self-directed learning, with guidance by world-renowned researchers and clinicians. Instruction is given in a dynamic environment that annually provides education and training to more than 200 affiliated undergraduate and graduate students, 300 postdoctoral fellows, 170 medical students and 45 clinical fellows. Collaborative and translational research enables students to choose individualized paths to success and leadership in scientific discovery. These opportunities also raise awareness of the value and urgent need to develop young scientists who will discover cures and advance treatments for catastrophic childhood diseases.


  • Stephen White, DPhil

    President and Dean

    Email: stephen.white@stjude.org

    Stephen White is from London, England and obtained his BSc in Biochemistry from Bristol University and his DPhil in Molecular Biophysics from Oxford University. Following postdoctoral fellowships at Oxford and the Max Planck Institute in Berlin, he moved to Brookhaven National Laboratory as a staff biophysicist in 1984. In 1990, he moved to Duke University Medical Center as an Associate Professor, and in 1996 was recruited to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to establish the Department of Structural Biology. In 2015, he was asked to establish the new St. Jude Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. He now serves as the first Dean of the school.  His wife, Dr. Miguela Caniza, is an infectious disease clinician at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and a faculty member of the Graduate School and the Department of Global Pediatric Medicine.

  • Brian Walton

    Associate Dean

    Email: brian.walton@stjude.org

    Brian Walton has worked in higher education accounting and administrative positions for the last 20 years. Hired at Brandeis University as an Associate Controller, he was then promoted to Assistant Vice President for Students and Enrollment, a newly created division responsible for ensuring the success of undergraduate students outside the classroom. Brian was then hired as the Associate Dean of Finance & Administration at the Brown University Graduate School, where he oversaw the operational areas of the Graduate School and 80+ graduate programs. Brian joined St. Jude in April 2016 to oversee the operations of the Graduate School. His expertise in admissions and recruiting, advising, finance, human resources, and student life are highly valued in this new role.

  • J. Racquel Collins, PhD

    Assistant Dean

    Email: racquel.collins@stjude.org

    Racquel Collins earned her PhD in Cancer and Radiation Biology from Wake Forest University School of Medicine and her MBA from the University of Memphis. Her career at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital began in 2008 as a postdoctoral fellow. In 2011, she joined the Molecular Pathology Laboratory as a board-certified medical technologist, where she was responsible for genetic testing and assay development. In 2014, Racquel became the director of Scientific Lab Operations, where she provided administrative and supervisory direction for Scientific Operations and oversaw institution-led laboratory shared resources. Racquel joined the Graduate School in May 2016, where her responsibilities include marketing, recruiting, admissions and mentoring.

  • Shaloo Puri, MBBS, DTCD, MPH, MPA

    Assistant Dean

    Director, Global Graduate Studies, Department of Global Pediatric Medicine

    Email: shaloo.puri@stjude.org

    Shaloo Puri is a global health leader with more than 24 years of progressive experience and transformational impact in multi-sectoral settings at national and global levels. She has held leadership positions in organizations that include Harvard University, World Economic Forum and World Health Organization (WHO), working in collaboration with USAID, Global Fund, Gates Foundation, World Bank, and public and private sectors. She is a thought leader with expertise in innovative multi-stakeholder partnerships across global health and health systems. In July 2018, Shaloo moved to St. Jude from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where she headed the Doctor of Public Health Program.

    Shaloo is assistant dean of the Master of Science in Global Child Health Program. She directs the St. Jude Global Graduate Studies for the Department of Global Pediatric Medicine. She also guides and supports other Global Pediatric Medicine teams and transversal programs.

  • Julie Laveglia, MA

    Global Graduate Studies Project Coordinator for Global Pediatric Medicine

    Email: julie.laveglia@stjude.org

    Julie brings more than 15 years in the field of international education to her role at St. Jude, starting her career teaching English through the JET Program outside of Kyoto, Japan. Julie then returned to the U.S. to work at New York University with its Center for Global Affairs and NYU-in-Paris program. Afterward, Julie worked on the International Human Resources team at Lehman Brothers.

    She pivoted back to higher education and moved to Boston to work in the LASPAU Office of Harvard University, where she was primarily responsible for advising graduate-level Fulbright grantees from Central and South America. Most recently, Julie worked as the Assistant Director of Overseas Programs at Washington University in St. Louis where she worked closely with program and university partners in East and South Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

    Julie was born and raised outside of Philadelphia in Southern New Jersey. She received her bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Environmental Science from Boston College. While an undergrad, she studied abroad at the Universidad de Sevilla. Julie received her M.A. in International Education from New York University.  While a graduate student, she interned with the Sister City Program within the New York City Commission to the United Nations.

    At St. Jude, Julie works with the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in collaboration with the St. Jude Department of Global Pediatric Medicine on the design, implementation, management and evaluation of the Master of Science in Global Child Health program and postgraduate capstone projects. The program offers students a transformative education needed to enhance the treatment and care of childhood cancers and catastrophic illnesses in an evolving world.

  • Dayna Baker

    Senior Administrator

    Email: dayna.baker@stjude.org

    Dayna Baker joined the St. Jude Department of Virology & Molecular Biology in 1987, working directly with the chair, Robert Webster, PhD, and providing administrative support to the faculty. Following 10 successful years, she transferred to the Department of Structural Biology where she oversaw the expansion of the new program with chair Stephen White, D.Phil. As the departmental administrator, Dayna has coordinated diverse projects including faculty recruitment, grant submissions, budgets, capital equipment purchases and service contracts. She joins the new St. Jude Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences as the Senior Administrator.

  • Tiffany Young-Polk


    Email: tiffany.young-polk@stjude.org

    Tiffany Young-Polk has worked in higher education for 14 years at Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee, where she served as the Assistant to the Director of Information Technology, Associate Registrar and Director of Veterans Affairs. She also served on the Student Veteran Center Resource Team, the Enrollment Management Committee and the Fifth Year Review Committee.  During her time at Lane College, Tiffany led key projects including the opening of a Student Veteran Center and the redesign of the institution’s degrees. She also assisted in the setup and configuration of the institution’s student information and learning management systems.

    Tiffany joined the St. Jude Graduate School as Registrar in October 2016. She is responsible for services in the area of enrollment, academic record keeping, and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS COC) Accreditation.

  • McGehee Marsh, JD, PhD

    Legal Counsel

    McGehee Marsh is a patent attorney, licensed to practice law in Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky and the District of Columbia. She has a PhD in Environmental Toxicology/Chemistry. She is an environmental auditor and has practiced intellectual property and environmental law in Kentucky. McGehee was Kentucky Senate General Counsel and one of the architects of Kentucky’s postsecondary education reform, which created new funding formulas and reorganized missions and focus for Kentucky’s public colleges, universities, community colleges and technical schools. She worked for the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education as Chief Science Advisor and Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs. She was responsible for implementing legislation passed during her tenure at the Senate, which created initiatives to attract knowledge-based economy companies to Kentucky, and to recruit women to the sciences. McGehee raises and trains service dogs and is a member of American Mensa.