Leadership and Staff

Our leadership team, staff and faculty work together to help training future leaders in the lab and in the clinic. We develop inquisitive researchers probing the molecular basis of disease and therapy. We equip medical practitioners with cutting-edge knowledge to conduct clinical and translational research and work to improve health care systems worldwide. 

  • Steven Varga, PhD

    Dean, St. Jude Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

    Ex-officio member, Board of Trustees

    Member, St. Jude Faculty

    Affiliations:

    Email: steven.varga@stjude.org

    Steven Varga received his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame before going on to earn his PhD in Immunology and Virology from the UMass Chan Medical School. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Virginia, after which he joined the faculty of the University of Iowa.

    In Iowa, his passion for mentorship and working with students took hold through his role as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Graduate Student Development in the Graduate College. He held the position of Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and maintained a secondary appointment in Pathology. In this role, he led an independent research program focusing on the role of virus-specific T lymphocytes in mediating immunity and immunopathology during viral infections, with a particular focus on respiratory viruses such as RSV, influenza A virus and SARS-CoV-2.

    In 2021, he was recognized with a certificate of distinction for the Annual Student Supervisor of the Year Award from the University of Iowa. He has been the recipient of grants and fellowship support from the American Association of Immunologists, the American Lung Association and the National Institutes of Health, among others. He is an active member of the American Association of Immunologists, the American Society for Microbiology and the Society for Leukocyte Biology. He serves on several journal editorial boards and often gives invited lectures on his research. 

  • Stacey L. Schultz-Cherry, PhD

    Senior Associate Dean, Academic Affairs

    Member, St. Jude Faculty

    Deputy Director, World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Studies on the Ecology of Influenza in Animals and Birds

    Affiliations:

    Email: stacey.schultz-cherry@stjude.org

    Stacey Schultz-Cherry, PhD is a Full Member (Professor) in the Department of Infectious Diseases at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN where she serves as the Co-Director for the NIAID-funded Center for Excellence in Influenza Research and Response (CEIRR) and Co-Director for the NIAID-funded Collaborative Influenza Vaccine Innovation Center (CIVIC). She received her PhD in Molecular and Cellular Pathology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and did postdoctoral training in influenza virology at the University of Wisconsin. Before joining the faculty at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in 2009, she was a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Schultz-Cherry is recognized internationally for her studies on the pathogenesis influenza and enteric viruses in high risk populations and influenza at the animal-human interface. Dr. Schultz-Cherry is the author and co-author of over 200 research articles, reviews and book chapters, is the past President of the American Society for Virology, and the current chair of the Public and Scientific Affairs Committee for the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). 

  • Shaloo Puri, MBBS, DTCD, MPH, MPA

    Associate Dean, Global Child Health MS Program

    Director, Global Scholars Program

    Affiliations:

    Email: shaloo.puri@stjude.org

    Shaloo Puri is a global health leader with 26 years of experience of transformational impact in complex multi- sectoral settings at country and global levels. She has held leadership positions in organizations including Harvard University, World Economic Forum and World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with USAID, Global Fund, Gates Foundation, World Bank, other development and UN agencies, public and private sectors. She is known to be a distinguished thought leader with expertise in policy research and analysis, and in creating and leading innovative educational programs and multi-stakeholder partnerships across the spectrum of global health and health systems.

    She earned her medical degree and postgraduate specialization in Respiratory Diseases from India. Subsequently she did a MPH from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and went on to do a MPA and a fellowship in Public Policy and Management from the Kennedy School at Harvard University. 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. She now leads the Master of Science in Global Child Health Program and the St. Jude Global Scholars Program of the Department of Global Pediatric Medicine, providing transformative education to future change agents and child health leaders. 

  • Patricia Flynn, MD

    Associate Dean, Clinical Investigations MS Program

    Member, St. Jude Faculty

    Senior Vice President and Medical Director of Quality and Patient Care

    Deputy Clinical Director

    Affiliations:

    Email: pat.flynn@stjude.org

    Pat Flynn earned her BS at Rhodes College in Memphis and her MD at Louisiana State University Medical Center. She did her pediatric residency at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center/Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center and her fellowship in pediatric infectious diseases at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Le Bonheur and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. She earned a Master of Science in Epidemiology from UTHSC.  Patricia began working in the HIV/AIDS program at St. Jude in 1988. The program provides comprehensive care for infants, children and adolescents with HIV infection and is the site of several clinical trials networks making new interventions and treatments available to its patients.  She has played an active role in the development and conducted numerous clinical trials for HIV and other infectious diseases.

  • Victor M. Santana, MD

    Associate Dean, Clinical Investigations MS Program

    Member, St. Jude Faculty

    Affiliations:

    Email: victor.santana@stjude.org

    Victor M. Santana is from Puerto Rico where he obtained his undergraduate and medical degree from the Catholic University and the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, respectively. He subsequently obtained specialty training in Pediatrics and in Hematology-Oncology at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1984, he joined the faculty at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital where he has contributed in many roles as physician, clinical researcher and administratively as a Division Chief for Solid Malignancies, Chair of the Institutional Review Board and as past Senior Vice President for Clinical Trials Administration and Associate Director for Clinical Research in the St. Jude Comprehensive Cancer Center. Presently he directs the Global Research Unit in the St. Jude Global Alliance.

  • Wilson K. Clements, PhD

    Associate Dean, Biomedical Sciences PhD Program

    Associate Member, St. Jude Faculty

    Affiliations:

    Email: wilson.clements@stjude.org

    Wilson Clements received his BA in English from Williams College, followed by postbaccalaureate training in Biochemistry at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He earned his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Washington, where he studied early embryonic development and Wnt signaling. Wilson received postdoctoral training at the University of California at San Diego, where he investigated the genetic regulation of hematopoietic stem cell specification. He joined the faculty of Hematology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in 2012 and the Clements group investigates the cellular and molecular microenvironment that directs establishment of the adult blood system during embryonic development:  the hematopoietic stem cell specification niche.

    At St. Jude, Wilson has been extensively involved in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences since its inception—first in development of the curriculum and subsequently as the Developmental Biology Module Director and Chair of the Admissions Committee. Wilson is devoted to fostering the development of the next generation of research scientists and was recognized as the 2018 St. Jude Mentor of the Year. Alumni of the Clements group now hold positions as faculty, physicians, and senior researchers in industry. 

  • Julie Laveglia, MA

    Assistant Dean, Global Child Health MS Program

    Program Manager, Global Scholars Program

    Affiliations:

    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 in the Overseas Programs division at Washington University in St. Louis where she worked closely with students, faculty, 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 master’s degree 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. Julie is currently pursuing her Doctor of Education degree from the University of Memphis, with a concentration in higher and adult education.

    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. Together these initiatives form the Global Scholars program, which offers students a transformative education needed to enhance the treatment and care of childhood cancers and catastrophic illnesses in an evolving world.

  • Sally Utech, PhD

    Assistant Dean, Clinical Investigations MS Program

    Email: sally.utech@stjude.org

    Sally began her work in higher education administration while completing a PhD at the University of Kansas (KU). At KU, she worked in pre-award and grants administration, specializing in facilitating large-scale collaborative and multi-institutional proposals. She then served as the associate director and eventually acting director of the Hall Center for the Humanities, a research and public humanities center on the KU campus. Sally served as a co-PI on a National Endowment for the Humanities Next Generation Humanities PhD grant.

    Sally came to St. Jude in 2017, serving as the clinical fellow recruiter for the Clinical Education and Training Office. After three and a half years working in St. Jude’s graduate medical education environment, she was appointed as the inaugural Assistant Dean for the Master’s of Science in Clinical Investigations program. 

  • Jimmi Lampley, MS

    Program Specialist, Clinical Investigations MS Program

    Email: JimmiLampley@stjude.org

    Jimmi Lampley is an Arkansas native and completed her Master of Science in College Student Personnel Services at Arkansas State University in 2010. Jimmi has over a decade of higher education experience in academic and student affairs. Her experiences have allowed her to aid in the advancement of undergraduate and graduate students in both public and private institutions in Arkansas and Tennessee. Her higher education background includes responsibilities in admissions, academic advising/coaching, targeted student programming, residence life, and student conduct. Jimmi's passion for graduate healthcare education was cultivated in her role at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center as an Education Specialist where she directly offered individualized and group academic coaching and programming to students in various disciplines including dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, and medicine throughout all phases of the classroom and clinical experiences. Jimmi is passionate about student success and serves as an advocate to enhance and support positive, student-focused learning environments.

  • Cassandra VanDunk, PhD

    Assistant Dean, Biomedical Sciences PhD Program

    Email: cassandra.vandunk@stjude.org

    Cassandra VanDunk joined St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in 2023. She received her B.A.  in Biology from Albion College before spending two years as a NIH Intramural Research Training Award Fellow. She completed her PhD specializing in Neuroscience within the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis before moving to Northwestern University for a post-doctoral fellowship.  

    In 2017 she combined her love of science and mentoring into a position cultivating the next generation of biomedical scientists as Assistant Director for the NIH R25 Northwestern University Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) and Manager of Training and Program Development for the Northwestern University Interdepartmental Neuroscience (NUIN) PhD Program. Through the combination of these roles Cassandra provided academic and career advising, support, and professional development programming to biomedical scientists at the post-baccalaureate, graduate, and postdoctoral levels. In addition, she gained skills in pre-award and post-award grant management and program coordination as the primary administrator of 4 NIH T32 programs.

    Finally, Cassandra served a primary role in support of diversity and inclusion efforts preparing individuals historically underrepresented in STEM for competitive admissions to biomedical PhD programs and success throughout their research careers, leading recruitment efforts and evaluating mechanisms to support students throughout their graduate careers.

  • Alex Frawley, MS

    Program Specialist, Biomedical Sciences PhD Program

    Email: alex.frawley@stjude.org

    Alex Frawley joined St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in 2023. In her role as Program Specialist for the Biomedical Sciences PhD program, she serves as the point of contact for student inquiries, monitors student milestones and student success tracking, and assists with event coordination and development of new programming.

    Alex brings nearly a decade of higher education experience to the Biomedical Sciences PhD program. She received her B.S. in Organizational Communication from the University of Akron in 2015, where she developed an interest in higher education through career counseling. She completed her M.S. in Higher Education Administration & Policy from Northwestern University in 2016. Alex transitioned her career into academic advising, tutoring program management, and creating student development programming for student-athletes at Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Most recently, she provided academic support services for graduate and professional students at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Alex is passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and has supported these through committee service, recruiting and training practices, and social justice education and programming.

  • Dayna Baker

    Operations Coordinator

    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, MA

    Registrar

    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.

  • Tracye Fitzgerald

    Sr Administrative Specialist

    Email: tracye.fitzgerald@stjude.org

    Tracye Fitzgerald is a seasoned administrative professional with over 20 years of experience.   Tracye has extensive experience with administrative tasks, including managing calendars, coordinating large meetings, coordinating travel, coordinating interviews, managing travel for executives and event planning.    Tracye has been working at St. Jude for 5 years and previously worked in Nursing as an administrative specialist and worked with executive leadership on a variety of tasks.  She has increased her efficiency in several of her assigned roles and is very effective at training new employees.   She has worked on many projects within St. Jude and is a great team player.   Tracye recently has transitioned to the St. Jude Graduate School where she provides administrative support and guidance for the staff and students.

  • Stephanie Kerlin

    Special Events Coordinator

    Email: stephanie.kerlin@stjude.org

    Stephanie Kerlin received her undergraduate degree from Arkansas State University in Marketing. Stephanie came to St. Jude in 2020, serving as an Executive Coordinator for the Administration Department. Stephanie joined the Graduate School during the fall of 2022 as the Special Events Coordinator. She came to the school with 5 years of experience in convention/event planning.

  • Enolia Marr

    Recruiter

    Email: enolia.marr@stjude.org

    Enolia Marr received her B.A. in Microbiology from the University of Tennessee where she worked in the Center for Environmental Biotechnology before returning to Memphis in 2016 to join the Infectious Diseases Department at St. Jude. Through her volunteer work with the Tennessee Promise program, she realized her interest in supporting scientific trainees. This drew her away from the bench and into a position as a postdoctoral recruiter where she helped graduate students navigate the postdoc application and interview process. Enolia joined the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in 2022. She is dedicated to fostering a vibrant and inclusive scientific community, and as a recruiter, she helps connect students with opportunities to advance their careers. She also plans and hosts the annual St. Jude National Symposium for Undergraduate Research (NSUR), bringing students from across the U.S. to Memphis to present their research and interact with St. Jude’s world-renowned scientists. 

  • Kathleen O'Malley

    Administrative Coordinator

    Email: kathleen.omalley@stjude.org

    Kathleen O'Malley spent much of her career managing health care offices or technical companies in New York, New Jersey, and Virginia, utilizing her skills in Business Administration after attending Queens College, CUNY. When her family moved to the Midsouth, she joined them in 2014, beginning her career at St. Jude as an Executive Assistant contractor in the Department of Administration. Soon after, she was hired to work in the Department of Radiation Oncology. In 2015, she returned to Administration as an Executive Assistant to the Scientific Director’s Office. In 2022, she joined the Graduate School as an Administrative Coordinator, assisting the dean, faculty, staff, and students.