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Brain Tumor Experts and Information for Media

Brain tumors are the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in children and require a collaborative, transdisciplinary approach to increase survival rates. Our clinicians and researchers offer information on the most recent discoveries in childhood brain cancer and updates on treatment for these diseases, including diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), medulloblastoma and high-grade gliomas.

The following brain tumor experts are available to offer information on pediatric brain cancer. To schedule an interview, email

Brain Tumor Experts

  • Suzanne J. Baker, PhD

    Suzanne Baker, PhD, St. Jude Department of Developmental Neurobiology, serves as Director of the Division of Brain Tumor Research, Associate Director of Basic Research, and co-leader of the Neurobiology and Brain Tumor program all within the St. Jude Comprehensive Cancer Center. Baker’s research seeks to understand normal and cancer cell growth in the brain, specifically focusing on childhood high-grade gliomas (HGGs) and diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPGs). .DIPG is a universally fatal type of pediatric brain tumor, making identifying new treatments of the upmost importance. Baker works with our clinical team to incorporate basic research findings into clinical protocols, such as the latest genomic findings.

  • Amar Gajjar, MD

    Amar Gajjar, MD, St. Jude Department of Pediatric Medicine chair and Neuro-Oncology Division director, develops innovative clinical protocols for treating childhood brain tumors, Gajjar’s work focuses on medulloblastoma, primary central nervous system tumors and rhabdoid tumors (ATRT). He also examines what makes a normal brain cell become a tumor cell. This information will help find new therapies to treat high-risk tumors and safely reduce therapy in low-risk patients. He works with investigators in basic science laboratories to develop new brain tumor treatments. His other research interests include neurocognitive rehabilitation strategies to help children maintain reading skills after diagnosis. 

  • Thomas E. Merchant, DO, PhD

    Thomas Merchant, DO, PhD, St. Jude Department of Radiation Oncology chair, focuses on clinical applications for advanced radiation therapy for pediatric brain tumors. He oversees the hospital’s best practices using proton beam therapy. Merchant can offer insight into research associated with pediatric neuro-oncology; he has designed new treatments for pediatric brain tumors and modeled radiation-related central nervous system effects to increase the cure rates for certain types of brain tumors and reduce or eliminate the side effects of radiation therapy.

  • Paul A. Northcott, PhD

    Paul Northcott, PhD, St. Jude Department of Developmental Neurobiology, focuses on solving the molecular and cellular origins of medulloblastoma. Coupling cutting-edge, next-generation sequencing and integrative computational approaches with in vivo functional studies, his laboratory aims to comprehensively understand the genetic, epigenetic and transcriptional landscapes underlying medulloblastoma. Northcott is known for showing that the disease has four molecular groups. He can provide information on how scientific discoveries fuel the development of novel treatment options for patients with medulloblastoma, improving patient outcomes and reducing morbidity associated with this disease.

  • Giles W. Robinson, MD

    Giles Robinson, MD, St. Jude Department of Oncology, is a pediatric neuro-oncologist. He seeks to improve survival rates and reduce treatment-related side effects for children with brain and central nervous system tumors. As a leader in clinical research, Robinson developed and launched and operates the first clinical trial to tailor therapy according to the tumor’s molecular makeup for children with brain cancer. He regularly partners with other researchers to translate the latest scientific findings into new clinical protocols. 

  • Martine F. Roussel, PhD

    Martine Roussel, PhD, St. Jude Department of Tumor Cell Biology, has made landmark discoveries in pediatric medulloblastoma, the most common malignant pediatric brain tumor. Her work in molecular oncology, cell cycle control and translational treatment strategies development has resulted in new therapeutic approaches for medulloblastoma. She identified several of the earliest recognized retroviral oncogenes and worked out their physiological functions in signal transduction, regulation of gene expression, cell cycle dynamics and development. Roussel is an internationally recognized expert and a National Academy of Sciences member who can speak on the importance of understanding the cell cycle and how it relates to human health and disease, as well as her approach to translational brain tumor research.