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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 credible information, hands-on expertise and opinion, clinical insight and thoughtful commentary on today’s news and the most recent discoveries of childhood brain cancer and the progress in treatment for these diseases.

Learn more about the types of pediatric brain tumors our experts are exploring, and the treatments provided.

The following brain tumor experts are available to offer information on pediatric brain cancer, including DIPG, medulloblastoma and high-grade gliomas.

To schedule interviews or speak with one of our experts, email media@stjude.org or contact one of our media relations staff.

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Childhood Brain Cancer Experts

  • Suzanne J. Baker, PhD

    Suzanne Baker, PhD, is the Division of Brain Tumor Research director, Comprehensive Cancer Center basic research associate director, Neurobiology and Brain Tumor Program co-leader and Brain Tumor Research endowed chair at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

    The focus of her work is to understand normal and cancerous growth in the brain, with a specific focus on childhood high-grade gliomas (HGGs) and diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPGs). She works with our clinical team to incorporate basic research findings into clinical protocols. Ongoing work is directed toward integrating the latest genomic findings from primary human tumors to develop improved models and implement preclinical testing of selective therapies. Baker can offer insight into current HGG and DIPG research and treatments, as well as overarching trends in St. Jude departmental studies. 

  • Amar Gajjar, MD

    Amar Gajjar, MD, is the Pediatric Medicine Department chair and the Neuro-Oncology Division director. Gajjar focuses on innovative clinical protocols for the treatment of childhood brain tumors, with a focus on medulloblastoma, PNET and rhabdoid tumors (ATRT).

    His current research examines what makes a normal brain cell turn into 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 chemotherapies for brain tumor treatments.

    Gajjar can offer considerable insight on larger research goals in pediatric medicine and clinical protocols associated with brain tumors to increase the efficiency of treatments. He can also provide insight into recent research on neurocognitive rehabilitation strategies to help children maintain reading skills after diagnosis.

  • Young-Goo Han, PhD

    Young-Goo Han, PhD, is an associate member of the Developmental Neurobiology Department and the Brain Tumor Research Division.

    Han’s research interests include brain development, molecular mechanisms of Hedgehog (HH) signaling and the function of primary cilia in medulloblastoma. Han can offer deep research insights into the understanding of HH signaling mechanisms and how they reveal potential therapies for HH-driven cancers. Han can also offer information into how his research laboratory is discovering new therapies to cure medulloblastoma.

  • Thomas E. Merchant, DO, PhD

    Thomas Merchant, DO, PhD, Radiation Oncology chair, focuses on clinical applications for advanced radiation therapy for pediatric brain tumors, including the best use of proton beam therapy.

    Merchant can offer insight into research associated with pediatric neuro-oncology, where he has designed new treatments for pediatric brain tumors and modeled radiation-related central nervous system (CNS) effects to increase the cure rates for the most common brain tumors and reduce or eliminate the side effects of radiation therapy.

  • James I. Morgan, PhD

    James Morgan, PhD, is the scientific director and executive vice president at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. His responsibilities include overseeing basic science programs and releated research efforts.

    Morgan’s research initiatives combine the tools of contemporary molecular biology, genomics and cellular imaging to further identify the genes that play critical roles in causing diseases of the nervous system. This research aims to create novel therapeutic strategies to increase prevention and possible cures for diseases such as brain tumors, epilepsy, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Morgan can also provide information about larger institutional initiatives in multidisciplinary research that help accelerate the pace of discovery, including information about the new advanced research center and the importance of bench-to-bedside studies at St. Jude.

  • Paul A. Northcott, PhD

    Paul Northcott, PhD, is an assistant member of the Developmental Neurobiology Department and the Brain Tumor Research Division.

    His research 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 how medulloblastoma works. Northcott can provide information on how his studies will lead to more effective, less toxic treatment options for patients with medulloblastoma, improving patient outcomes and reducing morbidity associated with this disease.

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