My research is focused on tumorigenesis in the developing brain. As a pediatric neurosurgeon I am at the forefront of managing children with brain cancer. My long-term goal is to understand the molecular and cellular events underpinning the development of childhood brain tumors from normal progenitors to full-blown malignancy. This will allow us to develop innovative strategies to halt progression of disease. During my PhD with Austin Smith at University of Cambridge, I developed broad training in Stem Cell biology. I laid the groundwork for isolating and propagating self-renewing neuroepithelial stem (NES) cells from neural tube progenitors located in 5–6-week human hindbrain - the most common site of tumorigenesis in childhood. I was awarded a competitive Wellcome Trust Post-Doctoral Research Training Award (CAD$500k) during neurosurgery residency. This allowed me to complete residency at University of Toronto while doing an in-folded post-doctoral fellowship with Peter Dirks – a world leader in the brain cancer stem cell field. During this fellowship, we developed a unique platform to recapitulate the development of human medulloblastoma using genetically pre-disposed human NES cells. This work, published in Cell Stem Cell, demonstrated my ability to take a research idea and execute it to completion. I developed a strong network of colleagues, collaborators, and mentors in pediatric brain tumor and stem cell research including William Weiss (UCSF) and Michael Taylor (Sickkids). At Indiana University, I will continue to study intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms of tumor progression in the developing brain using genetically engineered mouse models and human NES cells and will be applying for an NIH K award in 2022.
Fellowship - Johns Hopkins University 06/2021
Post-doctoral Fellowship - University of Toronto 06/2020
Ph.D. - University of Cambridge (Gonville & Caius) 06/2012
BM BCh - University of Oxford (New College) 06/2006
Residency - University of London 02/2020