Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Philadelphia, PA, USA
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Operations Center

about this


Operations Center for the Children’s Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) is currently ranked 1st nationally for their Pediatric Cancer Program by U.S. News & World Report. CHOP’s Biobank is home to the CBTTC’s pediatric brain and CNS tumor biorepository; the largest of its kind on earth.

The Brain Cancer Center at CHOP is staffed by one of the largest pediatric neuro-oncology treatment teams in the U.S., and specializes in a personalized medicine approach in the treatment of childhood brain tumors, neurofibromatosis, and associated tumors. By performing a genomic analysis of every brain tumor, the team is able to zero in on new treatment-relevant pathways for identifying biological factors that predict which patients require intensive versus less intense therapy.

The program has an extensive laboratory and clinical research program designed to identify new therapies for medulloblastoma, gliomas, and infant brain tumors. CHOP also develops a number of institutional clinical trials, and participates in cooperative group clinical trials. Researchers at the Center for Childhood Cancer Research are using state-of-the-art genomic, immunotherapeutic, and targeted molecular approaches to develop new therapies and optimize existing therapies to treat pediatric brain and spinal cord tumors.


Shannon Robins | Clinical Research Coordinator

meet the


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Allison Heath, PhD, MS, BS

Allison Heath is the Director of Data Technology and Innovation responsible for providing technical and collaborative leadership to build platforms for data-driven discovery that span across both research and operational efforts. She provides supervision of the data products and platforms team which


Scientific Committee

Mateusz Koptyra, PhD

Dr. Mateusz Koptyra is a Senior Scientist responsible for initiation, coordination and implementation of scientific projects around the Center’s research units. His team identifies the research demands at the clinical level and creates pipelines for projects to test the research proposals at a pre-c


Executive Board

Jena Lilly, MS, CCRC

Jena Lilly is the Director of Operations and Strategic Planning for the Center for Data Driven Discovery in Biomedicine. Currently, she leads a team of over 30 people in support of international pediatric oncology research consortiums which combined, include over 25 pediatric hospitals. She is also


Todd Hankinson, MD

My research interests focus in 3 areas:1. Pediatric Brain Tumors - I assembled and lead the only multi center consortium in North America that focuses on the improvement of therapies for pediatric craniopharyngioma: Advancing Treatment for Pediatric Craniopharyngioma. We use tissue and clinical data


Scientific Committee

Executive Board

Cassie Kline, MD, MAS

Pediatric Neuro-Oncology, Clinical research, Early phase clinical trials in neuro-oncology, Developmental therapeutics


Thomas De Raedt, PhD

Dr. De Raedt researches pediatric high grade glioma development and aims to understand the involvement of crucial pathways. He investigates pathway interaction, and explores ways to develop therapies through analyzing human tumors, performing cellular studies, and developing accurate mouse models. T


Scientific Committee

Kristina A. Cole, MD, PhD

Kristina Cole, MD, PhD is a pediatric oncologist who has dedicated her career to translational and clinical research, combining her expertise in molecular pathology, cancer genomics, and developmental therapeutics to identify novel treatments for children with cancer. The long-term goal of Dr. Cole’


Kristopher Bosse, MD

Despite the use of intensive multimodal therapy for neuroblastoma, approximately one-half of children still die from this disease. Dr. Bosse's laboratory focuses on the development of new immune-based therapies for this embryonal malignancy of the developing nervous system. Through these studies, Dr


Frank M. Balis, MD

As CHOP’s Institutional Principal Investigator for the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), I oversee the Cancer Center’s substantial contributions to the national clinical research efforts of the COG. We are striving to be one of the premier pediatric oncology clinical research program in the COG.My cl


Executive Board

Michael J. Fisher, MD

Michael J. Fisher, MD, is Chief of the Section of Neuro-Oncology, Director of the Neuro-Oncology Fellowship Program and Director of the Neurofibromatosis Program at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He has a special interest in brain tumors and neurofibromatosis.Areas of Expertise: Neurofibromato


Scientific Committee

Mariarita Santi-Vicini, MD, PhD

Pediatric brain tumors, developmental neuropathology, neurometabolic conditions and neuromuscular disease


Executive Board

Jane E. Minturn, MD, PhD

Dr. Jane Minturn's research is focused on developing personalized and targeted therapeutics in tumors of the nervous system and understanding the late effects of our therapies in long-term survivors.As part of our approach to identifying new treatments for children with brain tumors, we are members


Peter Madsen, MD


Sharon J. Diskin, PhD

Dr. Diskin is trained in genomics and computational biology and has a multi-disciplinary research program. Along with her colleagues, she couples integrative computational analyses of large-scale data such as next generation DNA/RNA sequencing, single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping, epigen


Zalman Vaksman, PhD

Zalman is a Bioinformatics Post-Doc working in the Diskin Lab and affiliated with the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics (DBHi) at CHOP. He is leading multiple computational projects in the lab, including a neuroblastoma genome-wide association study (GWAS) and large-scale germline and


Gonzalo Lopez Garcia, PhD

Computational biology, Genetics and Genomics

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Julie Baran


Matthew Hocking, PhD

Behavioral Oncology Research


Lea F. Surrey, MD

Lea F. Surrey, MD, is a pathologist in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.


Operations Center

Jennifer Mason, BA

Jennifer Mason is responsible for the overall project and operations management for multiple projects under the CTU division of the D3b Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, including the Children’s Brain Tumor Network (CBTN), and autopsy projects. She is also responsible for ensuring d


Site Coordinator

Shannon Robins, BS

Shannon Robins is a Clinical Research Coordinator responsible for patient consenting and enrollment, clinical data management and quality assurance for the Children’s Brain Tumor Network (CBTN). She also oversees a sub-cohort project focused on Neurofibromatosis II research and assists with the Liqu

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Alex Flitter, MA


Stephanie Stefankiewicz, BS


Elizabeth Appert, MS


Site Coordinator

Catherine Sullivan, BS

I started working at D3b in November of 2018 and am the Research Technician for CBTN. I am responsible for all specimens collected for CBTN at CHOP and for managing all incoming shipments from external CBTN sites. For all specimens collected, I accession the samples into our BioRepository Core for l


Angela Viaene, MD, PhD

Angela Viaene, MD, PhD, is a pediatric neuropathologist with the Division of Anatomic Pathology at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Payal Jain

Payal Jain, PhD

Payal Jain is a research scientist responsible for basic and translational research to identify targeted therapeutics for treating pediatric low-grade gliomas (PLGG), with a focus on elucidating molecular mechanisms of response to therapy and subsequent resistance. She also seeks to understand the o


Suzanne P. MacFarland, MD

Dr. MacFarland's research focuses on syndromes that predispose to cancer development in children and adolescents. She has initiated several individual and collaborative research projects, working in pediatric polyposis syndromes and Li-Fraumeni syndrome. She is uncovering novel genomic drivers of d


Ammar Naqvi, PhD

Ammar’s research focuses on combining his interdisciplinary expertise in Bioinformatics, RNA biology and cancer. His broad research interests are focused on understanding regulatory and transcriptional mechanisms that contribute to oncogenesis, tumor evolution and progression in pediatric cancers.


Jo Lynne Rokita, PhD

Jo Lynne’s broad research interests lie in identifying and validating novel coding, noncoding, epigenetic, and/or transcriptional mechanisms contributing to oncogenesis, tumor evolution, and progression/relapse of pediatric high-grade diffuse astrocytic tumors. She combines molecular, genomics, and


Bo Zhang, BS

Bo Zhang is a Bioinformatics Engineer responsible for several initiatives, including The Children’s Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium (CBTTC) and Cavatica. His responsibilities include monitoring and assessing  data quality, variant prioritization, data modeling, and statistical analysis. He identifies


Seyed Ali Nabavizadeh, MD

Dr. Ali’s research focuses on multimodality imaging using structural and physiologic MRI imaging with additional PET probes and molecular imaging techniques to better understand the complex nature of brain tumor microenvironment. The ultimate goal of his research is to use imaging and liquid biopsy


Elizabeth Bohj, MD, PhD

Dr. Bhoj's genetics research aims to discover new human disease genes, their mechanisms, and potential targeted therapies.

Shane McCormack

Shana McCormack, MD

Shana McCormack, MD, is an attending physician in the Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes and an assistant professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She cares for children with pediatric endocrine disease. She has a clinical interest in patients

Mai T. Dang

Mai T. Dang, MD, PhD

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Christine Busch

Deanne Taylor

Deanne Taylor, PhD

Deanne Taylor, PhD, is director of bioinformatics in the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. She is also Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics

Marilyn Li

Executive Board

Executive co-Chair

Marilyn Li, MD

Dr. Marilyn Li is responsible for providing clinical application of high-throughput molecular technologies for integrated cancer genomic diagnosis, liquid biopsy for cancer screen, risk stratification and monitoring, characterization of tumorigenesis roles of novel fusions identified during RNA-seq

Valerie Baubet

Valerie Baubet, MD, PhD

Valerie Baubet is a Research Scientist responsible for generating, maintaining and characterizing cell lines from samples of brain tumor tissue. Her research focuses on optimizing cell culture protocols to grow brain tumor stem cells and to develop assays to characterize the established cell lines.P

Madison Hollawell

Madison Hollawell, BS

Madison Hollawell is a Research Technician responsible for developing and maintaining cell lines and animal models derived primarily from brain tumor tissue.  She is involved in research projects pertaining to molecular cell line characterization, pre-clinical tools, and drug development to improve

Luke Patterson

Luke Patterson, BS

Luke Patterson is a Research Technician in the Biospecimen Research Unit responsible for assisting in specimen management of ENT specimen and specimens involving the Chordoma projects. He also helps support the Pre-clinical Laboratory Research Unit.Prior to starting at CHOP in December of 2018, Luke

Namrata Choudhari

Namrata Choudhari, MS

Namrata Choudhari is a Clinical Research Associate responsible for supporting medical diagnostic and pre-clinical research efforts. She also builds pipelines for research testing and mRNA-based modification and cell delivery in the development of novel immunotherapies. Her research is focused primar