Michelle Monje, MD, PhD



Michelle Monje, MD, PhD, is a pediatric neuro-oncologist, a professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator at Stanford University. Her research program focuses on DIPG and other diffuse midline gliomas at the intersection of neuroscience, immunology and brain cancer biology. Dr. Monje has led several of her discoveries from basic molecular work to clinical trials. She has been recognized with numerous honors, including an NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, a MacArthur Fellowship and election to the National Academy of Medicine. 

Sameer Agnihotri, MD, PhD

University of Pittsburg

Sameer Agnihotri, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Neurosurgery of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.  Dr. Agnihotri is also the Director of the Brain Tumor Biology and Therapy Lab, University of Pittsburgh.  He leads a laboratory focused on brain tumor biology and therapy including using next-generation sequencing technology to identify and validate driver alterations of various high-grade gliomas with focus on diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma and non-histone mutated receptor tyrosine kinase glioblastoma.


A defining hallmark of DIPG is altered tumor metabolism. The metabolic shift towards aerobic glycolysis with reprogramming of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, regardless of oxygen availability, is a phenomenon known as the Warburg effect. In addition to the Warburg effect, glioblastoma tumor cells also utilize the tricarboxylic acid cycle/oxidative phosphorylation and amino acids in a different capacity than normal tissue. The Agnihotri Laboratory investigates the metabolic dependencies of brain tumors, such as DIPGs, and if they can provide therapeutic vulnerabilities. Dr. Agnihotri’s lab studies how metabolism can alter or support the epigenetic machinery and signal transduction of pediatric brain tumors and also uses genomic and metabolic information to build pre-clinical models for testing novel therapies in close connection with clinical teams to apply the models in the initiation of early phase clinical trials. Dr. Agnihotri is a 2022 recipient of the prestigious Distinguished Scientist Award grant from the Sontag Foundation, which is being applied to further his research on brain tumors.

Suzanne J. Baker, PhD

St. Jude Children’s Research

Suzanne J. Baker, PhD, is the Associate Director for Basic Research and Co-Leader of the Neurobiology and Brain Tumor Program at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Center. She received her PhD degree in Molecular Biology and Human Genetics from The Johns Hopkins University, where she trained with Dr. Bert Vogelstein. After postdoctoral training with Dr. Tom Curran at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology, she joined the faculty at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital where she holds the Endowed Chair in Brain Tumor Research.  


Her research is focused on mechanistic understanding of cancer-associated mutations and connections between development, epigenetics and cancer in diffuse midline gliomas and other pediatric high-grade gliomas.  

Mariella Filbin, MD, PhD


Mariella Filbin, MD, is Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, Research director of Pediatric Neuro-Oncology at the Dana Faber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, and the Co-director of the Brain Tumor Center of Excellence at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital. In addition to her dedicated role as Physician, providing comprehensive care to children with brain and spinal cord tumors, her research focuses on establishing networks of tumor dependencies in pediatric brain tumors with the goal of finding new targeted therapies. Concentrating in particular on high-grade gliomas, including DIPG and malignant embryonal brain tumors, she is interested in the developmental and cellular contexts in which tumorigenic mutations arise and shape the cellular hierarchy of the resulting tumors. Her work has been recognized by the National Institute of Health and other organizations and is making a significant impact in the field of pediatric oncology.

Duane Mitchell, MD, PhD

University of Michigan

Duane A. Mitchell, MD, PhD, is the Phyllis Kottler Friedman Professor  in the Department of Neurosurgery.. He serves as Director of the UF Clinical  Translational Science Institute (CTSI) and Co-Director of the Preston A.  Wells, Jr. Center for Brain Tumor Therapy. He graduated from the Medical  Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD) at Duke University Medical Center  and completed post-graduate training in pathology and neuro-oncology  

Dr. Mitchell leads the comprehensive neuro-oncology program at University of Florida focused on translational brain tumor research. Dr. Mitchell is a leading expert in the development of innovative  immunotherapy treatments for adults and children with malignant brain tumors. He has pioneered  many novel brain tumor immunotherapies that have been translated into first-in-human clinical  trials and multi-center phase 2 studies. His  research has been supported by the NIH, Department of Defense, and numerous private foundations, and he is inventor on over 25 patents for novel cancer therapeutics. 

Sriram Venneti, MD, PhD

University of Michigan

Sriram Venneti, MD, PhD,  is Associate Professor of Pathology and Pediatrics and the Al and Robert Glick Family Research Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Michigan School of Medicine. He serves as the scientific director for the Chad Carr Pediatric Brain Tumor Center at the University of Michigan. Dr. Venneti is a neuropathologist and physician-scientist whose work focuses on understanding the biology of pediatric brain tumors. His laboratory explores the intersection of epigenetics and cancer metabolism for therapeutic development in pediatric brain tumors including ependymomas and diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas. 

Timothy Phoenix, PhD

University of Cincinnati

Tim Phoenix, PhD is an Associate Professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Pharmacy and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. His research program focuses on pediatric brain tumors, including DIPG and other high-grade gliomas, investigating how genetic alterations regulate tumor development, growth, and interactions with the microenvironment. His lab also leverages expertise in developmental biology techniques to generate new tools and resources that can be used to test novel therapeutic strategies to be shared within the research community.