Morgridge Fellows

Coralee Del Valle Mojica, MD, MPH
Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow in Pediatric Translational Medicine (2017-2019)
Second-Year Fellow – Pediatric Infectious Diseases

Education:
BS, University of Puerto Rico, 2007
MPH, Graduate School of Public Health University of Puerto Rico, 2008
MD, Universidad Central del Caribe, 2013
Residency, University of South Florida, 2016

Research focus: Dr. Del Valle Mojica’s research focuses on Adenovirus infection in pediatric solid organ transplantation. Solid organ transplantation (SOT) has provided a survival advantage for children suffering from life threatening diseases that result in organ failure, with almost 50% of recipients being children ≤5 years of age. Transplant recipients are at increased risk of viral complications arising from the immunosuppression needed to prevent rejection of the organ. Acknowledging that the majority of first time infections occur during the first 5 years of life, Dr. Del Valle Mojica’s goal is to study the prevalence and outcomes of these infections and to characterize the host and pathogen risk factors, to build an epidemiological profile of low and high risk groups, to create clinical practice guidelines for early identification, management and risk stratification of pediatric SOT patients, as well as cost effective and appropriate resource utilization. 

Mentors:
Hayley Gans, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Infectious Diseases)

Sharon F. Chen, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Infectious Diseases)


Sara Kreimer, MD
Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow (2016-2018)
Second-Year Fellow – Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

Education:
BA, University of Southern California, 2007
MD, University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, 2011
Residency, Los Angeles County/University of Southern California Medical Center, 2015
Chief Residency, Los Angeles County/University of Southern California Medical Center, 2015

Research focus:
Dr. Kreimer studies high-grade gliomas (HGG), such as pediatric glioblastoma, anaplastic oligodendroglioma, and diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), which are the leading cause of brain tumor-related death in children. Since active neurons in the cancer microenvironment promote the growth of high-grade gliomas, Dr. Kreimer seeks to develop a novel therapy designed to sequester the tumor growth factor neuroligin-3 (NLGN3) within the cancer microenvironment using soluble neurexin-1 (NRXN1), a binding partner for NLGN3, to capitalize on the inherent affinity and specificity of NLGN3-NRXN interactions. In her project, Dr. Kreimer will deliver a super NRXN1—a protein engineered through a technique called directed evolution—that will have a high affinity for NLGN3, and deliver it to immunodeficient mice bearing patient-derived pediatric HGG tumors. She will then measure the tumor growth response. Her goal is to promote secretion of NLGN3 by stimulating premotor cortex neuronal activity. The identification of an effective therapeutic agent to target HGG has the potential to transform the treatment of this devastating disease in children.

Mentor:
Michelle Monje, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Neurology


Rebecca Richards, MD, PhD
Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow in Pediatric Translational Medicine
Second Year Fellow – Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

Education:
BS, Ashland University, 2004
MD, PhD, Oregon Health and Science University, 2013

Pediatric Residency, Seattle Children's Hospital/University of Washington, 2016

Research focus: Immunotherapy is showing great promise in early clinical trials and has become an important area of research for cancer therapy. Pediatric patients with relapsed B cell leukemia, in particular, have responded very well to chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) therapy. CAR-T cell and other types of immunotherapy have the advantage of targeting cancer cells more specifically than traditional chemotherapy, thus potentially limiting short and long term toxicity. Despite the fast pace of clinical success and developments of this therapy, there are still many questions about signaling pathways of CAR-T cells compared to the native T cell receptor (TCR). I am interested in comparing the signaling pathways of these two receptor types to try to optimize CAR-T cell therapy in the future. 

Mentors:
Crystal Mackall, MD, PhD
Professor of Pediatrics (Hematology/Oncology)


Rachel Ruiz, MD
Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow in Pediatric Translational Medicine
Second Year Fellow – Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition

Education:
BA, Dartmouth College, 2007
MD, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, 2013
Residency, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, 2016

Research focus: Thromboelastography (TEG) is a global coagulation assay which measures many different aspects of clot formation simultaneously. Studies in adult liver transplantation show a decreased blood product utilization using a TEG-based transfusion protocol compared to standard coagulation testing, while maintaining similar clinical outcomes. To date TEG-based protocols have not been systematically evaluated in children undergoing liver transplantation, although this has been adopted by many pediatric centers, including LPCH since 2014. As LPCH-Stanford is the largest US pediatric liver transplantation center, we are in the unique position to study the impacts of such protocols. This project aims to 1) Perform a retrospective analysis of blood product administration before and after the initiation of TEG in pediatric liver transplant recipients at LPCH, 2) Implement a proposed blood product transfusion guideline using TEG in our pre-transplant, intraoperative, and post-transplant pediatric liver transplant recipients, and 3) Prospectively analyze the impact of our TEG protocol on time to patient outcomes within the first month post-transplant. Overall, we hypothesize that use of the TEG protocol will demonstrate decreased blood product administration without an increase in adverse events.

Mentors:
Dr. Michael Jeng
Professor – Med Center Line, Pediatrics- Hematology; Interim Division Chief, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

Dr. Jennifer Burgis
Clinical Assistant Professor, Pediatrics (Gastroenterology)

Dr. Mihaela Damian
Clinical Assistant Professor, Pediatrics (Critical Care)

Dr. Julianne Mendoza
Assistant Professor, Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine


Candice Sheldon, MD
Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow (2016 - 2018)
Second-Year Fellow – Pediatric Nephrology

Education:
ScB, Brown University, 2007
MD, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, 2011
Residency, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, 2014
Chief Residency, University of Connecticut School of Medicine. Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, 2015

Research focus:
Dr. Sheldon’s research interests include medical technology and chronic kidney disease (CKD). The structural underpinning of skeletal fragility in patients with CKD is not well understood, and there is a three-fold increased risk of fracture in childhood CKD compared to the general population. Current CT scanners do not have the resolution that is needed to better understand the structure of bone; however, high-resolution periphery quantitative CT scanners (HR-pQCT) do. HR-pQCT allows for a higher level of analysis to be completed on bone microarchitecture and density. Dr. Sheldon’s project will use HR-pQCT to compare children with CKD to children without CKD to learn more about how the bone structure of children with CKD is different from that of healthy children.

Mentor:
Mary B. Leonard, MD, MSCE
Arline and Pete Harman Professor and Chair, Department of Pediatrics; Adalyn Jay Physician-In-Chief, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford, and Director, Stanford Child Health Research Institute


Derek Yecies, MD
Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow (2016 - 2018)
Fourth-Year Fellow – Neurosurgery Resident

Education:
AB, Princeton University, 2008
MD, Boston University School of Medicine, 2013
Residency, Stanford Hospital and Clinics, 2013-present

Research focus:
Dr. Yecies’ research focuses on developing novel optical imaging techniques to allow for the safer and more complete resection of pediatric brain tumors, the most common solid tumor of childhood. The bedrock of treatment for both benign and malignant pediatric brain tumors is maximal safe resection of the tumor, with a total removal being ideal.  However, maximal safe resection is often limited by an inability to differentiate tumor from underlying normal tissue and a lack of surgical tools fine enough to remove the tumor from essential regions of the brain. Dr. Yecies’ research utilizes a novel optical imaging technique known as MOZART, which measures the diffraction spectrum of a coherent light beam off of spectral contrast agents, such as gold nanoparticles. In addition to generating gold nanoparticles that are bioavailable and have spectral characteristics optimized for the MOZART system, Dr. Yecies will develop antibody-conjugated nanoparticles targeted to surface markers of medulloblastoma, a fast-growing, high-grade tumor of the lower, rear section of the brain. His research will investigate the use of this imaging modality in mouse models of medulloblastoma. This work will hopefully demonstrate the ability to identify tumors down to the single-cell level intraoperatively and eventually lead to the safer and more complete resection of brain tumors in children.

Mentors:
Gerald Grant, MD, FACS
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery and, by courtesy, of Neurology

Adam de la Zerda, PhD
Assistant Professor of Structural Biology and, by courtesy, of Electrical Engineering

Past Holders

  • Alexandra Abrams, MD
    Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow in Pediatric Translational Medicine (2012-2013)
    Currently: Pediatrician, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford
  • Danielle Barnes, MD
    Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow in Pediatric Translational Medicine (2013 – 2016)
    CurrentlyPediatric Gastroenterologist, Naval Medical Center, San Diego
  • Crystal Botham, PhD
    Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow in Pediatric Translational Medicine (2009-2011)
    Currently: Academic Research Program Officer, Stanford University
  • Christina Seng Chao, MD, PhD
    Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow in Pediatric Translational Medicine (2013-2015)
    First-Year Fellow – Endocrinology & Diabetes
  • Tabitha Cooney, MD
    Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow in Pediatric Translational Medicine (2014 - 2016)
    Currently: Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist, Oakland CA
  • Edward Esplin, MD, PhD
    Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow in Pediatric Translational Medicine (2013-2014)
    First-Year Fellow – Medical Genetics
  • Janene Fuerch, MD
    Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow in Pediatric Translational Medicine (2014 - 2016)
    Currently: Clinical Instructor, Pediatrics – Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine
  • Yaël Gernez, MD, PhD
    Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow in Pediatric Translational Medicine (2008-2010)
    Currently: Resident Physician, Internal Medicine, Alameda County Hospital
  • Natalia Gomez-Ospina, MD, PhD
    Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow in Pediatric Translational Medicine (2015-2017)
    Clinical Instructor of Pediatrics (Medical Genetics) 
  • Joseph Hernandez, MD, PhD
    Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow in Pediatric Translational Medicine (2011-2013)
    Currently: Clinical Instructor, Pediatrics – Immunology and Allergy
  • Marisa Holubar, MD, PhD
    Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow in Pediatric Translational Medicine (2012-2013)
    Currently: Pediatric Internist, Infectious Disease, Providence, RI
  • Dylan Kann, MD
    Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow in Pediatric Translational Medicine (2015-2016)
    Currently: Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Santa Clara
  • Megumi Itoh, MD
    Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow in Pediatric Translational Medicine (2013-2015)
  • Jonathan Kort, MD, MBA
    Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow (2016 - 2017)
    Second-Year Fellow – Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility
  • Rajiv B. Kumar, MD
    Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow in Pediatric Translational Medicine (2012-2013)
    Currently: Clinical Assistant Professor, Pediatrics – Endocrinology and Diabetes
  • Christin Kuo, MD
    Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow in Pediatric Translational Medicine (2009-2011)
    Currently: Instructor, Pediatrics – Pulmonary Medicine
  • Jonathan Nizar, MD
    Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow in Pediatric Translational Medicine (2013-2015)
  • Sarah Osmundson, MD
    Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow in Pediatric Translational Medicine (2012-2014)
    Second-Year Fellow – Maternal Fetal Medicine
  • Melissa Mavers, MD, PhD
    Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow in Pediatric Translational Medicine (2015-2017)
    Currently: Instructor in Pediatrics - Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Sergiu Pasca, PhD
    Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow in Pediatric Translational Medicine (2010-2012)
    Currently: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Neurobiology
  • Robert Payne, MD
    Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow in Pediatric Translational Medicine (2011-2012)
    Currently: Pediatric Urologist, Stanford, CA
  • Laura Prolo, MD, PhD
    Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow in Pediatric Translational Medicine (2015-2017)
    Currently: Resident in Neurosurgery 
  • Kareem Shehab, MD
    Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow in Pediatric Translational Medicine (2011-2012)
    Currently: Assistant Professor, Infectious Diseases, University of Arizona College of Medicine
  • Hidetoshi Taniguchi, MD, PhD
    Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow in Pediatric Translational Medicine (2009-2011)
    Currently: Assistant Professor, Pediatrics, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine
  • Lucina Uddin, PhD
    Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow in Pediatric Translational Medicine (2008-2009)
    Currently: Instructor, Psychiatry & Behavioral Science – Child and Adolescent Psychiatry