Morgridge Fellows

Natalia Gomez-Ospina, MD, PhD
Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow in Pediatric Translational Medicine (2015-2017)
Clinical Instructor of Pediatrics (Medical Genetics)   
 
Education:
BS, University of Colorado at Boulder, 1999
PhD, Stanford University School of Medicine, 2010
MD, Stanford University School of Medicine, 2011
Internship (Internal Medicine), Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, 2012
Residency (Dermatology), Johns Hopkins Hospital, 2013
Residency (Medical Genetics), Stanford University School of Medicine, 2015
 
Research focus:
Dr. Gomez-Ospina’s research focuses on developing tools for the treatment of genetic diseases. As part of a team trying to improve homologous recombination using genomic editing to modify genes, Dr. Gomez-Ospina is currently interested in lysosomal storage disorders—a group of conditions caused by enzyme deficiencies—with a particular emphasis on those diseases that present in early infancy and result in relentless neurologic deterioration, such as Mucopolysaccharidosis type I. Her goal is to deliver functional enzymes into the patient’s own hematopoietic stem cells using genomic editing to prevent neurologic deterioration. If successful, this process could serve as a treatment platform for several lysosomal storage diseases, such as Gaucher’s disease.
 
Mentors: Matthew Porteus, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Stem Cell Transplantation)

Gregory Enns MB, ChB
Professor of Pediatrics (Medical Genetics)


Jonathan Kort, MD, MBA
Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow (2016 - 2017)
Second-Year Fellow – Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility

Education:
BA, Georgetown University, 2005
MBA, Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business, 2010
MD, Georgetown University, 2010
Internal Medicine Internship, Georgetown University Hospital, 2011
Residency, Stanford University, 2015

Research focus:
Dr. Kort's research focuses on embryo selection for couples undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) using pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS). He aims to characterize the incidence and implications of blastocyst mosaicism, when different cells within the same embryo have a different genetic make-up, and understand when mosaicism is most common and clinically relevant.

Mentors:
Valerie Baker, MD
Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility)

Barry Behr, PhD, HCLD
Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility)


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


Melissa Mavers, MD, PhD
Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow in Pediatric Translational Medicine (2015-2017)
Second Year-Fellow – Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
 
Education:
BS, University of Miami, 2003
MD, PhD, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, 2011
Residency, University of California, Los Angeles, 2014
 
Research focus:
Dr. Mavers focuses on developing strategies for expanding regulatory T cells and invariant natural killer T cells in vivo with enhanced biological function in suppression of graft versus host disease in murine models. Her research also explores the interaction between these two cell populations in this context.
 
Mentor:
Robert Negrin, MD
Professor of Medicine (Blood and Marrow Transplantation)


Laura Prolo, MD, PhD
Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow in Pediatric Translational Medicine (2015-2017)
Fourth-Year Neurosurgery Resident
 
Education:
BA, Washington University in St. Louis, 2002
MD, PhD, Stanford University School of Medicine, 2012
Residency, Stanford Hospital and Clinics, 2012-present
 
Research focus: Dr. Prolo investigates the glyco-protein and lipid composition of pediatric glioma tissue and tests the hypothesis that elevated levels of sialic acid-bearing proteins and lipids enhance pediatric tumor cell migration using a combination of biochemical and molecular techniques along with cellular migration assays and an in vivo orthotopic xenograft mouse model. Communication between neurons and glia is imperative for nervous system development, and deficits in neuronal-glial interactions contribute to an array of devastating pediatric neurological diseases. Sialic acid bearing proteins and lipids form a primary medium of communication for orchestrating these interactions and have been implicated in migration of normal and pediatric brain tumor cells. Her experiments will characterize an important and potentially targetable pathway that may play a pivotal role in the diagnosis, treatment, and understanding of high-grade pediatric brain tumors. Dr. Prolo will begin her pediatric neurosurgery fellowship in 2019.

Mentors:
Gerald Grant, MD, FACS
Division Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery, and Associate Professor of Neurosurgery and, by courtesy, of Neurology
Richard J. Reimer, MD
Associate Professor of Neurology and, by courtesy, of Molecular and Cellular Physiology

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, PediatricsNeonatal-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
  • 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)
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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