Current Monje Lab Members
Michelle Monje, MD, PhD
Michelle Monje, MD, PhD joined the faculty at Stanford University in 2011 as an Assistant Professor of Neurology and Neuro-Oncology. Following her undergraduate degree in biology at Vassar College, Dr. Monje received her MD and PhD in Neuroscience from Stanford University. She then completed neurology residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School program. She subsequently returned to Stanford for a clinical fellowship in pediatric neuro-oncology and a postdoctoral fellowship. The scope of her research program encompasses the molecular determinants of neural precursor cell fate, neuronal-glial interactions, and the role of neural precursor cells in oncogenesis and repair mechanisms. As a practicing neurologist and neuro-oncologist, Dr Monje is dedicated to understanding the neurodevelopmental origins of pediatric brain tumors and the neurological consequences of cancer treatment.
With a spirit of inquiry, Pam found her way back to science after receiving a BA in Rhetoric from UC Berkeley and graduate work in film studies at the University of Chicago. She has been a neuroscience research assistant at Stanford since 2010 working on a variety of in vivo projects. Currently she focuses on colony management, behavior, and translational research on pediatric brain tumors.
Lijun’s research experience includes 15 years of being a research associate at Indiana University Cancer Center. She has a Master’s Degree in Biotechnology. In the Monje Lab, Lijun focuses on quantitative microscopy, including electron microscopy (EM), as well as cell culture work. Since her move to the west coast, Lijun enjoys exploring the scenic wonders of the Bay Area during frequent road trips with her family.
Marlene Arzt, MD
Marlene is a Neurology resident at the University Hospital in Heidelberg, Germany. She received her MD from the University of Heidelberg in 2014 and has spent the last years working with Neuro-Oncology patients at the Heidelberg University Hospital and NCT (National Center for Tumor Diseases) of Heidelberg.
After spending two years (2010-2012) at the Max Planck Florida Institute to study neuronal networks in somatosensory cortex, her current work in the Monje-Lab focuses on neuron-glioma cell interaction and its role in driving tumor proliferation in glioma.
After completing a BS in Neuroscience and Psychology from Trinity University, Tara received a PhD in Neuroscience from UT Health San Antonio in 2019. Her graduate dissertation examined electrophysiological interactions between neurons and oligodendrocytes. In the Monje lab, she is using patch clamp electrophysiology to study the functional expression of receptors and channels in glioma cells and the roles they play in neuron-glioma interactions leading to glioma growth.
Anna Geraghty, PhD
Erin Gibson, PhD
After receiving her undergraduate degree in neuroscience from Duke University, Erin obtained her PhD in Psychology-Neuroscience from the University of California, Berkeley in 2011. Her current research focuses on the role of neuronal activity in the maturation of neural circuits during development. Specifically, her research investigates the effect of neural activity on the proliferation of oligodendrocyte precursor cells and their subsequent differentiation into functional oligodendrocytes and myelin. Ultimately, the project aims to understand the underlying interactions between neuronal activity and glial cell maturation in order to provide insight into possible mechanisms and treatments for the deleterious side effects of cancer treatment on brain physiology and function.
Juliet Knowles, MD, PhD
Juliet is a PGY5 Pediatric Neurology resident at Stanford Children's Hospital. She completed her MD and PhD training in the laboratory of Dr. Frank Longo at Stanford, and she looks forward to a fellowship in Epilepsy at Stanford after residency. Currently, Juliet is using optogenetics and other methods to study the effects of seizures upon myelin plasticity, in collaboration with Dr. John Huguenard's lab.
Yuan Pan, PhD
After graduating from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology with a B.S. in Biochemistry, Yuan studied membrane protein trafficking in the retina as a PhD student at University of Iowa. She started her career as a postdoc in David Gutmann’s lab to investigate how immune cells shape the microenvironment that drive glioma growth. In the Monje lab, Yuan continues exploring her research interests in glioma microenvironment. Specifically, she will determine the role of neuronal cells on the pathogenesis of pediatric low-grade gliomas, using mouse models of Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1).
Minhui Su, PhD
Minhui studied Biochemistry in the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. She received her PhD from the Molecular Biology Program – International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) at the Georg August University Göttingen, Germany. She is currently investigating voltage-sensitive mechanisms of glioma growth. Glioma progression is dependent on neuronal activity via growth factors and integration into neural circuits. Minhui wants to understand how membrane depolarization regulates glioma growth in the tumor microenvironment.
Kathryn Taylor, PhD
After graduating from the University of Portsmouth with a BSc in Biomedical Science, Katy started her career in cancer research by investigating kinase inhibition in rhabdomyosarcomas. Katy obtained her PhD from the Institute of Cancer Research/University of London in 2016, where she studied translational genomics of diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas. Her current research within the Monje Lab focuses on the interaction between pediatric gliomas and their microenvironment. In particular, she studies the neurodevelopmental mechanisms which are leveraged by glioma cells to advance their own progression.
Humsa Venkatesh, PhD
Humsa Venkatesh is a postdoctoral researcher focused on understanding the neuroscience of cancers. She received her B.S. from the University of California, Berkeley in Chemical Biology and her Ph.D. from Stanford University in Cancer Biology. Her postdocotral research, co-mentored with Dr. Robert Malenka, uses novel neuroscience techniques applied to gliomas to interrogate the critical role of neurons in the tumor microenvironment. Her work has recently demonstrated that malignant tumor networks electrically integrate into neural circuitry to promote their own growth. She hopes to apply these novel findings to other brain malignancies with the aim of further identifying new targets for cancer therapeutics.
Belgin Yalcin, PhD
Belgin received her PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2016, after completing an undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics at Istanbul Technical University in 2011. In the Monje lab, her research focuses on understanding myelin plasticity of the brain. Specifically, she is investigating the basis of heterogeneity in the response of myelin-forming cells to neuronal activity.
MSTP and Stem Cell Biology PhD student
Surya graduated from the University of Michigan in 2013 with a B.S. in Cellular & Molecular Biology and Pure Mathematics. He is an MSTP student intending to join the Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine program. His research will study epigenetic state transitions in oligodendrocyte differentiation with the intent to gain insight towards the development of pediatric gliomas. He hopes to build knowledge in the basic developmental biology of glial cells as a first step towards better understanding pediatric brain tumors and developing targeted therapies.
Shawn M. Gillespie
Cancer Biology Program
Shawn graduated from SUNY Oneonta in 2009 with a B.S. in human biology and anthropology. Before attending Stanford, he spent several years in Boston studying chromatin regulation in cancer. As a PhD student in the Cancer Biology program, Shawn is interested in better understanding how cancer cells interact with one another and with normal cells of the microenvironment. In the Monje lab, he is focused on elucidating mechanisms mediating neural regulation of pediatric high-grade glioma pathophysiology.
Razina graduated from Amherst College in 2014 with a BA in Neuroscience. Before starting medical school at Stanford, she spent two years conducting research at Massachusetts General Hospital. In the Monje lab, Razina studies pediatric high-grade glioma invasion that is mediated by neural activity, with a strong interest in the therapeutic targets that will arise from a better understanding of this process. She hopes to pursue Child Neurology and continue research in the field.
Eleanor is a Junior studying biology and art practice. She is currently investigating the impact of seizures on myelination. She hopes to pursue medicine and research in the future.
Michael is a rising junior at Stanford studying bioengineering. His research focuses on specific epigenetic mechanisms that contribute to the development of DIPG. In his spare time, Michael enjoys playing soccer and keeping up avidly with the San Jose Sharks hockey team. One day he hopes to become a physician-scientist and see the Sharks hoist the Stanley Cup.