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.
Anitha graduated with a Master's degree in Cell & Molecular Biology. She is very passionate about her research. She joined the Monje lab in early 2012 as a Research Assistant and Lab manager. She is involved deeply in DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma) research, studying it's heterogeneity using single cell molecular analyses and in vitro studies. She also plays an important role in the expansion and distribution of DIPG tumor cell lines around the world.
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.
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.
Anna Geraghty, PhD
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.
Katy 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.
Chris graduated from the University of Washington in 2011 with a B.S. in Bioengineering. He is currently a Stanford MSTP student and a member of the Neuroscience graduate program. In the Monje lab, his work is focused on heterogeneity in oligodendrocyte progenitor populations and their responses to cortical neuronal activity. Ultimately he aims to complete his training as a physician-scientist and bring a better understanding of neural development to bear on the host of neurological diseases that continue to elude treatment.
Grant graduated from Indiana University in 2012 with a dual B.S. in Biochemistry and Neuroscience. Currently, he is a Stanford MSTP student in the Neurosciences PhD program. His research focus is on the interactions of microglia, neurons, and glial precursor cell populations. Specifically, he is interested in studying how different phenotypes of microglial subpopulations affect their local environment and neighboring cells, and how these interactions may lend insight into disease states and regeneration strategies.
Cancer Biology Program
Humsa Venkatesh is a third year graduate student in the cancer biology program. She received her B.S. from University of California, Berkeley in Chemical Biology, and has since been working in the realm of cancer research. In the Monje lab, Humsa uses in vitro glioma model systems to study various cellular interactions within the tumor microenvironment. Humsa hopes to elucidate these interaction mechanisms with the aim of identifying new targets for glioma therapeutics.
Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine Program
James is a PhD candidate in Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. He graduated from Stony Brook University in 2013 where he studied Biomedical Engineering. His research is focused on understanding the mechanisms responsible for brain tumor formation. In particular, he studies the cell-intrinsic vs. microenvironmental factors that cause neural stem/progenitor cells to transform into tumor-initiating cells using a mouse model of Neurofibromatosis type I.
Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine Program
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.
Lydia graduated from Stanford with a degree in Biology (neurobiology) and is spending her gap year in lab finishing projects and exploring new questions. She is interested in glioma proliferation and investigating the role neuronal activity plays in the tumor microenvironment. She is also involved in projects characterizing white matter changes as a result from high-dose chemotherapy or seizure activity. Following this gap year, Lydia hopes to attend medical school and become a physician.
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.
Preethi is a Senior at Stanford majoring in Bioengineering. In lab, she is currently researching the mechanisms regulating myelinating precursor cells and how dysregulation of these processes may contribute to malignant transformation in glioma. Outside of lab, Preethi enjoys drawing, painting, and hiking.
Praveen N. Pallegar
Praveen is a sophomore at Stanford majoring in Symbolic Systems with a neuroscience concentration. He is currently investigating the role of neural activity in oligodendrocyte precursor cell proliferation and maturation following cancer treatment. He hopes to continue his love of research by attending an MD/PhD program after he graduates while pursuing his dream of becoming a neurosurgeon. Praveen is also very passionate about music and languages. He loves playing the piano and the violin and can converse in fifteen languages.
Dominique is a senior at Stanford majoring Biology (neurobiology). She is interested in examining the mechanism of DIPG invasion. Outside of lab, she enjoys singing and running. She hopes to attend medical school and become a physician.