Current Monje Lab Members
Michelle Monje, MD, PhD is a Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. Her research program focuses at the intersection of neuroscience and brain cancer biology, with a particular focus on mechanisms and consequences of neuron-glial interactions in health, glial dysfunction in neurological disease and neuron-glial interactions in malignant glioma. Together with these basic studies, her research program has advanced preclinical studies of novel therapeutics for pediatric high-grade gliomas and cancer therapy-related cognitive impairment in order to translate new therapies to the clinic.
Anna Geraghty, PhD
Jared, born and raised in San Francisco, recently graduated from Stanford with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Biophysics. This will be his fourth year in the Monje lab where his work has focused on the molecular mechanisms of neuronal activity mediated glioma initiation using NF1-OPGs as a platform. Currently, he also serves as the Tissue Navigator and aims to pursue a career as a physician-scientist. Outside of the lab he enjoys cycling in the Stanford hills, musical theater, and traveling with friends.
Sara’s experience includes over 20 years of assisting research labs here at Stanford and previously at UCDavis. In the Monje Lab, she is focused on tissue processing/imaging, cell culture, and lab organization. She brings expertise in isolating and culturing primary glia and neurons. She enjoys volunteering her time to charitable organizations, spending time with her family and sewing.
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.
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.
Tara Barron, PhD
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.
Anthony Fernández-Castañeda, PhD
Anthony received a BS in Molecular Biology from the University of California, San Diego. After working as a laboratory research assistant for a few years, he obtained a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Virginia in 2019. His thesis examined how oligodendrocyte progenitor cells contribute to neuroinflammation in models of demyelinating disease. In the Monje lab, Anthony is interested in understanding how astrocytes shape neuron-glioma circuits and drive tumor progression.
Michael B. Keough, MD, PhD
Michael is a PGY-4 resident in Neurosurgery at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. Prior to this, he completed a BSc in Biochemistry and Neuroscience from Memorial University of Newfoundland, and then an MD/PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Calgary. His doctoral thesis focused on elements of the extracellular matrix in demyelinated lesions as a source of inhibition of myelin repair. He is pursuing an enfolded postdoctoral research fellowship in the Monje lab, where he will use novel in vivo live imaging methods to study neuron-glioma interactions.
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.
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.
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.
Cancer Biology Program
Rebecca graduated from Binghamton University in 2019 with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering. Her previous research explored the interactions between cancer and its surrounding immune microenvironment. Rebecca is currently a PhD student in Stanford’s Cancer Biology program, exploring similar questions in the context of pediatric high-grade glioma. Her work in the Monje Lab aims to elucidate the role of microglia in establishing the hyperexcitable neural networks which drive glioma.
Cancer Biology Program
Kiarash graduated from University of California, Berkeley in 2017 with a B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology. Before joining the Cancer Biology program at Stanford, he spent two years studying the neural basis of perception at UC Berkeley. As a Ph.D. student, Kiarash is interested in a systems neuroscience approach to understanding the interaction of tumor cells and their microenvironment in brain cancer. In the Monje lab, he is studying the neuron-glioma interactions at the circuit level to discern how patterns of activity within a neuron-glioma network influences the behavior of the cancer as a whole.
Helena is a rising junior at Stanford studying Human Biology and Art Practice. Her research focuses on the neurodevelopment mechanisms that contribute to pediatric glioma progression. In her free time, Helena loves to draw, read, and explore the outdoors with her family and friends. She enjoys volunteering, teaching, and hopes to help others through art, science, and empathy.
Vilina is a rising junior at Stanford studying neuroscience and cancer biology. Her in vivo drug studies research focuses on the impact of anti-epileptic drugs on glioma growth through reduction of neuronal activity and direct effects on glioma cells. Outside of the lab, Vilina enjoys writing, editing, volunteering, and playing piano.
Emmanuelle Elise Williamson
Emma is a rising sophomore at Stanford majoring in Human Biology and East Asian Studies. Her research focuses on voltage-gated calcium signaling pathways in neural stem progenitor cells (NSPCs) and the potential signaling molecules involved in these pathways. Outside of the lab, she enjoys spending time hiking, reading, and participating in Stanford's Effective Altruism group.