Program in Cancer Neuroscience at Stanford

Who we are


Michelle Monje, MD, PhD
Professor of Neurology and Neurologial Sciences and Neuro-Oncology

Michelle Monje, MD, PhD, is a professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences at Stanford University and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. Her research program focuses at the intersection of neuroscience and brain cancer biology with an emphasis on neuron-glial interactions in health and oncological disease. Her lab demonstrated that neuronal activity regulates healthy glial precursor cell proliferation, new oligodendrocyte generation, and adaptive myelination; this plasticity of myelin contributes to healthy cognitive function, while disruption of myelin plasticity contributes to cognitive impairment in disease states like cancer therapy-related cognitive impairment. She discovered that neuronal activity similarly promotes the progression of malignant gliomas, driving glioma growth through both paracrine factors and through electrophysiologically functional neuron-to-glioma synapses. Dr. Monje has led several of her discoveries from basic molecular work to clinical trials. Her brain cancer neuroscience work has been recognized with numerous honors, including an NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, a MacArthur Fellowship and election to the National Academy of Medicine.


Carolyn Bertozzi, PhD
Baker Family Director of Stanford ChEM-H, Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences and Professor, by courtesy, of Chemical and Systems Biology and of Radiology

Carolyn Bertozzi is the Baker Family Director of Sarafan Stanford ChEM-H and the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Humanities and Sciences in the Department of Chemistry at Stanford University. She is also an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Her research focuses on profiling changes in cell surface glycosylation associated with cancer, inflammation and infection, and exploiting this information for development of diagnostic and therapeutic approaches, most recently in the area of immuno-oncology. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Bertozzi was awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. She also has been awarded the Lemelson-MIT Prize, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, the Chemistry for the Future Solvay Prize, among many others.

Melissa L. Bondy, PhD
Professor and Chair of Epidemiology and Population Health
Associate Direcotr, Population Sciences at the Stanford Cancer Institute

Dr. Melissa Bondy is the inaugural chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health and the Associate Director for Population Sciences at the Stanford Cancer Institute. Before joining Stanford, she was Associate Director of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences and section chair of Epidemiology and Population Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine. Her research focus is in genetic and molecular epidemiology and is at the forefront of developing innovative ways to assess the roles of heredity and genetic susceptibility in the etiology of cancer and outcomes, primarily brain and breast cancer. Currently, she leads the largest family study of glioma patients, as well as a study of molecular predictors of outcome for glioma patients. She has a strong interest in health disparities and has a current study to investigate the ethnic differences in glioma. She has been working on studying the health effects of exposure to Hurricane Harvey. She serves on the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Board of Scientific Advisors, where she provides direct counsel to the Director of the NCI, and is a member of the External Advisory Board for several NCI-designated cancer centers. In 2018, she received the Visiting Scholar Award from the NCI Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics.

Vivek P. Buch, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery  

Dr. Buch is a neurosurgeon with fellowship training in epilepsy, functional, and minimally invasive neurosurgery. He is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Neurosurgery of Stanford University School of Medicine.

Dr. Buch focuses his expertise on the open and minimally invasive treatment of epilepsy, brain disorders, spinal injury and disease, and other conditions. For each patient, he develops a personalized care plan that is designed to be both comprehensive and compassionate.

Cynthia Campen, MD, MS
Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology & Neurological Sciences

Dr. Cynthia Campen is a Clinical Associate Professor in Neurology at Stanford University. She received her B.S. from University of California, Davis, and her M.D. from University of California, San Francisco, where she completed her residency in pediatrics. She then left the Bay Area briefly for her child neurology residency at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. She returned to California for her fellowship in pediatric neuro-oncology at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, during which she also completed a master’s degree in epidemiology. Dr. Campen now attends in child neurology and pediatric neuro-oncology and has a clinical interest in neurofibromatosis type I. She is also the Program Director for Child Neurology Residency.

Anna Geraghty, PhD
Instructor, Neurology & Neurological Sciences

Anna Geraghty received her doctorate degree in the Integrative Biology department at UC Berkeley. She specialized in neuroendocrinology, investigating how chronic stress inhibited hypothalamic neural circuit regulation of reproduction in rodents using a combination of molecular and behavioral techniques. She completed a postdoc in the Neurology department at Stanford under Dr. Michelle Monje-Deisseroth working to understand the long-term neurological effects of chemotherapy treatment and its influences on mechanisms of adaptive myelination and cognition. Currently her research focuses on developing CAR T-cell therapies for pediatric brain tumors and researching the repercussions of CAR T-cell induced neuroinflammation after therapy on the brain microenvironment and cognition.

Erin Gibson, PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences (Sleep Medicine)

Erin Gibson received her Bachelors of Science from Duke University in 2005 majoring in Psychology/Neuroscience. She received her PhD under Dr. Lance Kriegsfeld at the University of California, Berkeley in 2011 studying the role of the circadian system in homeostatic processes, including neuroendocrine, immune and neural stem cell regulation. As a postdoctoral scholar in the lab of Dr. Michelle Monje at Stanford University, Dr. Gibson studied the effect of in vivo neuronal activity on myelin microstructure in health and disease such as the dysmyelinating disorder associated with chemotherapy-related cognitive impairment. Her lab focuses on understanding how glial cells modulate neural circuits throughout development and in diseases such as autism, multiple sclerosis, and chemotherapy-related cognitive impairment. The Gibson lab aims to discern how the circadian system influences glial form and function throughout life.

Michael Lim, MD
Professor and Chair of Neurosurgery
Professor, by courtesy, of Oncology and of Otolaryngology and of Radiation Oncology

Dr. Michael Lim is a Professor and Chair of Neurosurgery at Stanford University. Dr. Lim obtained his MD from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He then completed his residency in Neurosurgery at Stanford University Hospital and went on to become a Professor of Neurosurgery, Oncology and Radiation Oncology and built the Brain Tumor Immunotherapy Program at Johns Hopkins before returning to Stanford. Dr. Lim’s surgical interest is in both benign and malignant brain tumors, with a particular interest in gliomas, meningioma, pituitary tumors and skull base tumors. He has extensive experience in new and innovative neurosurgical techniques including image guided surgery, microsurgery, minimally invasive procedures and endoscopic surgery.

Dr. Lim’s primary research interest is developing immune-based therapies against brain tumors. His research laboratory is focused on understanding the mechanisms of immune evasion by primary brain tumors. Findings from his laboratory are directed towards translation to novel therapies against brain tumors. In addition to running a laboratory, he also directs the immunotherapy clinical trials program at Stanford. He currently serves as the principal investigator of several large brain tumor immunotherapy clinical trials based on findings from his laboratory.

Robert C. Malenka, MD, PhD
Nancy Friend Pritzker Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Dr. Robert C. Malenka is the Pritzker Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Director of the Nancy Pritzker Laboratory and Deputy Director of the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute. After graduating from Harvard College he received an M.D. and a Ph.D. in neuroscience in 1983 from Stanford University School of Medicine. Over the ensuing 6 years he completed residency training in psychiatry at Stanford and 4 years of postdoctoral research at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). In 1989, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Physiology at UCSF, at which he reached the rank of Full Professor in 1996. In addition to running an active research program at UCSF he was the Director of the Center for the Neurobiology of Addiction and Associate Director of the Center for Neurobiology and Psychiatry. He returned to the Stanford University School of Medicine in 1999.

Paul Mischel, MD
Professor of Pathology
Professor and Vice Chair for Research, Department of Pathology
Institute Scholar, ChEM-H, Stanford University

After receiving my B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania (1984) and M.D. from Cornell University Medical College (1991), I did residency training in Anatomic and Neuropathology at UCLA, and post-doctoral research training in the laboratory of HHMI Investigator Dr. Louis F. Reichardt at UCSF. I started my own lab at UCLA in 1998, rising up through Full Professor, where I held the Latta Endowed Chair. In 2012, I was recruited to the Ludwig Institute and UCSD as a Distinguished Professor of Pathology. In 2021, I joined Stanford University School of Medicine, where I currently served as a Professor and Vice Chair of Research for the Department of Pathology and Institute Scholar of ChEM-H. I was elected into the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI) and the American Association of Physicians (AAP), and served as ASCI President in 2010/11, and was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Claudia K Petritsch, PhD
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery

Dr. Petritsch is an Associate Professor in Research at the Department of Neurosurgery, affiliated faculty member at the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute and the Stanford Bio-X program. She directs the Petritsch research team and the fresh tissue collection core in Neurosurgery.

Claudia earned her PhD (Dr. rer.nat) at the Institute for Molecular Pathology (IMP) in Vienna, where she trained in cancer signaling, and conducted postdoctoral studies on neural stem cells and asymmetric cell division in the Lab of Dr. Yuh Nung Jan at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and University of San Francisco, California. After two years as an instructor and head of a research team in Munich, Germany, Dr. Petritsch returned to UCSF to conduct research in oligodendrocyte progenitor cells, angiogenesis and immune regulation in glioma. Dr. Petritsch is an expert in brain stem and progenitor and glioma biology, in vitro and in vivo model development and tumor-immune interactions. Her research identified conserved mechanisms of cell fate determination in mammalian brain progenitors and led to a paradigm shift in understanding how brain progenitor cells self-renew and differentiate. She guided the generation and distribution of several immune competent mouse models for studies of the glioma immune microenvironment.

Julien Sage, PhD
Elaine and John Chambers Professor of Pediatric Cancer and Professor of Genetics

Dr. Sage grew up in France. He went to college at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris and did his PhD at the University of Nice and post-doctoral training at MIT. He started his own research group at Stanford in 2004. He is currently the Elaine and John Chambers Professor in Pediatric Cancer and a Professor of Genetics at Stanford University where he serves as the co-Director of the Cancer Biology PhD program For his work on cancer genetics, he has been awarded a Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation Scholar Award, a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Scholar Award, and an R35 Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Sage has been working on the RB tumor suppressor pathway and how inactivation of RB promotes tumorigenesis in children and adult patients. Dr. Sage became initially interested in small cell lung cancer because of the nearly ubiquitous loss of RB in this cancer type and the intriguing relationship in mice and humans between loss of RB and the growth of neuroendocrine lesions. In the past few years, the Sage lab has developed pre-clinical models for small cell lung cancer and has used these models to investigate signaling pathways driving the growth of this cancer type and to identify novel therapeutic targets in this recalcitrant cancer. A major focus of the Sage lab is to investigate how neuronal differentiation may promote the migration of SCLC cells, their metastasis, and their interactions with other cells in the tumor microenvironment, including in the brain.

Ivan Soltesz PhD
James R. Doty Professor of Neurosurgery and Neurosciences

Ivan Soltesz received his doctorate in Budapest and conducted postdoctoral research at universities at Oxford, London, Stanford and Dallas. He established his laboratory at the University of California, Irvine, in 1995. He became full Professor in 2003, and served as department Chair from 2006 to July 2015. He returned to Stanford in 2015 as the James R. Doty Professor of Neurosurgery and Neurosciences at Stanford University School of Medicine. His major research interest is focused on neuronal microcircuits, network oscillations, cannabinoid signaling and the mechanistic bases of circuit dysfunction in epilepsy.

Kathryn Taylor, PhD
Instructor, Neurology & Neurological Sciences

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 neural microenvironment. In particular, she studies the mechanisms of neurodevelopment and plasticity which are leveraged by glioma cells to advance tumor progression.

Alice Ting, PhD
Professor of Genetics and Biology

Alice Ting is a Professor of Genetics, Biology, and by courtesy, Chemistry at Stanford University. Before joining Stanford in 2016, Alice was Professor of Chemistry at MIT. Alice’s work straddles the interface of chemistry and biology and the molecular technologies she has developed, including enzyme-catalyzed proximity labeling, have been widely adopted in cell biology and neuroscience to probe organelle proteomes and protein interaction networks. She has received the NIH Pioneer Award, the Arthur Cope Scholar Award, and the McKnight Technological Innovations in Neuroscience Award. Alice has been a Chan Zuckerberg Biohub investigator since 2017.    

Hannes Vogel, MD
Professor of Pathology

Hannes Vogel is Professor of Pathology and Pediatrics at Stanford University where he has served as Director of Neuropathology since 2002. His background in medical training also includes board certification in Pediatrics. Dr. Vogel completed a residency in Anatomic Pathology at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, followed by a neuropathology fellowship at Stanford University under Dikran Horoupian. He returned to Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX where he became the Director of Neuropathology at Texas Children’s Hospital before returning to Stanford. His principle interests include mitochondrial diseases, muscle and nerve pathology, brain tumors and the toxic effects of therapy, and forensic neuropathology.