The Stanford Neuro-Oncology Program Team

Adult Neuro-Oncologists

Lawrence Recht, MD
Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences
Director, Adult Neuro-Oncology

Dr. Lawrence Recht received his medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. He completed his training as a Resident in Neurology at Columbia Presbyterian, Neurological Institute of New York. His interest in helping people with brain tumors led him to additional training and completion of a Fellowship in Neuro-Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute in New York.

As an attending in Neurology with a specialty in Neuro-Oncology, Dr. Recht moved to the University of Massachusetts Medical School where he spent 19 years caring for patients and working in his research lab to try to find a cure for brain tumor. During this time Dr. Recht became convinced that it was better for patients to find out how and why a brain tumor evolved so that it could be treated earlier rather than directing his efforts toward treating the tumor after it had already caused disability.

In 2004, Dr Recht relocated to Stanford to work on furthering his research on Early Detection of Brain Tumor and to develop an expanded Adult Neuro-Oncology Program. Belief in hope and quality of life drives Dr. Recht and his team's practice of caring for patients and families with brain tumor and neurologic complications of cancer. Clinical studies are also provided and available for patients with specific conditions who are interested in adding experimental treatments to their care.

Efforts in Dr. Recht's research laboratory are directed towards applying early detection strategies to the treatment of brain tumors. In addition, other work in his laboratory is directed at reversing the damaging side effects of treatment-related brain injury.

Seema Nagpal, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology and Neurologial Sciences

Dr. Nagpal earned her medical degree at the University of Pennsylvania, completed Neurology residency at University of California, San Francisco and Neuro-Oncology fellowship at Stanford University. Dr. Nagpal is focused on developing therapy that increases both quantity and quality of life for patients with primary brain tumors. She also has a special interest in neurologic complications of systemic cancer, such as brain and leptomeningeal metastases. Dr. Nagpal’s research efforts include clinical trials in glioma and collaborative projects to identify the genetic under-pinnings of brain metastases.

Chirag Patel, MD, PhD

Dr. Chirag Patel completed MD/PhD training at the MD Anderson/UT-Houston Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and UT-Houston McGovern Medical School, adult neurology residency at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, and postdoctoral and clinical neuro-oncology fellowships at Stanford University School of Medicine. His research focuses on therapeutics and diagnostics in neuro-oncology. First, he studies tumor treating fields (TTFields, a form of alternating electric fields directed at the tumor via electrodes placed on the skin), a new FDA-approved therapy for patients with glioblastoma and malignant pleural mesothelioma. Second, Dr. Patel collaborates with radiochemistry and neuroimaging colleagues to study novel PET radiotracers that may provide additional information to traditional brain MRI scans, to help determine early on whether or not the patient's brain tumor is responding to a given therapy.

Dr. Patel's research has been competitively funded by the NIH NINDS R25 Translational Neuroscience Training Grant, American Medical Association Foundation, Stanford Cancer Institute, American Brain Tumor Association, and Stanford Chemistry, Engineering & Medicine for Human Health. In the neuro-oncology clinic, Dr. Patel sees patients with tumors of the brain and spinal cord and with neurological complications of cancer therapy. Maintaining the patient's quality of life is an important component of his approach to patient care. In addition to providing standard-of-care treatments, Dr. Patel evaluates patients for eligibility in clinical trials.

Reena Thomas, MD, PhD
Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology

Dr. Reena Thomas received her medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, DC and her PhD from the City of Hope Graduate School in Duarte, California. She completed her training as a resident in Neurology as well as her fellowship training in Neuro-Oncology at Stanford University Hospital. Her research background and interests are focused on immune based cancer therapies and chemokine signaling in glioblastoma brain tumors. She has also been involved in advanced imaging studies of glioblastoma. She is the Director of the Adult Neuro Oncology Fellowship at Stanford.

Adult Neuro-Oncology Fellows

Maninder Kaur, MD

Neuro-Oncology Nurses

Gwen Coffey, NP

Gwen received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She completed her Master of Science from the University of California, San Francisco. She is board certified as a Gerontological Nurse Practitioner. Gwen is interested in providing the highest quality of care to all patients.

Megan Gershon, RN
Clinical Nurse Coordinator

Megan Gershon received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Texas Tech University in 2002.  She worked in the Emergency Department at a major trauma center in Fort Worth, Texas for 3 years before taking travel assignments at various hospitals including UCSD and Stanford.  Her interest in neurology led to taking a Nurse Coordinator position within the Movement Disorders team at Stanford in 2009 and the Neuro-Oncology team in 2011.  Megan works to meet the needs of the patient and family by coordinating comprehensive multidisciplinary care.

Justine Pena, RN, MSN
Nurse Coordinator

Justine Pena earned her Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of California, Irvine in Biological Sciences. She then went on to earn her Master of Science Degree in Nursing along with her Registered Nurse Licensure from California State University, Dominguez Hills. Her background includes Neurology, Neurosurgery, GI, and Thoracic specialties while working on an inpatient stepdown unit at the Keck Hospital of University of Southern California for four years. Justine then relocated to Northern California and has joined the Stanford Cancer Center as a Nurse Coordinator for Neuro-Oncology.

Victoria (Vita) Posternak, RN, MS, AOCNS
Nurse Coordinator, CCSB

Victoria (Vita) is a UCSF trained Oncology RN, who received her Master’s degree in Nursing and certification as an Adult-Geriatric Clinical Nurse Specialist with a minor in Genomics and Palliative Care in 2015. Vita received her certification as an Adult Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist in 2016.  Prior to joining the team at Stanford, Vita worked on the inpatient Oncology unit at Good Samaritan Hospital.  In her current role as a Nurse Coordinator at the Stanford Cancer Center South Bay (CCSB),  Vita is dedicated to providing excellent, compassionate, and evidence–based care to Neuro-oncology patients.  Her academic focus is in symptom clusters as they relate to oncology and more specifically pain syndromes in patients with malignant neoplasms.

Anthony Simon, RN, MS, AGACNP- BC, AOCNS
South Bay Cancer Center

Anthony began his nursing career as a registered nurse after earning his Associate Degree from Evergreen Valley College in 2007. He then went on to earn his Bachelor of Science Degree from San Jose State University in 2009.  He continued his education at graduate school and completed his Masters of Science from the University of California, San Francisco as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Oncology.  He remained at University of California, San Francisco for additional education and achieved his certification as an Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner through their specialty programs division. He has current certifications as an Advanced Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist, and is board certified as an Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner.  Prior to coming to Stanford to work as a Nurse Practitioner, Anthony worked at the Veteran’s Affairs Hospital as an outpatient infusion nurse administering chemotherapy.  Anthony strives to provide compassionate evidenced based care with a multidisciplinary team approach.

Neuro-Oncology Clinical Trials

Sophie Bertrand, CCRP
Clinical Research Manager

Sophie Bertrand received her Bachelor of Arts from Rosemont College in Pennsylvania. She has worked on cancer clinical trials at Stanford since 2009 and joined the Neuro-Oncology team in 2012. As a research coordinator, she works with physicians and patients to ensure that trials are run following good clinical practices.

Priya Yerraballa, MBBS
Clinical Research Coordinator

Priya received her Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree from Kurnool Medical College of Dr. NTR University of Health Sciences, India. She has worked on clinical trials at Stanford since 2008. She joined the Neuro-Oncology team at Stanford in 2016. As a research coordinator, she works with physicians and patients to ensure that trials are run following good clinical practices.