Stanford Neuro-Immuno-Oncology Program Fellowship
The Stanford Department of Neurology & Neurological Sciences in collaboration with the Stanford Center for Cancer Cell Therapy offers a highly specialized Neuro-Immuno-Oncology (NIO) fellowship program. Neuro-immuno-oncology is an emerging subspecialty representing a promising therapeutic avenue for treating patients with cancers of the central nervous system (CNS). The goal of the one-year clinical NIO fellowship is to gain expertise in using immunotherapy to treat patients with brain and spinal cord tumors and to better understand and manage the neurological complications of immunotherapies. Fellows round on admitted patients receiving CAR-T therapy for CNS tumors and participate in outpatient clinic visits as well, learning the neuro-critical care and neuro-immuno-oncology skillsets that are needed to manage robust immunotherapy-induced inflammation in delicate CNS structures. At the completion of the program, each fellow will have developed the necessary clinical, research, scholarly, and teaching skills to launch a successful career and become a future leader in the field of neuro-immuno-oncology.
Eligibility for Fellowship
Candidates must be board-certified or board-eligible in child or adult neurology and have completed an adult or pediatric neurology residency. Completion of a neuro-oncology fellowship is ideal but not required. We will also consider applicants who have completed training in other specialties on a case-by-case basis. Candidates must also have a license to practice in the state of California as well as a DEA license by the start date of the fellowship. Training must have occurred in a Canadian or US institution.
Applications for the July 2024 to June 2025 Neuro-Immuno-Oncology Fellowship position will be accepted from September 1, 2023 to April 1, 2024. To apply, please send your CV and personal statement to Barbara Beebe, Program Manager. Interviews will be held from January through April 2024.
The Neuro-Immuno-Oncology fellowship schedule is designed to enable fellows to gain expertise in treating patients with immunotherapies with a specific focus on the complex management of CAR T-cell therapy for the treatment of brain and spinal cord cancers and neurological complications of immunotherapies.
Fellow rotations span pediatric and adult patient populations in inpatient and outpatient settings at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and Stanford Healthcare. Engaging with patients before, during, and after treatment, fellows acquire the knowledge to care for patients receiving immunotherapies such as CAR T cell therapy for the treatment of cancers of the central nervous system (CNS) and other immunologically-driven neurological disorders. Many of the clinical rotations will focus on taking care of pediatric and adult patients with CNS malignancies who are receiving immunotherapies on clinical trials. Other rotations will provide fellows the opportunity to learn how to manage the neurological complications of non-central nervous system cancers and other neurological disorders.
As part of their rotations, fellows are learners and contributors to a set of innovative investigator-initiated trials advancing the clinical application and scientific understanding of immuno-oncological therapies for CNS malignancies. Fellows also train with clinical teams caring for patients being treated with FDA-approved immunotherapies for non-CNS malignancies and other neurological disorders. In all patient care cases, rotations include opportunities to learn from multi-disciplinary teams, including those with expertise in neurology, oncology, neuro-oncology, neurocritical care, neurosurgery, neurohospitalist medicine, neuroimmunology, and psycho-oncology. All core clinical rotations are longitudinally complemented by time spent on literature immersion and scholarly writing. Given the breadth and depth of opportunity in clinical rotations, each fellow sets a unique path for training and learning that is based on individual interests, patient care needs, and clinical treatment experiences.
Education, Quality Improvement, & Research
Supplementing the clinical experience, our fellows participate in weekly neuro-oncology didactics, neurology grand rounds, and pediatric neuro-onc tumor board meetings, as well as monthly neuro-immuno-oncology didactics. In addition, there are a variety of excellent elective meetings in which neuro-immuno-oncology fellows are encouraged to participate. These include the pediatric and adult neuro-oncology team meetings, adult neuro-oncology tumor board, pediatric oncology tumor board, lab meetings for the Monje Lab and Cancer Cell Therapy, Pediatric Oncology Journal Club, Stanford Brain Tumor Research series, Neuroscience Research Day, and Annual Brain Tumor Research Symposium. Fellows generally have protected time to participate in university-wide leadership and education training courses such as the Clinical Effectiveness and Leadership Training program (CELT), the Realizing Improvement through Team Empowerment (RITE) program, and/or the Stanford Health Professions Education and Scholarship Program Seminars. Fellows have many opportunities to participate in clinical research and may pursue training in research through programs such as the Stanford Intensive Course in Clinical Research (ICCR).
Department of Neurology
Kun-Wei Song, MD
NIO Fellowship, July 2023
Dr. Song received her MD from Duke University School of Medicine and completed neurology residency at Massachusetts General/Brigham and Women’s Hospital. During her neurology training, Dr. Song became interested in treating patients with brain tumors and completed a Neuro-Oncology Fellowship at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Massachusetts General Hospital. She joined Stanford in 2022 as a Neuro-Immuno-Oncology Fellow to pursue her interest in novel cellular immunology therapies for the treatment of CNS tumors and the management of neurologic complications of immuno-oncologic treatments. Dr. Song hopes to continue bringing novel immunotherapies to patients with brain tumors through clinical trials as well as academic research.
Department of Neurology
Jasia Mahdi, MD
NIO Fellowship, June 2022
Dr. Jasia Mahdi is an Instructor in Neurology at Stanford University. She received her B.S. in Biochemistry and B.A. in History from Southern Methodist University, and she then received her M.D. from Vanderbilt University. She completed her child neurology residency at St. Louis Children’s Hospital at Washington University. While in residency, she developed an interest in the neurologic complications that can arise in patients with malignancies, which served as an impetus for her to pursue a pediatric neuro-oncology fellowship. She thus came to Stanford where she was a Beverly and Bernard Wolfe Fellow in Pediatric Neuro-Oncology. During that fellowship she became interested in the role of immunotherapy in the treatment of central nervous system tumors and the neurologic sequelae of CAR-T cell therapy. Her experiences taking care of patients on a clinical trial utilizing CAR-T cell therapy for the treatment of diffuse midline gliomas prompted her to complete a second fellowship at Stanford in pediatric neuro-immuno-oncology to expand further her understanding of immune-based therapies. She now attends on the pediatric and adult neuro-immuno-oncology services, where her primary clinical practice focuses on treating patients with brain and spine tumors with immune-based therapies, and also the child neurology service.
In her spare time, Dr. Mahdi enjoys reading literature, writing narrative non-fiction and short stories, attending concerts, hiking, and partaking in yoga.
NIO Fellowship, June 2022
Department of Neurology
Jasia Mahdi, MD
"I would highly recommend the Stanford Neuro-Immuno-Oncology fellowship to any neurologist or neuro-oncologist who is interested in learning more about using immunotherapies for the treatment of tumors of the central nervous system (CNS). Immunotherapies are emerging as promising treatment modalities for cancers of the CNS, and by completing a NIO fellowship, physicians gain the fund of knowledge and clinical expertise needed to safely administer immunotherapies and conduct clinical trial research within the field. Over the course of my fellowship, I not only learned the neurological and neurocritical care skills necessary to manage immunotherapy-induced inflammation, but I also became integrated with the clinical research team and learned the essentials of conducting clinical trial research. Taking care of patients receiving immunotherapy on clinical trials was humbling and emotionally rewarding; it was a privilege to become a part of the lives of these patients and their families during their most vulnerable moments. From an academic perspective, my clinical service time was intellectually stimulating and informed my scholarly research, and during my fellowship year, I was able to work with Drs. Monje and Mackall on defining and publishing a grading scale for a distinct neurotoxicity that we observed while taking care of patients on our clinical trials. Throughout my fellowship, I felt tremendously grateful for the mentorship I received from both the neuro-immuno-oncology and cancer cellular therapy attendings, and after completing my fellowship, I felt empowered to independently practice neuro-immuno-oncology."
Tumor inflammation associated neurotoxicity
Published April 6, 2023 in Nature Medicine by Mahdi, J., Dietrich, J., Straathof, K. et al.
Jasia Mahdi, our first Neuro-Immuno-Oncology Fellow, led the effort to define and establish consensus in the field on a grading scale for tumor inflammation-associated neurotoxicity (TIAN), an important syndrome of local neural dysfunction and/or edema in tumor-affected regions of the brain and spinal cord during therapeutic inflammation. For this effort, many collaborators in the field came together to share experiences with TIAN in a range of immunotherapeutic contexts. Our hope is that recognizing this syndrome, and the location-specific ways it can present, will enable efficient and effective management and facilitate NIO clinical research.
GD2-CAR T cell therapy for H3K27M-mutated diffuse midline gliomas
Published February 7, 2022 in Nature by Majzner, R.G., Ramakrishna, S., Yeom, K.W. et al.