Prolo Lab Team

Laura M. Prolo, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery
Stanford University School of Medicine

Laura Prolo is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Stanford University School of Medicine. After receiving her A.B. in Biology and Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis, she completed her MD and PhD in Neuroscience from Stanford University. She remained at Stanford for Neurosurgery residency, then completed a fellowship in Pediatric Neurosurgery at University of Washington/Seattle Children’s Hospital. Dr. Prolo’s research program focuses on advancing and applying evolving molecular technologies for the diagnosis, characterization and treatment of children with brain tumors.

Sophia Arana

Sophia graduated from Dartmouth College in 2022 with a B.A in Neuroscience and a minor in Philosophy. At Dartmouth, she spent 4 years studying how aberrant chromatin remodeling may drive tumorigenesis and neurodevelopmental disorders. Outside of lab, she enjoys horseback riding and swimming. Sophia hopes to pursue a career as a physician-scientist. 

Maria Isabel (Bel) Barros Guinle

Bel is a Stanford medical student who graduated from Swarthmore College in 2019 with a B.A. in Neuroscience and a minor in Dance. Some of her previous research focused on characterizing patterns of effective connectivity in brain networks during different behavioral tasks. In the Prolo lab, Bel is interested in exploring molecular markers of tumorigenesis in pediatric brain cancers. She is also passionate about integrating her Neuroscience research with her commitment to addressing health disparities globally. Outside of lab, Bel enjoys spending time with her family in Brazil, dancing ballet, and exploring the beaches in the Bay area.


Cesar Andres Garcia Jr.

Cesar is a Stanford medical student who is working on projects related to understanding drivers of tumor cell invasion in high-grade pediatric gliomas and in characterizing patient-derived tumor cell models. He graduated from Yale in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in cellular biology. Outside of lab, Cesar enjoys reading, breakdancing, and exploring hip hop related events in the Bay area.

Ella Nettnin

Ella is a Stanford medical student who graduated from Loyola University Chicago in 2020 with Bachelor of Science degrees in Cellular/Molecular Neuroscience and Biology. At Loyola, she spent 3 years studying brain cells involved in circadian rhythms. In the Prolo Lab, she is interested in studying the biological mechanisms underlying tumor growth and invasion in pediatric gliomas. Outside of the lab, Ella enjoys reading, running, and baking.

Billy Nguyen, MD

Billy Nguyen is a fellow physician in pediatric hematology and oncology at Stanford University School of Medicine. He attended UC San Diego, where he received his B.S. in Neuroscience and Physiology. His thesis focused on the role of microRNA on modulating treatment resistance in glioblastoma. Moving along the coast, Billy completed his MD from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, where he was often found in Korean BBQ buffets and Japanese ramen shops. Occasionally in lab, he focused on clinical research ranging from radiotherapeutic outcomes for various brain tumors to neurosurgical approaches for structural neuro-otologic disorders to a Phase 2 clinical trial for NF2-associated vestibular schwannomas. Proving to a California lad, Billy completed his pediatric residency at UC San Francisco, where he investigated prognostic genetic markers for radiation resistance in diffuse midline gliomas. Personally, Billy is an escape room enthusiast (completing over 15 in 10 different cities), avid reader (favorite book of all time "Cutting for Stone") and fearless food explorer (Count memories, not calories).

Ethan Schonfeld

Ethan is a Stanford medical student whose main research focus is applying computational techniques, including machine learning and transcriptomics, to characterize both pathophysiology and patient outcomes in neurosurgery. He obtained his Bachelors of Science in Biology (biochemistry/biophysics) from Stanford in 2022 and Masters of Science in Biomedical Informatics from Stanford in 2023. His masters work focused on applying generative AI to neurosurgery. Outside of the lab, Ethan enjoys running, hiking, going on day trips, and discovering new restaurants.