WHO WE ARE

The Children’s Brain Tumor Project consists of four primary investigators (PI) with expertise in pediatric neuro-oncological clinical and scientific research. Their collective research interests span a vast range of biological fields – including developmental neurobiology, immunomodulation of brain tumors, cancer metastasis, molecular biology of neuro-oncological diseases, and pharmacological engineering. The diverse skillsets of our investigative team has led to the successful integration of clinical practice with basic scientific research, allowing for the development of novel therapeutic options for pediatric brain tumors. Together, the work of the collective lab teams under each pillar of research promises to bring transformative new approaches to the treatment and management of these debilitating illnesses.

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS

Jeffrey Greenfield, MD, PhD

Vice Chairman of Academic Affairs and Associate Professor, Department of Neurological Surgery and Pediatrics; Co-director, Children’s Brain Tumor Project
New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Dr. Greenfield specializes in pediatric neurosurgery. As co-creator and first scientific director of the CBTP, Dr. Greenfield’s passion for exploring the biology of pediatric brain tumors directly extends into becoming one of the earliest adopters of precision medicine approaches for children with pediatric brain tumors. As a result, every child who receives care at Weill Cornell Medicine has their tumor analyzed by a world class team of scientists to help define a targeted treatment plan.  Dr. Greenfield has an expertise in endoscopic pediatric skull base surgery – evaluating and removing tumors of the pituitary gland region and skull base with minimally invasive tools. He is also an expert in minimally invasive ventricular endoscopy for tumors and utilizes intraoperative imaging to care for children with benign and malignant tumors of the brain and spine.

Dr. Greenfield’s research focuses on malignant transformation of gliomas, understanding how the immune system contributes to disease progression and exploring how cancer cells migrate through the brain in invasive brain tumors. Dr. Greenfield is an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery at Weill Cornell Medicine. He received his Ph.D. from Rockefeller University and his M.D. from Weill Cornell Medical College.

Mark Souweidane, MD, FACS, FAAP

Vice Chairman and Professor, Department of Neurological Surgery; Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery; and Co-director, Children’s Brain Tumor Project
New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Dr. Souweidane is a pediatric neurosurgeon who has dedicated his career to the surgical treatment of children with brain and spinal disorders. His passion lies in discovering curative options for children with DIPG through alternative drug delivery approaches, pioneering the current efforts underway using convection-enhanced delivery.

Dr. Souweidane’s talents as a surgeon are paralleled by a caring attitude and time commitment to patients and their families. Specialized surgical skills have gained him an international reputation for specific procedures, including removal of intraventricular brain tumors, and management of brainstem and pineal region tumors.

In addition to the development of a world-class Pediatric Neurosurgery service, Dr. Souweidane has championed minimal access neurosurgery. He obtained his B.S. from University of Michigan and his M.D. from Wayne State University.

Nadia Dahmane, PhD

Assistant Professor of Developmental Biology in Neurological Surgery
New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicine

Dr. Dahmane has spent her career studying the relationship between developmental biology and brain diseases. Her work examines normal brain development, including the processes of cell differentiation and proliferation – which, when unchecked, can lead to pediatric tumor development. Her groundbreaking work as a postdoctoral fellow identified the molecule sonic hedgehog as a critical regulator of cerebellum development and provided an ontogenic rationale for why patients with mutations in the hedgehog network can develop medulloblastoma, a pediatric tumor of the cerebellum. Current research in her laboratory focuses a group of proteins called transcription factors that regulate how different genes are expressed during both brain development and brain cancer progression.

Dr. Dahmane’s laboratory has identified a critical novel transcription factor protein (called RP58) that is indispensable for brain development; its deletion in a mouse model leads to microcephaly, a birth defect affecting the size of the brain. New work from her group investigates how this protein may also be involved in brain tumor development, including medulloblastoma and glioma. Dr. Dahmane is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery. She obtained a B.S. in Biology from the University of Rouen (France) and a Ph.D. in Biology of Aging from the University of Paris VII-Denis Diderot (France).

Babacar Cisse, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery, Assistant Professor in Neuroscience, Attending Neurosurgeon
New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicine

Dr. Cisse is a neurosurgical physician-scientist with clinical interests in both adult and pediatric tumors, as well as vascular neurosurgery. His published research has led to a better understanding of the ways in which specific populations of immune cells develop within the immune system. His laboratory addresses the role of transcription factor proteins during the acquisition of immune cells in both normal development and most importantly within the context of brain cancer. Dr. Cisse’s laboratory will also study the interactions between immune cells and brain tumor cells and how these relationships support or inhibit tumor progression as a way to approach immunotherapy with more precision safety.

Vice Chairman of Academic Affairs and Associate Professor, Department of Neurological Surgery and Pediatrics; Co-director, Children’s Brain Tumor Project
New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center
Vice Chairman and Professor, Department of Neurological Surgery; Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery; and Co-director, Children’s Brain Tumor Project
New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Assistant Professor of Developmental Biology in Neurological Surgery
New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicine
Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery, Assistant Professor in Neuroscience, Attending Neurosurgeon
New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicine

LAB TEAM

Each Principal Investigator is supported by a hard-working team with a range of abilities.  They all work together seamlessly and share information in a cohesive laboratory setting.

The Children’s Brain Tumor Project was officially launched in 2012.  Two years later, the team grew too large and they were no longer able to work from borrowed benches, so they were granted a dedicated laboratory space in which to conduct their important work at Weill Cornell Medicine.  The team has grown substantially over the years, and now consists of 20 professionals including principal investigators, post-doctoral associates, instructors, research technicians and medical students.

LAB TEAM

Each Principal Investigator is supported by a hard-working team with a range of abilities.  They all work together seamlessly and share information in a cohesive laboratory setting. The team has grown substantially over the years, consisting of 20 professionals including principal investigators, post-doctoral associates, instructors, research technicians and medical students.

“Our lab team is dedicated, not only to the science, but to the families. They show up to countless fundraisers because they feel such a connection to the children we aim to help. I couldn’t ask for a team with more heart.”

Dr. Jeffrey Greenfield • Co-Founder, Weill Cornell Medicine Children’s Brain Tumor Project
PATIENT CARE