• Meet Our Fellows

    First-Year Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellows (2021-2024)

    Lauren Jiménez-Kurlander, MD

    Lauren Jiménez-Kurlander, MD

    Residency: NewYork-Presbyterian / Weill Cornell Medical Center
    Research interests: Late effects of novel cellular and gene therapies and early phase clinical trials

    Lauren received her bachelor’s degree in biopsychology at Cornell University. Prior to her medical training, she completed an AmeriCorps year in East Harlem, New York, as a coach and tutor in an under-resourced school. She graduated from medical school at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School with distinction in global health for implementing a tablet-based health curriculum in Sierra Leone following the Ebola epidemic. She then completed pediatrics residency at NewYork-Presbyterian / Weill Cornell and received the Excellence in Teaching Award. Under Susan Prockop, she presented phase I/II clinical trial results of EBV-directed T-cells as an alternative therapy for EBV-associated leiomyosarcoma at the 2018 ESMO Immuno-Oncology conference. After residency, she pursued a survivorship fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and published the first report of COVID-19 outcomes in survivors. Her clinical interests include stem cell transplant and cellular therapies with specialization in late effects.

    Rosemarie Mastropolo, MD

    Rosemarie Mastropolo, MD

    Residency: UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
    Research interests: Medical education and leukemia / lymphoma

    Rosemarie received her bachelor of science degree in biomedical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where she participated in research in intervertebral disc degeneration and interventions for improving disc health through biomechanical loading and vasogenic medications. She then completed her medical degree at State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University, where she developed her love of medical education through her work on a feedback project regarding pediatric oral presentations. She went to UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh for pediatric residency, where she worked on a formalized feedback tool for inpatient rotations, a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) resident curriculum, and a supplemental resource for medical students to practice core-pediatric skills with one-on-one observation and formative feedback from a resident. During this time, she was engaged in research projects including a pediatric surgical oncology collaboration investigating pediatric neutropenic appendicitis and inflammatory myofibroblastic tumors; a 5-year case-series on pediatric melanoma; and presentations on autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome (ALPS). She stayed on as a chief resident after her residency, where she continued work on her interests in medical education and oncology.

    James Morrow, MD, PhD

    James Morrow, MD, PhD

    Residency: Boston Combined Residency Program
    Research interests: Gene transcription, epigenomics, and solid tumor metastasis

    James received his bachelor’s degree in biology with highest honors at Pennsylvania State University. He attended medical school at Case Western Reserve University, where he was selected as an HHMI-NIH Research Scholar. During this fellowship James worked in the pediatric oncology branch at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), studying the molecular mechanisms of solid tumor metastasis. James went on to complete a PhD, splitting research time between Case Western and NCI. His research showed that gene enhancer dysregulation is a key driver of osteosarcoma metastasis. James completed his pediatric residency in the Boston Combined Residency Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. He participated in the Integrated Research Pathway during residency, which allowed him to work in the lab of Kimberly Stegmaier at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's, studying the transcriptional dynamics of EWS/FLI1 in Ewing sarcoma and completing a small molecule screen to identify lead compounds for the development of EWS/FLI1-targeted therapy. James plans to pursue a career as a physician-scientist, studying and treating pediatric solid tumors.

    Helen Reed, MD, MPH

    Helen Reed, MD, MPH

    Residency: Baylor College of Medicine
    Research interests: Chronic disease within non-malignant hematology, including inherited bone marrow failure syndromes and transitions of care

    Helen received bachelor’s degrees in biochemistry and neurobiology at the University of Texas at Austin and her Master of Public Health in epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, Berkeley. While at UC Berkeley, she worked with the California Childhood Leukemia Study on identifying genetic and environmental risk factors of childhood leukemia. She then went on to complete a Cancer Research Training Award fellowship at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where she conducted epidemiologic research on the Inherited Bone Marrow Failure Syndromes study under the mentorship of Dr. Blanche Alter. Her time at the NIH was particularly formative, motivating her to pursue medicine and sparking an interest in non-malignant hematology. She received her MD at the University of Pennsylvania and completed her medicine-pediatrics residency at Baylor College of Medicine / Texas Children’s Hospital, where she served as the Med-Peds chief resident. Following residency, Helen took a brief hiatus from academia to work in primary care with the Albuquerque Indian Health Service.

    Nitin Shrivastava, MD, MPH

    Nitin Shrivastava, MD, MPH

    Residency: Boston Combined Residency Program
    Research interests: Global oncology and capacity building

    Nitin majored in biochemistry and community health at Tufts University, where he first developed his passion for global health. He spent a year after college living in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, where he worked for Timmy Global Health and Asociación Pop Wujto to develop public health programming in chronic malnutrition as well as managed referrals for patients requiring subspecialty care. He attended the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha and the Gold Humanism Honor Society. Given his commitment to a career in global health, he earned a Master of Public Health in health management from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. Throughout his time at UMass and subsequently in his residency at the Boston Combined Residency Program, he has been focused on improving access to pediatric oncology care in low-and-middle-income countries. He plans to continue this work and will pursue a career in global oncology.

    Geoffrey Smith, MD, PhD

    Geoffrey Smith, MD, PhD

    Residency: Boston Combined Residency Program
    Research interests:Pediatric solid tumors, chemical biology, immuno-oncology, and tumor microenvironment

    Geoff received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Harvard University before working in industry prior to graduate school. He then completed his MD and PhD in chemical biology at the University of California, San Francisco, studying cytokine signaling with Jack Taunton and Art Weiss. In his PhD work, he identified a new JAK3 kinase inhibitor and used it to characterize the consequence of JAK3 inhibition in IL-2 signaling. He collaborated to apply the inhibitor to several therapeutic areas, including graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and ETP-ALL. He also uncovered differences in CD4 and CD8 T cell IL-2 signaling dynamics that contribute to their distinct proliferative responses. His research has led to multiple publications, including articles in Science Signaling, Nature Chemical Biology, and eLife. In medical school, he developed a love for pediatric oncology while doing a longitudinal oncology clinic and oncology sub internships at UC San Francisco and Boston Children's Hospital. He completed his residency training in the Boston Combined Residency Program (BCRP) in the Accelerated Research Pathway. While in the BCRP, he was a co-leader of the Academy of Basic and Translational Investigation, the BCRP’s community of physician scientists.

    Second-Year Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellows (2020-2023)

    Rahela Aziz-Bose, MD

    Rahela Aziz-Bose, MD

    Residency: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)
    Research interests: Medical education and racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities within cancer survivorship

    Rahela majored in molecular and cellular biology at Yale University, where she first developed her interest in working with adolescents through teaching in a community health education program in New Haven. She then taught biology for a year at a boarding school in rural England, followed by a clinical research year in a Queens emergency department. She attended University of Massachusetts Medical School, where she was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha and the Gold Humanism Honor Society. At UMass, she founded a health education program for adolescents in juvenile detention facilities. Throughout her Med-Peds combined residency at CHOP and the University of Pennsylvania (Penn), she has strengthened her interest in health disparities through various clinical and research projects. She is also a member of the medical education track.

    Yoav Binenbaum, MD, PhD

    Yoav Binenbaum, MD, PhD

    Residency: Tel Aviv Medical Center, Israel
    Research interests: Myeloid cells in the cancer microenvironment, chemotherapy resistance, and bone sarcomas

    Yoav received his MD at Tel Aviv University School of Medicine. He completed his PhD in the Technion Institute of Technology under the mentorship of Professor Ziv Gil, where he characterized a mechanism of macrophage-induced chemotherapy resistance involving transfer of miRNAs between cells. In collaboration with the physics department in the Technion, he has developed a device for solid tumor treatment using Cold Atmospheric Plasma, a technology that was transferred for further development in the industry. He also collaborated with the computer science department to develop an artificial-intelligence system for prediction of breast cancer molecular biomarkers from H&E-stained slides. His work led to several publications in journals including Cancer Research, Jama Network Open, and PLOS One. Yoav completed his residency in pediatrics at Tel Aviv Medical Center in the physician-scientist track, where he focused his attention to the role of neutrophil NETosis in the cancer microenvironment of bone sarcomas. Yoav is also a cave explorer and recently introduced a new prophylaxis protocol for tick-borne relapsing fever.

    Lev Gorfinkel, MD

    Lev Gorfinkel, MD

    Residency: Yale New Haven Hospital
    Research interests: Biology and treatment of inherited bone marrow failure syndromes

    Lev received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry and biology at Brandeis University and his medical degree at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. In medical school, he was involved in medical education and helped develop a supplementary histopathology curriculum of interactive modules to improve clinical-pathologic correlations. He continued his involvement in medical education as a pediatric resident at Yale New Haven Hospital, where he helped create a formal bedside pediatric physical exam teaching curriculum for medical students during their pediatric clerkship. During residency, Lev worked on deriving a clinical decision model for obtaining peripheral blood cultures in febrile pediatric oncology patients presenting to the emergency department. This work has evolved into a quality improvement project developing a fever and neutropenia clinical pathway for Yale New Haven Hospital. He is interested in bone marrow transplant and presented a poster at the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology (ASPHO) Conference on a fludarabine-based reduced intensity conditioning regimen with in-vivo T-cell depletion in patients with Fanconi anemia.

    Laura Madanat-Harjuoja, MD, PhD

    Laura Madanat-Harjuoja, MD, PhD

    Residency: New Children’s Hospital in Helsinki, Finland
    Research interests: Genomics of pediatric solid tumors and targeted therapies

    Laura received her MD and PhD at the University of Turku in Finland. She completed her residency at the New Children’s Hospital in Helsinki. Her PhD project focused on late effects of childhood. She is an investigator on several ongoing Nordic studies including the Adult Life After Childhood Cancer (ALiCCS) study, an internordic childhood cancer cohort study established to explore somatic late effects and socioeconomic consequences of childhood cancer. More recently, she set up a familial cancer database using the Finnish population-based registries to explore cancer predisposition in childhood cancer. Laura’s ongoing work with Lisa R. Diller, MD, and Brian D. Crompton, MD, focuses on cancer predisposition with projects connected to newborn screening and development of circulating tumor DNA assays as a surveillance tool for cancer predisposition gene carriers.

    Miki Nishitani, MD

    Miki Nishitani, MD

    Residency: Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago
    Research interests: Outcomes in stem cell therapy and medical education

    Miki received her undergraduate degree in biology with high distinction at Duke University and later received her medical degree at Virginia Commonwealth University. Prior to medical school, she worked at the NIH Clinical Center, where she helped to broaden the understanding of congenital adrenal hyperplasia through its largest ever national history study under the mentorship of Dr. Deborah Merke. She then completed her residency in pediatrics at the University of Chicago's Comer Children’s Hospital, where she developed a strong interest in medical education through the Medical Education Research, Innovation, Teaching, and Scholarship (MERITS) Program. Her research interests also focused on transplant-associated thrombotic microangiopathy in those with high risk neuroblastoma who underwent autologous stem cell transplant. Afterwards, she completed her chief residency during which she dedicated time to establishing a primary care curriculum and improving resident scholarship.

    Third-Year Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellows (2019-2022)

    Andrew Groves

    Andrew Groves, MD

    Residency: Boston Combined Residency Program
    Research interests: Genomics of pediatric brain tumors

    Andrew majored in the Integrated Science Program, chemistry, and mathematics at Northwestern University, and graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. As an undergraduate he worked with Richard Silverman, synthesizing novel GABA pathway inhibitors as potential anti-epileptics. He then went on to Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis to complete his MD training, where he worked with Robert Hayashi on a clinical research project analyzing the medical and psychosocial needs of a large pediatric cancer predisposition clinic. Andrew is a Boston Combined Residency Program resident who is working with Mariella Filbin MD, PhD, on projects involving next-generation sequencing of pediatric brain tumors, as well as drug screening in diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) cell lines.

    Jonathan Paolino

    Jonathan Paolino, MD

    Residency: Massachusetts General Hospital
    Research interests: Applying clinical research to promising new therapies and management strategies for children with hematologic malignancies

    Jonathan completed his undergraduate work in biology at the College of the Holy Cross and later earned his MD at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Between his undergraduate and medical education he spent several years in the Army as a medic with the airborne infantry and later worked in biotech on a team designing and managing clinical trials, including several large phase III multinational clinical studies, used to support currently approved therapies in gastroenterology and oncology. He completed his residency in pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and stayed for an additional chief year prior to fellowship. He is an investigator on several ongoing studies at MGH, including a randomized controlled trial studying the effects of virtual reality on opioid reduction for acute pain management and evaluation of a clinical pathway guiding outpatient management strategies for patients with febrile neutropenia with low risk characteristics.

    Maria Trissal

    Maria Trissal, MD, PhD

    Residency: Boston Combined Residency Program
    Research interests: Neuro-oncology with a specific focus on high-grade gliomas, non-coding RNA biology, epigenetics, and next generation genomic technologies

    Maria Trissal received her MD and PhD at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine. She completed a PhD in immunology under the mentorship of Daniel Link, with whom she established a new library generation and genomic analysis pipeline for the identification of small non coding RNAs. Her work on establishing the role of small RNAs in leukemogenesis and hematopoietic stem cells led to several publications in journals including Blood, Experimental Hematology, and Cancer Research. She competed her residency in pediatrics in the Boston Combined Residency Program and participated in the Integrated Research Pathway (IRP), where she discovered a new career focus in neuro-oncology. Through the IRP, she worked under the mentorship of Bradley Bernstein at Massachusetts General Hospital and Mariella Filbin MD, PhD, at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center to utilize high throughput genomic techniques to identify cell regulatory circuits that may be targeted in the treatment of adult and pediatric high grade gliomas.

    Puja Umaretiya

    Puja Umaretiya, MD

    Residency: Boston Combined Residency Program
    Research Interests: Disparities and outcomes research in pediatric oncology and palliative care

    Puja majored in molecular and cellular biology at the University of Arizona and graduated summa cum laude. She then attended Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minnesota, where she was involved in a variety of clinical research projects. Her publications span a wide range of topics, from the effects of calcium supplementation on bone mineral density in children in Nigeria to the relationship of asthma to breakthrough varicella infections. During her time in the Boston Combined Residency Program in pediatrics, Puja’s research interests focused on the intersection of clinical oncology and palliative care. She was awarded a Lovejoy grant to create a formalized curriculum for pediatric residents, with the aim of teaching fundamental clinical and communication skills to increase resident comfort in the care of patients at the end-of-life. Puja’s ongoing work with Kira Bona, MD, MPH, and Joanne Wolfe, MD, MPH, seeks to better understand disparities in the end-of-life care received by pediatric oncology patients across racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. After residency, she completed the Harvard Interprofessional Palliative Care fellowship prior to starting her oncology training.

    Franziska Wachter

    Franziska Wachter, MD

    Residency: Boston Combined Residency Program
    Research Interests: Structural and chemical biology and drug development

    Franziska (Franzi) was raised in a small village in Northern Bavaria. She obtained her MD from Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany, and conducted her doctoral research at the German National Center for Environment and Health, where she studied mechanisms of chemoresistance including the influence of p53 reactivation responses to the extrinsic apoptotic pathway agonist, TRAIL. Franzi then completed her postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Loren Walensky, MD, PhD, which focuses on interrogating BCL-2 family protein biology through the lens of structural and chemical biology. Her particular areas of study comprised investigating inhibitory mechanisms of the pro-apoptotic effector protein BAX as well as identifying and characterizing BAX activators identified in a NMR-based fragment screen. She also validated the on-target mechanism of a p53 reactivating stapled peptide drug that is currently in clinical trials. Her research to date has led to 13 publications including four first-author papers. She was previously a Boston Combined Residency Program resident in the Integrated Research Pathway and worked with Scott Armstrong, MD, PhD, on characterizing resistance mechanism of chromatin modulating therapeutics. Franzi spent several months in Ethiopia and established objective structured exams for medical students. She trained midwives in Sierra Leone in the use of a low cost device to reduce maternal deaths caused by hemorrhage.

    Nina Weichert-Leahey

    Nina Weichert-Leahey, MD

    Residency: Boston Combined Residency Program
    Research Interests: Epigenetics in solid tumors

    Nina obtained her MD from Ludwig-Maximilian-University in Munich, Germany, and completed her medical thesis summa cum laude. After three years of pediatric residency training at the university hospital, Charité, in Berlin, Germany, Nina was awarded a Young Investigator Award by the German Cancer Aid to pursue an early postdoctoral fellowship in the field of neuroblastoma oncogenesis. She joined the laboratory of A. Thomas Look at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where she studied the epigenetic landscape of neuroblastoma. She participated in multiple research studies which were published in Nature, Nature Genetics, Cancer Discovery, and Cancer Cell. Nina also became an expert in multiple genome-editing techniques which she has successfully used in a neuroblastoma model in zebrafish to study neuroblastoma initiation and oncogenesis. In 2017, Nina became a resident in the Boston Combined Residency Program at Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center. She is now working toward a career as a physician-scientist.

    Fourth-Year Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellow (2018-2022)

    Lara Wahlster

    Lara Wahlster, MD, PhD

    Residency: Boston Combined Residency Program
    Research Interests: Hematology, genetic blood disorders, and bone marrow transplantation

    Lara graduated summa cum laude from Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg Germany in 2013. Her doctoral thesis examined intracellular protein folding and degradation mechanisms in neuronal models. After completing her pediatrics internship at Heidelberg University Children’s Hospital, Lara was awarded a Young Investigator Award by the Heidelberg Faculty of Science, which allowed her to pursue an early postdoctoral fellowship in stem cell research. As a postdoctoral fellow at Boston Children’s Hospital, she worked with George Daley, MD, PhD, using patient derived induced pluripotent stem cells for cellular engineering and modeling rare congenital blood disorders. Lara joined the Boston Combined Residency Program at Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center in 2016, completing the accelerated research pathway as one of the physician scientist tracks within the program. She is interested in hematology, genetic blood disorders, and bone marrow transplantation. She is working with her mentor, Vijay Sankaran, MD, PhD, using genomic tools to study hematopoiesis and hematopoietic stem cell biology.

    Past Fellows

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    For questions regarding our fellowship program, please contact Fellowship Program Coordinator Sarah Johnson at 617-919-4242 or email sarah.johnson@childrens.harvard.edu.
  • A Long Legacy of Research and Treatment

    Dana-Farber/Boston Children's History

    More than 70 years ago, Dr. Sidney Farber refused to accept that childhood cancer was untreatable. His determination led to the development of chemotherapy and the first remissions of childhood leukemia.

  • Our Fellowship Programs

    The Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's is one of the most recognized in the nation with a long history of training leaders in the field.