Stem Cell Transplant Fellowship in Pediatric Oncology

The stem cell transplant fellowship is a clinical position for training in pediatric stem cell transplantation, available each year at Texas Children's Cancer and Hematology Centers.


The stem cell transplantation training program is intended to provide intensive and comprehensive experience in the clinical management of pediatric stem cell transplantation recipients and is open to individuals who have completed a basic requisite fellowship program in pediatric hematology-oncology, allergy/immunology, or genetics.

The pediatric stem cell transplant program includes basic, translational, and clinical research for a wide range of disorders, both malignant and non-malignant. The pediatric transplant clinical facility includes a 15-bed inpatient unit with a contiguous outpatient/infusion area. The trainee will become involved in a range of innovative clinical protocols using cellular and gene therapies.


The fellowship position is available beginning annually on July 1, but other accommodations may be possible for qualified individuals. The fellowship extends over 12 months, and the fellow rotates through the inpatient and outpatient pediatric units, the Texas Children’s Hospital Cell Processing Laboratory and pheresis center, radiation oncology at MD Anderson and the HLA tissue-typing laboratory at the Houston Methodist Hospital.

The position meets all criteria for clinical training in BMT as identified by the American Society of Bone Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT) and the Federation for Accreditation of Cell Therapy (FACT). The pediatric component is part of a FACT-accredited program. If candidates are interested in laboratory research, there is the possibility of spending additional time working in one of the Center’s basic or translational research programs.

Program Certifications

The fellowship position meets all criteria for clinical training in BMT as identified by the American Society of Bone Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT) and the Federation for Accreditation of Cell Therapy (FACT). The pediatric transplantation service is part of a FACT-accredited program. If candidates are interested in laboratory research, there is the possibility of spending additional time working in one of the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy's basic or translational research programs.

Fellows whom successfully complete the program, including all planned training, mastery of the core cognitive and procedural skills and completion of their research project, will receive a Certificate of Training in Bone Marrow Transplantation, from Baylor College of Medicine.

Goals and Objectives

The goal of the stem cell transplant fellowship position is to provide the trainee with the knowledge and skills to assume a full-time position as a leader or active member within an established pediatric stem cell transplant program. Further objectives are as follows:

1. Provide an opportunity for trainees in Pediatric Hematology/ Oncology to obtain in-depth training in BMT to produce new pediatric Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Physicians.
2. Provide and document training that will meet the guidelines for accreditation by FACT as an Attending Physician in a BMT program.

This fellowship will serve the needs of the field of pediatric BMT by training new pediatric BMT physicians to provide highly specialized patient care. Levels of responsibility and training for individuals accepted to the stem cell transplant fellowship position does not overlap with the general hematology/oncology fellowship training. 


Fellows rotate through the inpatient and outpatient pediatric BMT units at Texas Children’s Hospital, in addition to the Cell Processing facility, the pheresis center, Radiation Oncology at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and the HLA tissue-typing laboratory at the Houston Methodist Hospital.

Educational Program

The curriculum will use the established strengths in clinical, laboratory and research on BMT at Texas Children's Cancer and Hematology Centers, Texas Children's Hospital, and the Baylor College of Medicine to provide a broad and in-depth training experience. Training will include clinical, laboratory, didactic, and scholarly activities.

General Outline for the Fellowship Training Year

The schedule for the 12-month training program is:

  • 4 months inpatient at TCH BMT unit.
  • 4 months BMT outpatient clinic/ Research Time
  • 1 month laboratory:
    • Stem Cell procurement in TCH
    • Stem Cell processing in TCH
    • Immune Function in TCH Immunology laboratory
    • Regulatory affairs, GMP, GCP, in the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy
  • 1 month Radiation Oncology at  MD Anderson
  • 1 month HLA typing in TMH HLA laboratory
  • 2 weeks to attend scientific meetings
  • 3 weeks vacation

Clinical and Research Training

The fellows gain experience in the inpatient setting of the TCH Pediatric BMT Unit and the outpatient setting of the TCH BMT clinics, where they will provide clinical care and lead new patient conferences. Fellows are trained in pertinent "procedures" relevant to BMT, including bone marrow aspiration and biopsy, bone marrow harvesting protocols, peripheral stem cell collection, infusion of transplant products, and radiation oncology (at MD Anderson Cancer Center).

A specific requirement of the fellowship is the successful completion of a guided clinical of scholarly research project. The project idea should be developed during the application process and after acceptance, so that research can begin at the start of the fellowship and encompass the entire training year. This project must be different from that which the fellow completed during their pediatric hematology/oncology subspecialty training program. A mentor from among the faculty will guide the research and monitor progress. The product of this scholarly activity should be either: a scientific manuscript submitted for publication, an abstract submitted to a relevant scientific society meeting, or a clinical protocol with an informed consent document submitted for regulatory review.

Laboratory training introduces fellows to methods in the laboratory support of BMT, including the Histocompatibility and Transplantation Immunology Laboratory at The Houston Methodist Hospital, and the Stem Cell Processing Laboratories of the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy Laboratories.

Supervisory and Patient Care Responsibilities

Under the direct supervision of an attending physician, fellows learn to diagnose and manage the spectrum of BMT-related issues seen in infants, children, and adolescents on the inpatient and outpatient services.

  • All fellows independently perform initial evaluation and management planning for patients of all levels of acuity, including ordering of laboratory and imaging studies as indicated. 
  • Fellows have a direct one-to-one relationship with their attending faculty and work closely to formulate differential diagnoses and management plans for each patient.
  • Fellows will request the expertise of the appropriate consultants and then discuss the diagnostic and treatment plan with these consultants.
  • Fellows will meet formally with the attendings to establish competencies,  set goals for the rotation, and review their performance this information regarding progression of skills and attainment of objectives, as well as future goals, is communicated in writing to the coordinator of the training program who can then pass on this information to the subsequent attendings.
  • On-call fellows triage calls after hours for the service and consult their attendings when needed for appropriate disposition.
  • On the inpatient BMT service, fellows, along with the attending, lead the multidisciplinary team which includes categorical fellows, nurses, pharmacists, and social workers involved in the care of their patients in daily rounds to formulate the plan of care for their patients.
  • Fellows, with supervision from the attending, will also perform any indicated diagnostic procedures.
    • The procedures associated are diagnostic and therapeutic lumbar punctures and bone marrow aspiration, biopsy and harvesting.  At the beginning of the training, the performance of these procedures is demonstrated by experience practitioners and then initially performed by the fellow only in the presence of such individuals.
  • Some procedures may be performed in the operating room under general anesthesia or in the case of lumbar punctures and bone marrow aspiration biopsy, in the patient floor or outpatient clinic under sedation. Fellows will perform these procedures with appropriate supervision in all settings and learn appropriate sedation or anesthesia practices. A competency verification record of successfully performed procedures which have been observed by the licensed practitioners is maintained by the fellow and turned into the program coordinator when completed.
  • Fellows will work with a junior fellow and assume a teaching role for that individual in addition to providing direct patient care.  Both will be under the immediate supervision of an attending as well as with all inpatient rotations.
  • The fellow will prepare and give presentations related to specific patient problems or topics on rounds or at a variety of multidisciplinary conferences, which commonly form the basis for subsequent treatment recommendations.

Clinical Procedural Requirements

FACT cognitive and procedural skills to be mastered for accreditation of competency in BMT includes the knowledge of indications for BMT, clinical recognition and management of the complications of BMT; evaluation of potential stem cell sources (autologous, sibling, haplo-identical, unrelated, bone-marrow, PBSC, cord); selection of regimens for preparative cytoreduction, immunosuppression and anti-neoplastic therapy, prophylaxis, recognition and treatment of complications of BMT; appropriate use of immune suppressants to control graft versus host disease and graft rejection; stem cell procurement, processing and evaluation; regulatory compliance standards, and documentation methods. 

Didactic Sessions

  • Human Subject Research: Undergo the educational training and become familiar with the conduct of clinical research with the goal of increasing the understanding of the Institutional Review Board in the protection of human research subjects and in the performance of clinical research.
  • TCH Clinical Research Course to increase the knowledge of method for clinical research.
  • BMT Conference: weekly clinical rounds with multidisciplinary presence discussing management and rationale for current patients and future plans for incoming patients.
  • Grand Rounds; Tumor Boards; Fellow Training Seminars; Team Meetings.

Eligibility Criteria

We accept only excellent candidates who are highly motivated, knowledgeable, with strong clinical skills and records of academic accomplishments. If no suitable candidates are identified in a year, no weaker candidate will be accepted.

Candidates will be asked to provide their curriculum vitae and a statement of career goals and areas of interest. Applications will be reviewed by the Fellowship Committee and candidates will be ranked using NIH system (1- outstanding, 5- unacceptable). Applicants will be contacted for information about acceptance. Suitable candidates will visit for interviews with the committee members and other faculty members, and will be given tours of the relevant sites.. If a candidate desires to present a seminar that may be arranged.

Candidates must have completed three years of an accredited U.S. pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship or its equivalent.


Fellows interested in this fellowship training program must complete and submit an application, two letters of reference, a curriculum vitae and a statement of interest. Download the Application

Fellows interested in this fellowship training should email their curriculum vitae and letters of recommendation to:

Program Director
David G. Poplack, M.D.
Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers
1102 Bates Street, Suite 1570
Houston, TX 77030