Our Researchers

Director, Neuro-Oncology Research Program

The Taylor Lab’s research centers on the molecular genetics of medulloblastoma and ependymoma, two of the most common malignant pediatric brain tumors. 

Leader, Neuro-Oncology Team



Dr. Nabil Ahmed is a physician-scientist engaged in translational research focusing on adoptive immunotherapy with gene-modified effector cells, to improve therapy for brain tumors. Dr Ahmed's initial studies demonstrated that antigen-specific cytotoxic T cells could eradicate established brain tumors in medulloblastoma and glioblastoma models. Subsequent studies have demonstrated that the tumor-specific T cells, unlike conventional therapies, can effectively target the stem cell compartment in the tumor eradicating experimental tumors in animal models.


Dr. Patricia Baxter's research focus has been on examining the role of BMI-1 in pediatric brain tumors. 

Clinic: 832-822-4242

Dr. Susan Blaney's research interests include: pre-clinical and clinical studies of new antineoplastic agents, developmental therapeutics, central nervous system tumors and new agents for intrathecal administration.


Using a mouse cranial window and intravital techniques we studied the effect of cranial radiation on leukocyte interactions in the pial microvasculature. Top, unirradiated vessels showing streaming leukocytes (stained with i.v. injection of Rhodamine-6G). Bottom, same microvessels 24 hrs post irradiation with a single dose of 20 Gy cranial irradiation demonstrating leukocyte rolling and firm adhesion.

Phone 832-824-3170

The goal of Dr. Marco Gallo's research is to discover the mechanisms by which the epigenome and non-coding genome drive tumorigenesis in pediatric and adult brain tumors. His  laboratory will consist of an integrated team of bioinformaticians and wet lab scientists who investigate the function of epigenetic and chromatin factors and 3D genome architecture in programming stem-like states in brain tumors.


Solid tumors enable immune evasion by expressing high-levels of immune-inhibitory ligands that attenuate anti-tumor responses by inducing functional exhaustion and apoptotic death of the activated tumor-antigen specific T cells. Programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1; B7-H1)/ programmed death protein-1 (PD-1; CD279) immune-checkpoint is a key mediator of this tumor-derived immune-inhibition.


Dr. Philip Lupo is a genetic epidemiologist with a focus on susceptibility to childhood cancer and congenital conditions. He is the Chair of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) Epidemiology Committee and has served in various capacities in the National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN), including President and Chair of the Data Committee.

The ultimate goal of Dr. Lupo’s research is to discover factors that can be used in new prevention efforts and targeted interventions to limit the adverse consequences of pediatric diseases.


Dr. Leonid Metelitsa’s research focuses on understanding the role of Vα24-invariant natural killer T (NKT) cells in tumor immunity and translating this knowledge into NKT cell-based cancer immunotherapies. His group was the first to demonstrate that NKT cells localize to primary tumors in human patients and that presence of these cells at the tumor site is associated with favorable outcomes in the clinic (Metelitsa et al., JEM, 2004).


Dr. Tamra Ogilvie's laboratory is entirely dedicated to studying medulloblastoma (MB), the most common malignant primary pediatric brain tumor.


Dr. Fatih Okcu has ongoing studies include late effects after proton radiation therapy in brain tumor patients, reasons for lack of adherence to follow up care in survivors and relationship between genetic polymorphisms and late permanent treatment effects in childhood cancer survivors.

Research Interests

  • Molecular cancer epidemiology
  • Genetic polymorphisms that modify therapy modalities
  • Adverse events secondary to treatment
  • Neurocognitive impairments in childhood long-term survivors

Dr. Parsons’ research has helped to characterize the genetic landscapes of a variety of cancers, including the first identification of IDH1 and IDH2 as critical genes in brain tumors affecting both children and adults (gliomas). His current research primarily focuses on the clinical application of genomic technologies in pediatric cancer care and “precision oncology” strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of children with relapsed and refractory cancers.


Dr. Michael Scheurer is a molecular epidemiologist at Texas Children’s Cancer Center and in the Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences Program of the Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine.

Dr. Scheurer’s research focuses on viruses and immune function as risk factors for cancer development and progression.


Dr. Jack Su's research interest is in translational oncology and developing novel agents for treating pediatric CNS tumors. Dr. Su is currently conducting a Children's Oncology Group (COG) phase I study of valproic acid in children with recurrent solid tumors, including brain tumors. He is also developing clinical trials of additional histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors, such as suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA), and a poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor for pediatric CNS tumors.


The Taylor Lab’s research centers on the molecular genetics of medulloblastoma and ependymoma, two of the most common malignant pediatric brain tumors. 





832-822-3950 (Neurosurgery) | 832-822-0959 (Epilepsy Center)

Pathology and Immunology


Collaborators from other BCM Departments

Cancers are driven by genomic and epigenetic alterations that result in the activation of cellular proto-oncogenes and the inactivation of tumor suppressor genes. Although high-throughput genomic approaches have begun to establish extensive catalogs of gene alterations in human tumors, the genes that control tumor genesis, progression, and response to therapies are often concealed by the complex chromosomal instability in cancer cell genomes. This challenge is exacerbated by the lack of functional annotation for the vast majority of genes in the human genome.