Who is MyPART?
My Pediatric and Adult Rare Tumor Network (MyPART) is a team of doctors, nurses, scientists, and other staff, working together to improve the lives of children, adolescents, and young adults with rare solid tumors. Our team members come from different locations within the United States and around the world, bringing diverse interests. Here you can meet the members of the team at the Center for Cancer Research in the National Cancer Institute.
MyPART Leadership Team
Brigitte C. Widemann, M.D. is co-leader of MyPART and Deputy Director of the Center for Cancer Research and Chief of the Pediatric Oncology Branch at NCI. She brings her expertise in pediatric oncology, natural history studies, and developing clinical trials for rare tumors to MyPART. She has been at NCI for 26 years. She grew up in Cologne, Germany and has six sisters. She is also a twin! She loves running, spending time outside, and watching soccer.
Karlyne M. Reilly, Ph.D. is co-leader of MyPART and oversees a basic cancer research group in the Pediatric Oncology Branch in the Center for Cancer Research. She brings her expertise in mouse models of rare cancers and genome-wide data analysis to MyPART. She grew up in Berkeley, California and has been at NCI for 16 years. She loves oil painting and costume design whenever she has the time.
Abby B. Sandler, Ph.D. is the executive director of MyPART. She brings her experience in cancer policy and advocacy, and program oversight to the MyPART team. She grew up in Yonkers, New York and has been at NCI for 22 years. She loves to cook and is an avid figure skating fan.
Jaydira del Rivero, M.D. is a medical and endocrine oncologist and the principal investigator of the NCI Center for Cancer Research Natural History Study of Rare Tumors. She grew up in Veracruz, Mexico. She has been at NIH for eight years and at NCI for three years. She loves dancing and wishes she had more time for it.
John Glod, M.D., Ph.D. is a pediatric oncologist/neuro oncologist and the Clinical Director of the Pediatric Oncology Branch in the Center for Cancer Research. He grew up in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and roots for all Philadelphia sports teams. He has been at NCI for five years. He loves to go fishing.
Fernanda Arnaldez, M.D. is a pediatric oncologist, the Scientific Officer of the NCI Experimental Therapeutics Clinical Trials Network, and Clinical Director of the SDH-Deficient NIH GIST Clinic. She brings her expertise in clinical trial design and rare tumor clinics to the MyPART network. She grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, but became a Steelers fan after living in Pittsburgh. She plays field hockey and the guitar, and loves throwing crazy dance parties for her children and their friends.
MyPART Genetic Counselor
Margarita Raygada, Ph.D., M.M.Sc. is the genetic counselor for MyPART and an expert in hereditary cancer syndromes. She grew up in Venezuela and very recently joined NCI, after working on hereditary cancer syndromes in children at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. She works to help families understand how their genes affect their health.
Taryn Allen, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist for MyPART. She grew up in Connecticut and has been involved in pediatric cancer research for over a decade. Her favorite pastime is cooking and baking.
Pam Wolters, Ph.D. co-directs the Behavioral Health Core and is head of the Neurobehavioral Research Program in the Pediatric Oncology Branch of the Center for Cancer Research. She has been at NCI for 30 years. She loves watching her kids play sports and enjoys the Washington Capitals, as well. She likes to swim and read. She used to compete in triathlons.
Staci Martin Peron, Ph.D. is the clinical director and training director of the Pediatric Psychology and Neurobehavioral Research Program of the Pediatric Oncology Branch. She grew up in Florida and has been at NCI for 18 years. She is committed to helping children with cancers or rare tumors and their families cope with the mental and psychological effects of cancer treatment.
Lori Wiener, Ph.D., D.C.S.W, L.C.S.W.-C. co-directs the Behavioral Health Core and is head of the Psychosocial Support and Research Program in the Pediatric Oncology Branch. She grew up in New York and has been at NCI for 32 years. She has developed many programs advancing psychosocial research and psychosocial care standards for patients and families who face life-threatening illnesses. Her favorite hobby is nature and portrait photography. Her family are huge Baltimore Ravens fans.
BJ Thomas, R.N. is the lead research nurse for MyPART. She grew up in the Washington, D.C. area and has been working on NCI clinical studies for 15 years, and even longer at NIH. Her favorite sports are the Winter Olympics. She loves to travel and fondly remembers getting stranded in Italy when she missed her bus back to Rome.
Laura Wisch, R.N., M.S.N, C.C.R.P. is a research nurse supporting MyPART and has been at NCI for 19 years. She has brought her clinical research coordinator experience to the MyPART team. She grew up in Northern Kentucky and is retired from the US Army. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and skiing, and is an enthusiastic follower of Virginia Tech football.
MyPART Clinical Research Support
Sherri DePollar is the Patient Care Coordinator for MyPART. She grew up in Maryland and has been with NCI for 13 years, and with NIH even longer. Her favorite teams are the Washington Redskins and DC United. In her spare time, she enjoys beading and making jewelry. Beyond her role as a patient care coordinator at NCI, she is also a certified Reiki Master and teacher.
Sarah Fuller is a post-baccalaureate fellow in the Pediatric Oncology Branch supporting MyPART and the weekly rare tumor clinic in the NIH Clinical Center. She grew up in Hartford, Connecticut and joined NCI this year. She loves to go sailing with her younger sisters.
Maran Ilanchezhian is a post-baccalaureate fellow in the Pediatric Oncology Branch supporting MyPART and annual clinics focused on individual rare tumors. He grew up in Herndon, Virginia and joined NCI this year. He loves all the Washington, DC sports teams and plays flag football on the weekends. He also enjoys hiking.
MyPART Research Staff
Katie Pendo, M.S. is a research technician supporting the analysis of biospecimens from the Natural History Study of Rare Tumors. She has been at NCI a little over one year. She grew up in Rapid City, South Dakota and enjoys keeping in touch with her friends and family around the world by videochat. Her favorite sports team is DC United, and her favorite hobby is playing video games.
Francesco Tomassoni Ardori, Ph.D. is a research technician designing new mouse models of rare tumors for MyPART using information gathered from the Natural History Study of Rare Tumors. He grew up in Italy and has been at NCI for eight years. His favorite pastime is windsurfing.
Behind the Screens of MyPART
Jason E. Levine, M.D. is Associate Director of the CCR Office of Information Technology. He specializes in developing systems to manage the flow of clinical data in large-scale clinical studies and brings his expertise to MyPART.
Christian J. Mambrin, M.S. is the Program Manager for MyPART information technology. He has been at NCI for two years and grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He likes rooting for the Pittsburgh Steelers and restoring antique electronics. Although a towering 6'5" he has never played basketball!
Nurlanbek Shonkoev, M.Eng. is the web developer and software engineer for the MyPART database and user interfaces. He joined NCI this year and is thankful for having the opportunity to contribute to the fight against cancer.
Yuti Gandhi develops web applications for MyPART. She joined NCI this year and grew up in India. She loves to travel. Her favorite sports are football and cricket.