Skip to main content
An official website of the United States government


Our team at the NCI-CONNECT Rare Brain and Spine Tumor Network is dedicated to helping those with rare central nervous system (CNS) tumors within the NCI Center for Cancer Research Neuro-Oncology Branch (NOB).


Terri Armstrong, Ph.D.

Co-Lead, NCI-CONNECT; Deputy Chief, NOB 

Dr. Armstrong co-leads all aspects of NCI-CONNECT and, specifically, leads its patient risk and outcomes project. The project is an online survey that looks at the impact a rare CNS tumor diagnosis and treatment has on patients and their families and explores potential clinical and genomic risk factors.

Headshot of Mark Gilbert

Mark Gilbert, M.D.

Co-Lead, NCI-CONNECT; Chief, NOB

Dr. Gilbert co-leads all aspects of NCI-CONNECT and, specifically, serves as the protocol principal investigator for its clinical trials. Dr. Gilbert directs the Brain Tumor Trials Collaborative (BTTC), a network of renowned medical centers throughout the United States that provide clinical trials to patients with rare CNS tumors.

Clinical Staff

Alvina Acquaye-Mallory

Outcomes Program Manager

Alvina manages the patient outcomes studies and provides wellness practices to patients. These include strategies to help patients cope with the mental, physical and emotional challenges faced during diagnosis.

Nicole Lollo

Nicole Lollo

Nurse Practitioner

Nicole manages the care for patients with rare brain and spinal tumors who are enrolled in clinic trials. She provides comprehensive clinical evaluations and symptom management to incorporate a holistic approach to their care.

Headshot of Kristen Oshin

Kristen Oshin

Patient Care Coordinator

Kristen coordinates the intake process for patients, including scheduling appointments, coordinating travel and gathering all necessary information from the patient to visit the NIH, and then provides visit information.

Headshot of Byram Ozer

Byram Ozer, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Research Physician

Dr. Ozer is a neuro-oncologist who cares for patients with rare brain and spine tumors. His interests encompass clinical research as well as translational research that uses scientific advancements to understand the cellular processes underlying tumor development and progression.


Marta Penas-Prado, M.D.

Senior Clinician

Dr. Penas-Prado provides clinical care to patients with rare CNS tumors and serves as principal investigator on therapeutic clinical trials. She evaluates patients’ physical well-being and provides diagnosis, symptom and treatment information.  

Headshot of Margarita Raygada

Margarita Raygada, Ph.D.

Oncology Genetic Counselor and Geneticist 

Dr. Raygada provides genetic counseling and testing to patients, evaluates family and medical history to help determine if patients and their families are at risk for developing specific cancers or hereditary cancer syndromes, and discusses management plans for cancer screening, prevention, and risk-reduction.

Kathleen Wall

Clinical Research Nurse

Kathleen manages patient participation on clinical trials, including assessing if patients are eligible and registering patients for clinical trials.

Program Staff

Brittany Cordeiro

Brittany Cordeiro

Program Manager

Brittany manages program operations, plans workshops and meetings, oversees and coordinates projects, and aids leadership to achieve project success. She also facilitates partnerships with non-profit organizations and provides referral information and education materials to providers, advocates and patients.

Headshot of Raleigh McElvery

Raleigh McElvery

Scientific Communications Editor

Raleigh manages communications projects, strategies and initiatives, such as the NCI-CONNECT website, newsletter, news and feature stories, multimedia, social media and other print materials to educate and inform patients, providers, researchers and advocates.

NCI-CONNECT welcomes your questions.

Contact us: or call 240-760-6530

  • Updated: