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Our NCI-CONNECT team is dedicated to helping those with rare central nervous system (CNS) tumors.


Terri Armstrong, Ph.D.

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

Dr. Armstrong co-leads all aspects of NCI-CONNECT and leads its patient outcomes research projects. She strives to understand the impact of both disease and treatment on how a person with a CNS tumor feels and functions.

Read more about Dr. Armstrong >

Headshot of Mark Gilbert

Mark Gilbert, M.D.

Co-Lead, NCI-CONNECT; Chief, NOB

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

Read more about Dr. Gilbert >

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 they face during diagnosis. 

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Kristen Oshin

Patient Care Coordinator

Kristen coordinates the intake process for patients, including scheduling appointments, coordinating travel, gathering all necessary medical information, and providing visit information to patients. 

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 a principal investigator on therapeutic clinical trials. She evaluates patients’ physical well-being and provides diagnosis, symptom, and treatment information.   

Read more about Dr. Penas-Prado >

Headshot of Margarita Raygada

Margarita Raygada, Ph.D.

Oncology Genetic Counselor and Geneticist 

Dr. Raygada provides genetic counseling and testing to patients. She also evaluates family and medical history to help determine if patients and their families are at risk for developing specific cancers or hereditary cancer syndromes. In addition, she 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 for trials and registering them. 

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.

Headshot of Rebecca Zacuto

Rebecca Zacuto

Communications Fellow

Rebecca works with the NCI-CONNECT communications team to generate content for the NCI-CONNECT website, newsletter, and social media. She also assists with educational initiatives and events for patients, providers, and advocacy partners. 

NCI-CONNECT welcomes your questions.

Contact us at or call 240-760-6530. 

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