Personnel

Maryam Fouladi, MD, MSc
Chair

Dr. Fouladi is Professor co-executive director of the Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She served as Chair of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium (PBTC) and currently chairs the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) Central Nervous System Committee. Dr. Fouladi has extensive experience with the development and conducting of phase I/II trials and preclinical development and pharmacology of new drugs in children with brain tumors. She also serves on the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Best Pharmaceuticals for Children (BPCA) Advisory Board. Dr. Fouladi has a strong vision and passion to find cures for children with brain tumors.




Darren Hargrave, MB, ChB (Hons), MD
Co-Chair

Dr. Hargrave is an associate professor and consultant pediatric neuro-oncologist at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and University College London. Dr. Hargrave’s research focuses on developing ‘better and kinder’ therapies for children with central nervous system tumors. He is one of the most active clinical trial researchers in Europe in the field of pediatric neuro-oncology, and he chairs the UK New agents Group for Childhood Cancer and is a member of the clinical trial committees of both the Innovative therapies for Children with Cancer (ITCC) and the European Society for Pediatric Oncology (SIOPE) Brain groups.




Peter de Blank, MD, MSCE
Vice-Chair

Dr. de Blank is associate professor of Pediatrics in the division of oncology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center where he leads efforts in cancer imaging. He serves as the chair of the diffusion tensor imaging ancillary study in the international NF1 optic pathway glioma natural history study. He has experience in clinical trial design, biomarker validation and imaging endpoints.




Chris Jones, PhD, FRCPath
Pre-Clinical Lead

Dr. Jones is Professor and Leader of the Glioma Team at the Institute of Cancer Research in London. His lab has a long-standing interest in the biology of high grade (HGG) and diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), with a focus on genomics/epigenomics, development of novel tumour models, and pre-clinical therapeutic testing. He was formerly the Chair of the HGG/DIPG Biology Subcommittee of the SIOP Europe Brain Tumour Working Group, and is a Steering Committee member for ITCC-Brain.




Amy Jones, MSN, RN, CCRC
Operations Director

Amy joined CONNECT in 2020 and brings over 24 years of clinical research experience as a research manager, clinician, and project manager providing oversight in study management, quality management, regulatory compliance, protocol development, training, and monitoring. She has clinical, research site, and CRO experience in a broad range of disciplines including infectious diseases, neuroOncology, and rare diseases. She has served on the board of the Ohio Valley International Association of Clinical Research Nurses, and has been actively involved in pediatric patient advocacy groups. She is thrilled to be working with such a talented group of CONNECT Collaborators and is looking forward to building on this team’s success.




Michelle Deutsch, MS, CSSBB
Business Manager

Michelle has been with CONNECT since 2018 and serves as the business manager. She draws on her years of industry experience in project management and process improvement to manage and facilitate agreements with industry and sites, plan drug shipping needs, prepare and manage study budgets and continue to find ways we can work smarter, not harder. She has a MS in Organizational Leadership and became a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt through the American Society for Quality in 2017. Michelle enjoys every minute of being part of this team where she can use her experience to build and support a solid infrastructure for CONNECT as we continue to develop and grow.




Dorothy Crabtree
Site Coordinator

Dorothy joined the CONNECT Operations Team in December of 2019. She brings extensive regulatory experience to the CONNECT team and is an excellent resource to sites. She collaborates with CONNECT institutions throughout the course of a study, from start-up to close-out providing ongoing support for protocol implementation, coordination, and site training. She is responsible for maintaining regulatory documentation and providing oversight for all of CONNECT’s clinical research studies and sites. She will apply her regulatory knowledge to assist in preparing sites for audits and monitoring visits. Dorothy is fully committed to maintaining the integrity of our clinical trials and is excited to be working with our team and sites.




Leonie Mikael, MSc, PhD
Project Manager

Leonie joined the CONNECT team in November of 2020 from Montreal, Canada. She has a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology and a Fellowship in Medical Genetics from McGill University. A scientist at heart, she has been studying cancer genetics for 18 years. She has published extensively in the field of pediatric brain tumor research and is eager to help CONNECT bring discoveries from bench to bedside. Leonie has a vast experience in various aspects of biobanking and running clinical trials in pediatric neuro-oncology.




Mythili Murala
Data Quality Coordinator

Mythili joined the CONNECT Operations Team in August 2020. Mythili holds a master’s degree in drug development and has extensive experience as a research associate. Her attention to detail has proven to be a strong asset to the team in her role as data quality coordinator. Mythili will be ensuring the integrity of all data and source documentation provided by study sites in the electronic case report forms, and she will assist in monitoring activities including DLT reviews, SAE reports, and issuing queries. She will assist with preparing study start-and maintenance documents. Mythili will work alongside the team to manage regulatory and site management activities. She is excited and fully committed to collaborating with CONNECT projects and sites.




Keith Desserich
Patient Advocate

Mr. Desserich is a father of a child diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. After his daughter’s passing in 2007, he co-founded The Cure Starts Now Foundation, which today has over 30 locations worldwide and has funded over $10 million in cancer research. He is the President of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium Foundation, a member of the PBTC Steering Council and founder of the DIPG Collaborative. He is also an entrepreneur with professional experience in business development for over 20 years.