Research year student Stephanie Casillo was awarded the Neurosurgical Education & Research Foundation (NREF) Medical Student Summer Research Fellowship (MSSRF) to investigate Diffuse Midline Glioma (DMG) under the mentorship of Drs. Ian Pollack and Sameer Agnihotri at the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. DMG is an aggressive tumor of the brainstem with a median age at diagnosis of 6.3 years and median overall survival of 11.2 months. In her grant titled “Elucidating the role of glycolytic enzyme PFKFB3 in Diffuse Midline Glioma pathogenesis,” Stephanie aimed to contribute to the understanding of pathogenesis and lethality from the perspective of altered tumor metabolism.
“Being supported by the MSSRF has allowed me the opportunity to grow academically, scientifically, and professionally as an M.D.-only physician-scientist and further me along my path to becoming a pediatric neurosurgeon.”