Dr. Giselle Sholler is the division chief of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital and the director of pediatric oncology research at Penn State College of Medicine. She is an exceptional researcher who brings both profound expertise and an unwavering dedication to the field of pediatric oncology clinical trial research. With a heartfelt commitment to improving the lives of young cancer patients, Dr. Sholler tirelessly pursues novel treatment options, precision medicine, and strives to make a lasting impact on children across the world.
Dr. Giselle Sholler’s career has focused on changing outcomes for children with cancer through creating new therapeutic options. Her labs preclinical work focuses on precision medicine, understanding the biology of each cancer, through which she strives to design novel therapeutic trials, oversee regulatory development and submissions working with the FDA and IRB’s needed in drug development, and initiate these studies through our Beat Childhood Cancer Consortium.
Through her training in Clinical Trials Management and Drug Development at the NCI/NIH, she founded the Beat Childhood Cancer Research Consortium in 2010. As Chair, she has opened 20+ Phase I/II trials for pediatric cancer. The Beat Childhood Cancer Research Consortium is now a team of >50 universities and hospitals in the US, Canada & Spain that together offer a network of clinical trials.
Genevieve Bergendahl is the Clinical Program Director of the Beat Childhood Cancer Research Consortium and has been with the consortium since it started its first work in 2005. She collaborates with the Beat Childhood Cancer Scientific and Executive teams to develop and coordinate new clinical protocols as well as maintains those protocols once open. She is also involved in manuscripts, grants, and protocol guidance for participating sites, amongst a host of other responsibilities. Genevieve has been an RN for 25 years, starting in the NICU at the University of Vermont before doing assignments in Hawaii and Boston. She moved to pediatrics which is where she discovered her love of research and pediatric oncology. She met Dr. Sholler in 2005, and they began writing their first trial together, which opened in 2006. She received her Master’s in Nursing from SUNY Stony Brook and became a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in 2015.
Genevieve’s why is improving the survival and quality of life for kids that so desperately need new treatment options, while at the same time being blessed to work with a dedicated, passionate, and committed team that strive towards these same goals. Beat Childhood Cancer has always been dedicated to the child’s experience, working in a collaborative way with any researchers that desire to move the needle forward for these kids. This is what makes Beat Childhood Cancer, under the guidance of Dr. Giselle Sholler, so unique and special, and the reason that I dedicate my life to this work each and every day.
Abigail Moore has been the Program Manager for the Beat Childhood Cancer Research Consortium since January 2022. She actively manages and helps to develop research collaborations, hospital site communication, and process improvement and development for the consortium as a whole. Abigail has degrees in both criminal justice and psychology with a special interest in research. She started as a research coordinator in oncology at the Medical University of South Carolina and quickly found a passion for pediatric oncology research. She also worked as a research coordinator at Levine Cancer Institute in Charlotte, NC before joining our team. Abigail, found her passion for childhood cancer by chance, but now dedicates her life to providing support to develop novel therapies and change the way we approach and think about pediatric cancer treatments.
When asked why Abigail joined the BCC Research Consortium she said. “I was drawn to the mission because of the passion I felt from its members and the drive to constantly seek more innovative ways of accomplishing change. I appreciate working with an organization that never settles, always asks how to improve and do better for every child, and is continually thinking outside of the box. My work with the Beat Childhood Cancer Research Consortium motivated me every day.”
Tonia is the Grants and Contracts Manager for the Beat Childhood Cancer Research Consortium. She is responsible for: research proposal preparation and submission to external sponsors; award management of externally funded awards; drafting and negotiating BCC contracts including Clinical Study Addendums to enrolling sites, Material Transfer Agreements, Data Use Agreements, Research Collaboration Agreements, Consulting Agreements; submitting BCC invoices for payment; and managing the BCC Research Consortium financials. Tonia has bachelor’s degrees in public policy and Sociology and a master’s degree in health administration. Early in her healthcare administration career, she quickly discovered the niche field of research administration and fell in love with it. She has a passion for helping the research team navigate the legal and administrative components, which allows them to focus on the science and innovation. Tonia became involved with the Beat Childhood Cancer Research Consortium in 2020 and officially became part of the BCC Administration Team in January 2022. Tonia wanted to join the BCC Research Consortium because she recognized the passion and energy from Dr. Sholler and her team and wanted to be a part of a team that diligently and selflessly works to discover novel therapies and improve the quality of life for children who find themselves battling cancer.
(*Certified Research Administrator)
Lauren Smith is the Clinical Trials Specialist for the Beat Childhood Cancer Research Consortium. A few of her responsibilities include: managing enrollments on BCC clinical trials protocols, protocol design and development, maintenance of protocol specific documents; develops, monitors, coordinates and implements standard operating procedures; ensure compliance of BCC operational standards; management of pre-study and site initiation planning and documentation; mentors Clinical Research Coordinators.
Lauren has multiple degrees in Baking & Pastry Science and in Nursing. Her first career was as a Professional Pastry Chef. After five years of being a Pastry Chef, she felt led to go back to school to become a Pediatric Nurse. She has been a nurse since 2012; starting her nursing career as an ICU nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. After 8 years of NICU nursing, just before the pandemic in 2020, she was introduced to oncology research by a friend and has never looked back! She worked closely alongside Dr Sholler as her dedicated Beat Childhood Cancer Research Nurse at Levine Cancer Institute in Charlotte, NC. Lauren helped coordinate bringing many kids to Charlotte, domestic and international, to enroll and participate in all of BCC’s clinical trials. One of Lauren’s specialties is working with international families and physicians to help coordinate care here with BCC.
This unique position of helping kids from all over the world be given a chance at longer survival rates, novel therapies, access to medications and care for families that have been told there are no other options available are a few of the reasons why Lauren loves BCC. She happily joined the BCC Administration team in 2023. She can say firsthand that Dr Sholler and her entire team truly believe in the mission and are passionately motivated to help every child not only survive but thrive.
Julie Steinbrecher is the Clinical Site Manager for the Beat Childhood Cancer Research Consortium. Her responsibilities include central data monitoring, scheduling on-site monitoring visits for clinical trials, and coordinator education. She has been a nurse for 28 years, working in Adult Oncology and Pediatric Hematology/Oncology/BMT, and is a Certified Pediatric Oncology Nurse. Most recently, she was at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in the Pediatric Oncology division working as a nurse navigator and on program development for the Haworth Innovative Therapeutics Clinic and the Haworth Family Adolescent and Young Adult program. She has worked with Dr. Sholler and BCC since 2010, and helped bring many patients to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital for BCC studies from across the United States and internationally. She has a specialty in obtaining medications for targeted therapy options after molecular testing the patient’s tumors. She joined the BCC Administrative team in the summer of 2022.
Jessica Lincoln is the Data Analyst for the Beat Childhood Cancer Research Consortium. Her responsibilities include management and building of the electronic research database and creating analytical reports from captured study data. She assists in data quality assurance to ensure accuracy in report production.
Jessica has her bachelors of science in public health, focusing on epidemiology, at University of North Carolina Charlotte, and is currently in her final courses for her masters of science in health sciences for clinical and translational research at George Washington University. Her professional career is diverse, including her time spent on active duty in the United States Marine Corps. Prior to being hired onto the BCC Administrative Team, she was a site coordinator at the Levine Cancer Institute in Charlotte, NC where she worked on the BCC trials.
Jessica’s passion for pediatric oncology research is a personal pursuit. In 2016 her first born was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia a week before his first birthday. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2020 at 3.5 years old due to his disease. She joined the BCC Administrative Team, not just as a professional, but as a parent who knows first-hand the cost of pediatric cancer.
When asked why she joined the BCC Research Consortium, she said: “I wanted to do more than be part of ‘research’, I wanted to be bold in making a difference. This entire team focuses on the children, everything is focused on what is best for them and not on profit. As a parent, I couldn’t ask for a better more driven or compassionate team. If you want change, you have to be the change.”
Abhinav Nagulapally is a Bioinformatician for the Beat Childhood Cancer Research Consortium. He has a broad background in Bioinformatics, with specific training and expertise in analyzing large data sets to create predictive models and evaluate trends. He is responsible for analyzing data with statistical and machine learning techniques to develop better tools, platforms and perform genomic analysis by writing Analytical pipelines for precision medicine clinical trials. He cares about making a difference, as a computational scientist his goal is to develop and apply models as discovery-based tools to derive insights for improving outcomes for children in cancer.
Prior to taking this role in 2014, Abhinav worked as a Bioinformatics Analyst at University of Washington in Seattle WA where he developed genomic pipelines for medical genetics research.
Abhinav has a Bachelor of science and Master of science degrees in bioinformatics.
Divya Gandra transitioned to be a Clinical Trials Laboratory Specialist for the Beat Childhood Cancer Consortium in 2023 and is one of the main administrative points of contact for BCC and the Penn State Research Lab. Some of her responsibilities include sample management for BCC Clinical Trial protocols, coordinating with investigators, developing, and maintaining laboratory and procedure manuals, assisting with database design and development, participating in abstracts, manuscripts, and grant applications, and providing training on site initiation visits.
Divya received her B.S. in Biotechnology, Microbiology, and Chemistry, followed by an M.S. in Medical Microbiology. She relocated to the U.S. after enrolling in a master’s program in Cell and Molecular Biology at Grand Valley State University and graduating in 2017. She joined the Sen Lab as a Research Technologist at Michigan State University, which focuses on the basic mechanisms of steroid hormone signaling and its association with disease development. Divya joined the Beat Childhood Cancer Consortium in 2018 and has since been actively involved in specimen banking, which involves the establishment of cell lines from various Pediatric tumors, generating preclinical models that will eventually lead to future clinical trials and novel drug combinations for Neuroblastoma and rare brain tumors (including DIPG, ETMR, and ATRT).
She says, “It was BCC’s mission, Dr. Sholler’s passion, and the opportunity to make a difference to our kids that led me to join this team and continue to provide my support”.
2 Open Regulatory Positions
1 Open Admin Assistant Position
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