Our Research

The research program at the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center and New York Medical College consists of basic, translational and clinical research in cancer, hematological and blood disorders, immune diseases and stem cell transplantation.

There is a multidisciplinary team that focuses on specific areas of research into hematological malignancies, solid tumors, hemoglobinopathies, immune deficiencies, bone marrow failures, hemostasis and thrombosis and other selected diseases.

The program also affords a unique opportunity for students, residents, fellows and post-doctoral candidates to pursue research and training in the above-mentioned fields. Several state-of-the-art research programs include cancer genetics, cancer biology, tumor immunology, transplantation biology and immunology, stem cell biology, hematopoiesis, stem cell regenerative therapy, developmental and experimental therapeutics, and stem and cellular transplantation.


The research programs cover many areas of hematology, oncology and stem cell transplantation including acute and chronic leukemias, lymphomas, brain tumors, solid tumors (neuroblastoma, sarcomas, Wilms Tumor, hepatic and germ cell tumors), hemoglobinopathies (sickle cell disease and thalassemia), bone marrow failure syndromes (aplastic anemia and Fanconi anemia), immunodeficiencies (SCID and CGD), bleeding and clotting disorders (hemophilia, von Willebrand disease and idopathic thrombocytopenia) and lymphohistiocytic disorders.

Key team members and disciplines

  • Director:Mitchell S. Cairo, MD
  • Basic Research Laboratory Manager:Janet Ayello, MS
  • Clinical Research Nurse Coordinator:Lauren Harrison, RN, MSN
  • Hematological malignancies:Mitchell S. Cairo, MD, and Jessica Hochberg, MD
  • Hemostasis/thrombosis:Oya Tugal, MD
  • Brain tumors:Michael Tobias, MD
  • Solid tumors:Fevzi Ozkaynak, MD, and Chitti Ramanamoorthy, MD
  • Sickle cell disease:Claudio Sandoval, MD, and Cori Abikoff, MD
  • Immunodeficiencies: Cori Abikoff, MD, and Subhadra Siegel, MD
  • Lymphohistiocytic diseases:Oya Tugal, MD
  • Developmental and experimental therapeutics:Behzad Bidadi, MD
  • Stem and cellular therapy:Mitchell S. Cairo, MD
  • Cancer biology:Wen Luo, PhD
  • Tumor immunology:Aradhana Tiwari, PhD
  • Basic immunology:Carl Hamby, PhD
  • Transplantation and translational immunology:Yaya Chu, PhD
  • Stem cell biology:Yanling Liao, PhD
  • Hematopoiesis:Janet Ayello, MS
  • Clinical pharmacology: Liana Klejmont, PharmD
  • Biostatistics:Qiuhu Shi, PhD

Unique features:

  • 2,500 square feet of wet laboratory space
  • IVIS small-animal imaging core
  • large, modern vivarium
  • cellular and tissue engineering laboratory (GMP-quality)
  • high-speed, multisort, sterile flow cytometer/sorter
  • strong and interactive collaborations with basic science department
  • 25 years of clinical and translational research experience
  • multiple FDA IND/IDE’s
  • experienced basic, translational and clinical research staff
  • COG-accredited
  • PBMTC-accredited
  • NMDP-accredited
  • sickle cell disease transplant consortium (lead institution)
  • high-risk leukemia transplant consortium (lead institution)
  • lymphoma cell therapy consortium (lead institution)
  • sarcoma cell therapy consortium (lead institution)
  • human placenta-derived stem cell consortium (lead institution)

Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation Laboratory

The Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (PCRF) Laboratory is focused on six overarching areas of research:

  • cancer genetics and treatment of childhood and adolescent hematological malignancies
  • genetically re-engineering immune cells to enhance targeted adoptive cellular cancer immunotherapy
  • tumor immunology and identifying targets for humoral targeted immunotherapy
  • stem cell biology, cancer stem cells and regenerative therapy
  • developing targeted therapy for childhood, adolescent and young adult solid tumors and brain tumors
  • translational therapeutic consortiums for childhood and adolescent cancer therapy

Our translational consortium research programs will be testing targeted cellular therapy against Hodgkin lymphoma in patients who have failed first or second line therapy.

In addition, we have developed several national translational research consortiums concentrating on stem cell transplantation for high-risk patients with acute leukemia, lymphoma cell therapy, pediatric sarcoma cell therapy, familial stem cell transplantation for high-risk sickle cell disease, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma translational research and treatment.

We are indebted to PCRF’s board of directors, advisory board members, officers and volunteers for their generous support of pediatric cancer research programs. We can’t thank PCRF enough for the golden opportunity to participate in the enhancement of the pediatric cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 90 percent in the last 30 years.