Meet the 2022 Elsa’s Scholars. These students represent the start of the Elsa’s Touch Program. They come from all across the United States and even the world, but they are united by their desire to further advancements in the field of neuro-oncology. The 2022 Scholars took part in the Society for Neuro-oncology (SNO) conference in Tampa, Florida. At the conference they were welcomed with Elsa’s Touch T-shirts, swag bags, and even Outliers, one of Elsa’s Favorite Books. Learn more about this stellar group below!

Raghuram Reddy

Raghuram is first year medical student at Florida International University. He is especially passionate about glioblastoma, immunotherapy, genetic mutations, and combinational drug therapies. Raghuram is a Kobe Bryant fan and since the SNO 2022 Raghuram has been working on a variety of research. Raghuram told us his experience at SNO 2022 was, “amazing to meet other people who were also interested in neuro-oncology and attending the conference helped me learn about the latest brain tumor treatments!”

Emily Sertage

Emily is a senior at Michigan State University. Her hard work has earned her a spot as a direct admit to medical school in the fall. Emily has worked in a variety of labs during her time as an undergraduate specifically investigating if various malaria drugs can limit glioblastoma growth. Emily described her experience at SNO allowed her “to learn so much about who I want to become and how to get there. I am grateful for this experience and cannot wait to see this program develop!”

Nicola Pio Fochi

Nicola Pio Fochi is a medical student at the University of Foggia in Foggia, Italy. He is going to graduate with his medical degree in 2023 and recently published a paper to about novel glioblastoma therapies. Nicola is also investigating the possibility of identifying glioblastoma tumor markers in blood. He hopes to become a neurosurgeon or neuro-oncologist. Nicola felt that the SNO experience “strengthened [his] passion for neurosurgical oncology and [furthered his] desire to come back to America in the future for a fellowship.”

SHawn Kissinger

Shawn is an undergraduate student at DePaul University. Shawn is especially interested and active within the neuro-oncology and neuroendocrinology fields. At DePaul, Shawn has had multiple poster presentations at Chicago Society of Neuroscience and Endocrinology. Shawn felt his experience with Elsa’s Touch and SNO was especially meaningful because “as a disadvantaged student, [Elsa’s Touch] provided me with opportunities that I may not have otherwise had. It fueled my passion and further motivated me by, learning from and meeting doctors of pediatric neuro-oncology, as well as receive guidance for navigating medical school.”

Madison pope

Madison is an undergraduate student at the University of Miami. Madison is heavily involved on campus. Madison has worked in a few research labs that are investigating potential treatments for glioblastoma and other brain tumors. We cannot wait to see how far Madison’s passion takes her within the fields of neuro-oncology and neuroscience.

Brandon Francis

Brandon is a student at Duke University studying neuroscience. Brandon found his passion for neuroscience and neurodegenerative diseases after suffering a concussion in high school. Brandon is interested in the interdisciplinary interactions between neuroscience and pyscology.

ganesh Phayal

Ganesh is a medical student at SUNY Downstate. Ganesh has been involved in a multitude of research in the development of glioblastoma treatment. Recently, Ganesh has been working on glioblastoma research analyzing mutation variation among different racial and ethnic groups. Ganesh shared the Elsa’s Touch Experience was, “a wonderful opportunity to meet with great leaders in the field of neuroscience and neuro-oncology.”