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AACR-Day One Biopharmaceuticals Pediatric Cancer Research Fellowship

The AACR-Day One Biopharmaceuticals Pediatric Cancer Research Fellowship represents a joint effort to encourage and support postdoctoral or clinical research fellows to conduct pediatric cancer research and to establish a successful career path in this field.

2022 Grantee

Joelle Straehla, MD

Joelle Straehla, MD

Instructor in Pediatrics

Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center

Boston, Massachusetts


Diffuse midline gliomas are a devastating pediatric brain tumor and despite hundreds of clinical trials, there are currently no curative therapies. One key treatment challenge is getting an effective dose of drugs into tumor cells, as most agents cannot cross the specialized blood vessels of the central nervous system. To develop effective treatments for pediatric diffuse midline glioma, Dr. Straehla plans to use a high-fidelity microfluidic model to rigorously investigate the structure and function of the blood‐tumor barrier. She is set to incorporate spatial profiling of key structural, regulatory, and transport proteins, and link this information with functional studies investigating the trafficking of curated antibodies and nanocarriers that have potential for clinical applications.


Joelle Straehla received her MD from Northwestern University in 2013, and in 2016 completed a residency in pediatrics at the University of Washington. She then completed fellowship training in pediatric hematology/oncology at DanaFarber/Boston Children’s in 2019. She is currently a pediatric oncologist at DanaFarber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, an Instructor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, and a Charles W. (1955) and Jennifer C. Johnson Clinical Investigator at MIT’s Koch Institute. She is board-certified in pediatric hematology/oncology, and her clinical practice is focused on the care of children with tumors of the brain and spinal cord.

Acknowledgment of Support

I am honored to receive the 2022 AACR-Day One Biopharmaceuticals Pediatric Cancer Research Fellowship. This award provides support at a critical juncture in my career, allowing me to focus on bringing new drug delivery technologies to the clinic for children with central nervous system tumors.