NF Research Initiative

NF Research Initiative

Scientific Advisory Committee


The Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) represents an international, multidisciplinary group that will provide advice and guidance to the Director of the NFRI in overseeing the GeM Consortium and Open Grant Program.



Darren Hargrave, MB.Chb (Hons), MD, MRCP, FRCPCH

Consultant Pediatric Oncologist - Great Ormond Street Hospital, London

Darren Hargrave, MD is a clinical specialist in pediatric neuro-oncology, with extensive experience in the medical treatment of Neurofibromatosis-related tumors. HIs research expertise includes development of new anti-cancer drugs for children and adolescents. He joined Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in 2011 having previously worked at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London. He trained in the UK and Canada and is a member of both national and international groups in the fields of pediatric neuro-oncology and drug development. He has been the Chair of the European SIOPE High Grade Glioma working group. He is a Chief Investigator of several completed, on-going, and planned clinical trials in pediatric cancer.



AeRang Kim, MD, PhD

Pediatric Hematology-Oncologist - Children’s National Health System

AeRang Kim, MD, PhD specializes in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology and is a faculty member in the Solid Tumor Program in the Children’s National Health System in Washington D.C. She is also a contributing member of the Neurofibromatosis Institute within Children’s National. Her research includes tumor markers in primary CNS germ cell tumors and experimental therapeutics for pediatric neurofibromatosis. She received her medical training from the University of Illinois Chicago College of Medicine, completed her pediatrics internship and residency program at New York University, and completed her fellowship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Johns Hopkins in 2008.



Bruce Korf, MD, PhD

Chair of the Department of Genetics - University of Alabama, Birmingham

Bruce R. Korf, MD, PhD, is one of the leading clinical experts and researchers in the field of neurofibromatosis (NF). Dr. Korf is Chair of the Department of Genetics and Director of the Heflin Center for Genomic Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Dr. Korf also holds the Wayne H. Finley and Sara Crews Finley Chair of Medical Genetics at UAB and has worked with the Children's Tumor Foundation for over 30 years. Before joining UAB, Korf was Medical Director of the Harvard-Partners Center for Genetics and Genomics, a program devoted to integrating genetics into medical practice for major Harvard-affiliated hospitals in Boston.

After receiving undergraduate and medical degrees from Cornell University and a PhD from Rockefeller University, Dr. Korf completed a residency in pediatrics and a fellowship in genetics at Children's Hospital, Boston, as well as a residency in neurology in the Longwood Area Neurology Training Program at Harvard Medical School. He is board certified in pediatrics, neurology (child neurology), clinical genetics, cytogenetics, and clinical molecular genetics.

Dr. Korf is past president of the Association of Professors of Human and Medical Genetics, past president of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics, and president of the ACMG Foundation for Genetic and Genomic Medicine. He also has served on the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute. Dr. Korf is the author or co-author of four books and numerous scientific articles, including, Neurofibromatosis: A Handbook for Patients, Families, and Health Care Professionals. He serves on the editorial board of Current Protocols in Human Genetics.



Eric Legius, MD, PhD

Professor of Human Genetics - Center for Human Genetics, Leuven

Eric Legius, MD, PhD is a medical geneticist and one of the leading clinical experts and researchers in the field of neurofibromatosis (NF). He is currently the head of the Human Genetics Department of the University of Leuven as well as the clinical director of the Human Genetics Department of the University Hospital of Leuven. His research is targeted towards neurofibromatosis type 1 and related conditions. His research group contributed successfully towards the understanding of the molecular etiology of a number of tumors in NF1 such as benign neurofibromas, gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), and glomus tumors. His group was also involved in the molecular and cognitive characterization of the NF1 microdeletion region. Other projects are NF1-related oncogenesis (molecular study of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors) and a clinical trial to improve cognitive aspects in children with NF1 using Simvastatin treatment (NFSIMCODA-trial together with Erasmus University Rotterdam). In 2007. his research team identified a new condition resembling neurofibromatosis type 1, now known as Legius syndrome (autosomal dominant condition caused by a heterozygous mutation in SPRED1). The group is using animal models (mouse and Drosophila) to gain insight in the importance of SPRED and the RAS-MAPK pathway for cognition.



Trevor Pugh, PhD

Clinical Molecular Geneticist - Princess Margaret Cancer Center, Toronto

Trevor Pugh, PhD is a cancer genomics researcher and board-certified molecular geneticist with a research program encompassing discovery-oriented cancer genome characterization, application of genomic sequencing to guide patient care, and a supporting role in the clinical practice of genomic medicine. Currently, he is focused on understanding clonal shifts in cancer and non-cancerous cell populations in serial biopsies and circulating tumour DNA collected during clinical trials, particularly immunotherapies. Dr. Pugh is appointed as Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and Assistant Professor in the University of Toronto Department of Medical Biophysics. He is Scientific Director of the Princess Margaret Genomics Centre ( and Co-Director of the Translational Genomics Laboratory, a joint initiative with the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research to enable clinically-oriented genomics projects ( Dr. Pugh serves on advisory committees for Cancer Care Ontario, Canadian Clinical Trials Group, HPC4Health, and the BC Cancer Agency Personalized OncoGenomics Program. He has participated in multiple large-scale genomics and data-sharing programs including AACR GENIE, The Cancer Genome Atlas, and NCI TARGET. In 2017, he received a Terry Fox New Investigator Award.



Barrett Rollins, MD, PhD

Chief Scientific Officer - Dana Farber Cancer Institute
Linde Family Professor of Medicine - Harvard Medical School

Since joining DFCI in 1989, Barrett Rollins, MD, PhD has worked in the area of white blood cell trafficking and the interactions between inflammation and cancer. His current research focuses on the genetic abnormalities associated with histiocytic diseases.  He also serves on the steering committee for AACR Project GENIE, which is a multi-phase, multi-year, national and international project that catalyzes precision oncology through the development of a regulatory-grade registry aggregating and linking clinical-grade cancer genomic data with clinical outcomes from tens of thousands of cancer patients treated at participating institutions.

Dr. Rollins received his undergraduate degree from Amherst College and his MD and PhD from Case Western Reserve University. He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at Beth Israel Hospital, Boston, and a fellowship in medical oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He is a member of the Association of American Physicians and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.



Nicole Ullrich, MD, PhD

Director, Neurologic Neuro-Oncology - Boston Children's Hospital

Nicole Ullrich, MD, PhD is an Associate Professor in Neurology and Director of Neurologic Neuro-Oncology at Boston Children’s Hospital. She is a clinical expert in Neurofibromatosis 1, including clinical trials for new drug development. She is the site leader at Boston Children’s Hospital for the Neurofibromatosis Clinical Trials Consortium, one of nine sites in the United States conducting clinical trials for NF1-related tumors.  The goal of this Consortium is to develop novel therapies for patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1).

Dr. Ullrich received her MD from Yale University School of Medicine. She completed her internship and residency in pediatrics, as well as a residency in child neurology, at Children’s Hospital Boston. She has received a number of awards, including the Clinical Investigator Training Program Award from Harvard University/Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Harvard Leadership Program for Physicians and Scientists award from Harvard Medical School, and the Friend of the Brain award from Children’s Hospital Boston/Brigham and Women’s Hospital Departments of Neurosurgery. Dr. Ullrich is an active member of the Clinical Care Advisory Board of the Children’s Tumor Foundation and serves as co-Chair of the Clinical Research Award. She serves as Chair of the Children’s Oncology Group Central Nervous System Late Effects committee.



Chris Walsh, MD, PhD

Director, Division of Genetics and Genomics - Boston Children's Hospital

Chris Walsh, MD, PhD is Chief of the Division of Genetics at Boston Children's Hospital and the Bullard Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. He is also an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Walsh is an expert in genomic research, particularly single cell sequencing to determine the cell lineage, an area that is becoming increasingly important in understanding tumor biology.

He received his B.S. at Bucknell University in chemistry and his MD/PhD in neurobiology at the University of Chicago. He completed his internship in medicine, residency in neurology and fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. His research has been recognized by multiple honors, including the Derek Denny-Brown Award, Dreifuss-Penry Epilepsy Award, Jacob Javits Distinguished Investigator Award, Epilepsy Research Award and the Jacoby Research Award. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.