University of Nebraska Medical Center

Pediatric Cancer

The Pediatric Cancer Research Group (PCRG) is a multidisciplinary team of scientists working to improve the outcomes of children diagnosed with cancer by combining the scientific infrastructure of the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the Fred & Pamela Buffet Cancer Center with the resources and clinical expertise of Children’s Hospital & Medical Center.

The PCRG is the pediatric cancer CHRI area of emphasis (AOE), and its efforts span:

  • Epidemiology and prevention, including extensive research into water quality as it relates to pediatric cancer rates in Nebraska and other rural areas
  • Pathology of different cancers/tumors, including medulloblastoma, neuroblastoma, hematological malignancies and more
  • Innovative treatments with collaborators from pharmaceutical sciences and increased infrastructure to conduct clinical trials, including augmenting data management
  • Quality of care research, such as the use of robotics and virtual reality to improve experiences in physical therapy or decrease the need for sedation in radiation oncology and imaging
  • Survivorship research in partnership with Children’s Hospital & Medical Center Survivorship Clinic
  • Developing resources and tools to benefit a wide range of cancer research, including animal models and tumor banks
  • Training for the next generation of researchers through fellowships and laboratory experiences

If you are a CHRI member and would like to join the Pediatric Cancer area of emphasis, please email chri@unmc.edu

Funding through the PCRG

  • In early 2014, LB 764 was introduced by State Senator Danielle Conrad to appropriate $1.8M from the General Fund for pediatric cancer research infrastructure at the University of Nebraska.
  • In early 2015, LB 417 was introduced by State Senators Nordquist and Mello and subsequently approved to continue appropriations of $1.8M per year (with $300K per year reserved for neuro-oncology) in perpetuity.

PCRG Application for Funding

To submit an application or ask a question contact: PCRG Program Director, Don Coulter, MD dwcoulter@unmc.edu. Applications are accepted throughout the year.


Professor, Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

Don Coulter, MD

Director for Research, Pediatric Critical Care Medicine Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry

Sidharth Mahapatra, MD, PhD
pediatric cancer yellow icon

PCRG in the News

PCRG Director, Don Coulter, MD, discusses research through CHRI on the rates of pediatric cancer and pediatric brain tumors in Nebraska.

Within the Pediatric Cancer AOE, two collaborative focus areas have emerged to address specific areas in research. The Medulloblastoma Collaborative formed due to connections made at the Pediatric Cancer Research Symposium, and the Hematological Malignancies Subgroup came out of conversations started at Pediatric Cancer AOE events.


Medulloblastoma Collaborative


To improve the life of children with high-risk medulloblastomas


To capitalize on complementary biomedical expertise within CHRI and the greater University of Nebraska campuses to collaboratively advance our understanding of high-risk medulloblastoma pathophysiology and therapeutics


  1. To allow for free exchange of ideas that may result in better quality research
  2. To provide a panel of MB experts who may provide peer review for future projects, manuscripts and grants
  3. To eventually procure multi-PI national funding


bhakat nagendrachaturvedi.jpeg
Kishor Bhakat, PhD, Scientist
Associate Professor, Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy
Nagendra Chaturvedi, PhD, Scientist
Assistant Professor and Research Scientist, Division of Hematology/Oncology
coulter.jpeg arnette_klugh.jpeg
Don Coulter, MD, Hematologist
Professor, Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
Arnett Klugh, MD, Neurosurgeon
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
sidharth-mahapatra---pediatric-critical-care---2015_72dpisquare.jpg mahato.jpeg
Sidharth Mahapatra, MD, PhD, Critical Care Clinician and Scientist
Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics 
Ram I. Mahato, PhD, Scientist
Chair and Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences
aaron-mohs sutaparay
Aaron Mohs, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Sutapa Ray, PhD, Scientist
Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics
angie-rizzino.jpeg afshin_salehi.jpeg
Angie Rizzino, PhD, Scientist
Professor, Eppley Institute
Afshin Salehi, MD, MS, Neurosurgeon
Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery
Paul Trippier, PhD
Associate Professor and Director, Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Program

Hematological Malignancies Subgroup


  • Increase communication between clinical, translational, and basic science researchers
  • Provide resources for group members
  • Promote new research projects- particularly those in line with the pediatric patient population in Omaha


melissa_acquazzino  hamid-band

Melissa Acquazzino, MD
Associate Professor, Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

Hamid Band, MD, PhD
Director of the Center for Breast Cancer Research
Associate Director of Translational Research
Co-Program Leader of Molecular and Biochemical Etiology Program (MBEP)
Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center

jill-beck shannonbuckley

Jill Beck, MD
Chief, Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

Shannon Buckley, PhD
Assistant Professor, 
Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy

dalia-elgamal jamesford

Dalia Elgamal, PhD 
Assistant Professor, Eppley Institute

James B. Ford, DO
Associate Professor, Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

fritch.png hewitt.jpg

Jordan Fritch
Hematology/Oncology Fellow

Kyle Hewitt, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy



r.-katherine-hyde iqbalperjaveed.jpeg

Kate Hyde, PhD
Associate Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Javeed Iqbal, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Pathology and Microbiology



joshi.jpg soyounkim

Shantaram Joshi, PhD
Professor, Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy

So-Youn Kim, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB), Cancer Research (CR),
and Molecular Genetics and Cellular Biology (MGCB)

losole.jpeg aaron-mohs

Taylor Losole, MD
Hematology/Oncology Fellow

Aaron Mohs, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences



murray.jpeg murrydj.jpg
Grace Murray, MD
Hematology/Oncology Fellow
DJ Murry, PharmD
Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science
sachit-patel raulji,-chittalsinh

Sachit Patel, MD
Associate Professor, Division of Hematology/Oncology

Chittalsinh Raulji, MBBS
Assistant Professor, Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology



sutaparay rowley.jpg

Sutapa Ray, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics

Jordan Rowley, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy




Paul Trippier, PhD
Associate Professor and Director, Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Program