Maria Guerra Garcia, BS
Maria Guerra Garcia studied Biomedical Engineering and Biology at the University of Texas at San Antonio and completed an honors thesis on the development of an animal model of Leptomeningeal Carcinomatosis to examine the efficacy of Rhenium-186 Nanoliposomes and other therapeutics. She was born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico, and is especially passionate about the fight against pediatric cancer and mental health advocacy. During her free time, she enjoys practicing piano, playing with her cat Daisy-Lu and volunteering as a crisis counselor for the Crisis Text Line. In the Reitman Lab, Maria is investigating different brainstem glioma genotypes that are radiosensitized by the deletion of the ATM gene with the hope of increasing the therapeutic window of radiation and improving survival rates for adults and children with brainstem tumors. She aspires to become a physician scientist focused on caring for cancer patients, conducting research to improve treatments and outcomes, and advocating for her patients through non-profit organizational work.
Connor Stewart, BS
Connor Stewart is a research technician in the Reitman Lab at Duke. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from North Carolina State University in 2020, with a focus on cell and molecular biology. As a biologist, Connor is interested in studying the molecular mechanisms that underlie cancer and cancer treatment. He is working with Dr. Reitman to investigate the genetics of brain tumors, with the goal of improving treatment options and clinical outcomes. Connor hopes to eventually earn a PhD in cancer biology and to conduct research that helps improve our understanding of cancer. In his spare time, Connor enjoys watching baseball and playing the violin and guitar.
Zach Reitman, MD, PhD
Zach Reitman is a physician-scientist at Duke. As a physician, he provides radiation oncology care for patients with brain and spine tumors at the Duke Cancer Institute. As a scientist, he and his team work to understand the molecular genetics of childhood and adult brain tumors in order to develop new treatment strategies that are more effective and have fewer side effects. Zach completed his MD and PhD training at Duke where he studied brain tumor genetics in the laboratory of Professor Hai Yan, a world expert in genomic analyses of brain tumors. He completed radiation oncology residency training at the Harvard Radiation Oncology Program, where he completed a research fellowship at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute in the laboratories of two brain tumor genomic research experts, Dr. Rameen Beroukhim and Dr. Pratiti Bandopadhayay. Now back at Duke as a junior faculty member, he is co-mentored by Professor David Kirsch, an internationally recognized expert in genetically engineered mouse models of cancer and radiation biology, and by Professor David Ashley, the Director of the Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke and a worldwide expert on clinical and translational neuro-oncology. Zach and his team are now leveraging genomic analyses and mouse modeling techniques to carry out new lines of investigation in the Reitman Lab. In his free time, Zach enjoys hiking, biking and spending time with his family.