Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Saratsis Pediatric Brain Tumor Laboratory

Our Mission

Our lab studies the biology of pediatric brain tumors to identify and test novel molecular targets for more effective therapies. Our overarching research goal is to identify biomarkers of disease and develop new therapeutic strategies to improve clinical outcomes for children with brain tumors. Read more about our work


News & Events

Dr. Saratsis will deliver a Plenary Presentation, Liquid Biopsy for Detection of Histone H3 Mutations in Pediatric Diffuse Midline Gliomas, during the 87th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons on April 17, 2019. This work will be awarded the AANS Tumor Section Columbia Softball Award for best Pediatric Tumor Abstract.

Dr. Saratsis’s research is now featured in a video from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular biology.

Dr. Saratsis was invited to present her team’s collaborative research, Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) Sequencing Reveals Epigenetic Dysregulation of Gene Expression and BET Inhibition as a Novel Therapeutic Strategy as a guest at the American Society of Pediatric Neurosurgeons 2018 Annual Meeting, Key West, FL.

Darian Esfahani, a neurosurgery resident in Dr. Saratsis’s lab, presented Pre-Clinical Analysis of Tenascin-C as a Novel Therapeutic Target in Pediatric Brainstem Glioma at the AANS/CNS Section on Pediatric Neurological Surgery, 46th Annual Meeting, Houston TX, December 3, 2017.

Dr. Saratsis was awarded the Dixon Translational Research Grant Innovation Award from the Northwestern Memorial Faculty Foundation for her project, Cracking the Histone Code: A Novel Epigenetic Approach to Pediatric Glioma Diagnosis and Treatment. This work is in collaboration with Dr. Paul Thomas and the Northwestern University Proteomics Core.

Dr. Saratsis and her colleagues in pediatric neuro-oncology at Lurie Children’s Hospital were awarded the Emerging Research Grant from the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation for an additional two years (2019-2020) to support their work, Clinical Study of Epigenetic Targeted Therapy for Pediatric Malignant Glioma.

Dr. Saratsis was invited to present Precision Medicine Approaches to DIPG: The Role of Liquid Biopsy for the DIPG Round Table Consortium at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington DC, October 1-2, 2018.

Dr. Saratsis was invited to discuss Improving the Health and Care of All Children at the BMO Harris Women in Philanthropy Private Event, Pomellato Chicago IL, November 6, 2018.

Dr. Saratsis was featured in April 2018 in the American Brain Tumor Association Educational Webinar Series, where she discussed Use of Liquid Biopsy in Pediatric Brain Tumor Diagnosis and Treatment.

Dr. Saratsis was features in a three-part series on NBC 4 Philadelphia for her work caring for a young boy with a dangerous brain tumor: NBC 4 Philadelphia Three Part News Broadcast
  1. Part 1: Tragedy, Bravery and a Very Big Miracle
  2. Part 2: Picking Up and Going
  3. Part 3: Then There Were Angels

Dr. Saratsis was featured NBC 5 Chicago for her work with the John McNicholas Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation to advance the science and treatment of pediatric brain tumors. 

Meet Dr. Saratsis, featured in this video from Lurie Children’s Hospital

Dr. Saratsis’s lab has detected pediatric brain tumor mutations in cerebrospinal fluid.  These findings were published in April in Acta Neuropathologica Communtications.  Dr. Saratsis describes these findings here

Dr. Saratsis and Dr. Rishi Lulla (pediatric neuro-oncology) were awarded the 2017 Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation Emerging Research Grant for their research investigating epigenetic factors contributing to pediatric malignant glioma formation. Read more about this project here

Congratulations to Tina Huang for being selected as a finalist in the 13th Annual Lewis Landsberg Research Day at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine for her project, Epigenetic Analysis of Formalin-Fixed Paraffin-Embedded Pediatric Glioma Tissue

Congratulations to Tina Huang for selection of her project, Epigenetic Analysis of Formalin-Fixed Paraffin-Embedded Pediatric Glioma Tissue, to be presented at the 4th Biennial Society for Neuro-Oncology Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Basic and Translational Research Conference

Congratulations to Jin Qi for selection of her project, In Vitro and in Vivo analysis of Tenascin-C Expression in Pediatric Brainstem Glioma to be presented at the  4th Biennial Society for Neuro-Oncology Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Basic and Translational Research Conference

Dr. Saratsis was invited to present her research in the 2017 DIPG Symposium, hosted by the DIPG Collaborative



Amanda Saratsis, MD is part of a collaborative research team that has found a molecule that stops the growth of an aggressive pediatric brain tumor. Their findings are featured in stories from Northwestern Medicine and Lurie Children’s Hospital. Nature Medicine has an advanced online publication of their research

Watch Amanda Saratsis, MD in this Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute video highlighting patient care and cancer research


Selected Publications

Piunti A, Hashizume R, Morgan MA, Bartom ET, Horbinski CM, Marshall SA, Rendleman EJ, Ma Q, Takahashi YH, Woodfin AR, Misharin AV, Abshiru NA, Lulla RR, Saratsis AM, Kelleher NL, James CD, Shilatifard A. Heterotypic nucleosomes and PRC2 drive DIPG oncogenesis. Nat Med. 2017 Apr;23(4):493-500. PMID: 28263307

Panwalkar P, Clark J, Ramaswamy V, Hawes D, Yang F, Dunham C, Yip S, Hukin J, Sun Y, Schipper M, Chavez L, Margol A, Pekmezci M, Chung C, Banda A, Bayliss J, Curry S, Santi M, Rodriguez M, Snuderl M, Karajannis M, Saratsis AM, Horbinski C, Carret A, Wilson B, Johnston D, Lafay-Cousin L, Zelcer S, Eisenstat D, Silva M, Scheinemann K, Jabado N, McNeely PD, Kool M, Pfister SM, Taylor MD, Hawkins C, Korshunov A, Judkins AR, Venneti S. Immunohistochemical analysis of H3K27me3 is a powerful independent predictor of outcome to guide precision medicine in children with posterior fossa ependymomas. Acta Neuropathol. 2017 Nov;134(5):705-714. PMID: 28733933

Unruh D, Mirkov S, Wray B, Drumm M, Lamano J, Li YD, Haider QF, Javier R, McCortney K, Saratsis AM, Scholtens DM, Sarkaria JN, James CD, Horbinski C. Methylation-dependent Tissue Factor suppression contributes to the reduced malignancy of IDH1 mutant gliomas. Clin Cancer Res. 2018 Sep 28. PMID: 30266764

Huang T, Garcia R, Qi J, Lulla RR, Horbinski CM, Behdad A, Wadwhani N, Shilatifard A, James CD, Saratsis AM. Immunohistochemical detection of Histone H3 post-translational modifications and K27M mutation correlates with clinical outcomes in pediatric glioma. Oncotarget. 2018 Dec 14;9(98):37112-37124. PMID: 30647848

Li D, Shokuhfar T, Pantalone J, Rothstein B, Alden TD, Shaibani A, Saratsis AM. Choroidal Artery Embolization in the Management of Cerebrospinal Fluid Overproduction: A Case Report and Review of the Literature. Journal of Neurosurgery Pediatrics, Accepted Jan 2019, Publication Pending.

Huang TY, Piunti A, Lulla R, Qi J, Horbinski CM, Tomita T, James CD, Shilatifard A, Saratsis AM. Detection of Histone H3 Mutations in Cerebrospinal Fluid-Derived Tumor DNA from Children with Diffuse Midline Glioma. Acta Neuropathol Commun. Acta Neuropathol Commun. 2017 Apr 17;5(1):28. PMID: 28416018

Piunti A, Hashizume R, Morgan MA, Bartom ET, Horbinski CM, Marshall SA, Rendleman EJ, Ma Q, Takahashi YH, Woodfin AR, Misharin AV, Abshiru NA, Lulla RR, Saratsis AM2, Kelleher NL, James CD, Shilatifard A. Therapeutic targeting of polycomb and BET bromodomain proteins in diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas. Nat Med. 2017 Feb 27. doi: 10.1038/nm.4296. [Epub ahead of print]

Amanda Muhs Saratsis, MD

Amanda Muhs Saratsis, MD
Assistant Professor in Neurological Surgery

For more information, click here to visit our department page.