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Rady Children’s Appoints Praveen Raju, MD, PhD, as the Nathan Gordon Chair and Medical Director of Neuro-Oncology Program

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – April 2, 2024 – Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, one of the nation’s top pediatric health care systems, and the University of California San Diego are pleased to announce that Praveen Raju, MD, PhD, will be appointed as Medical Director, Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Program, Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego; and Director, Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Program, and Associate Physician Diplomate, Neurosciences, at UC San Diego School of Medicine. At Rady Children’s, Dr. Raju has also been named the Nathan Gordon Chair in Neuro-Oncology, established in 2021 to honor the memory of Nathan Gordon, who was diagnosed with a rare tumor in his spinal cord when he was just 15 months old. As part of Rady Children’s nationally recognized care team, Dr. Raju will spearhead the growth of the Neuro-Oncology Program and advance research efforts on pediatric brain and spinal tumors.

Praveen Raju, MD, PhD

By incorporating subspecialty expertise into the Neuro-Oncology Program, Dr. Raju aims to address the different forms and distinct molecular subtypes of pediatric brain and spinal tumors. Coming to Rady Children’s from Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital, he previously worked as a pediatric neurologist and directed the Laboratory for Pediatric Brain Tumor Research at the Icahn School of Medicine as well as established the Children’s Brain and Spinal Tumor Center at that institution. His research focuses on studying the developmental origins of medulloblastoma and other pediatric brain tumors in addition to advancing novel drug delivery strategies that enhance treatment efficacy and minimize the toxicities that can impact the developing child.


“Neuro-oncology is a specialty that overlaps with many departments. From my perspective, entering the operating room equipped with relevant, up-to-date research is nonnegotiable, especially when operating on complex central nervous system tumors. To have a skilled physician on staff focused on undertaking this critical research is vital.” said Michael Levy, MD, PhD, Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Rady Children’s and clinical professor of neurological surgery at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Raju, an experienced clinician-scientist in child neurology, to lead research efforts through our growing Neuro-Oncology Program.” 


The Rady Children’s Neuro-Oncology Program is the only program in the San Diego region providing comprehensive care to more than 750 children and young adults with brain and spinal cord tumors. The multidisciplinary team — which works closely with Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine for diagnosis and treatment — is leading the way in personalizing therapy based on the molecular and functional characteristics of each patient’s tumor, resulting in improved outcomes for children with these devastating diseases.  


“Pediatric brain and spinal tumors can be difficult to diagnose at times and often have poor outcomes. I chose this specialty because I wanted to change those outcomes and give families hope,” said Dr. Raju, who is board certified in neurology with special qualifications in child neurology. “Research will be the foundation of this advancement, yet current studies often do not address the translational hurdles that limit bridging exciting laboratory findings with clinical care. Through increased collaboration with the biotechnology industry in San Diego, I’m optimistic that we can dramatically improve patient care.” 


“Unfortunately, brain and spinal tumors are the leading cause of cancer-related death in children thus emphasizing the unmet need in this area. Dr. Raju’s focus on investigative research into the perplexing origins of medulloblastomas is critical for changing the outcomes of pediatric patients,” said William Roberts, MD, Medical Director of Hematology/Oncology at the Peckham Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders at Rady Children’s and clinical professor of pediatrics at UC San Diego School of Medicine “I look forward to the advancement of his research and the undoubtedly positive impact it will have on the patients at Rady Children’s.” 


Dr. Raju obtained his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where he also earned his doctorate in cell and molecular biology and genetics as an NIH-funded MSTP fellow. He completed his residency in pediatrics at Babies & Children’s Hospital of New York and subsequently finished his pediatric neurology training at Boston Children’s Hospital. Prior to establishing his independent research program, he completed additional research fellowship training as part of the NIH-funded Pediatric Scientist Development Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.


About Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego 

Ranked as one of the 10 best children’s hospitals in the nation by U.S. News and World Report for 2023-2024, Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego includes a 511-bed pediatric hospital that serves as the largest provider of comprehensive pediatric medical services in San Diego, southern Riverside and Imperial counties. With more than 40 locations, Rady Children’s is the only health system in the San Diego area dedicated exclusively to pediatric health care and is the region’s only designated pediatric trauma center. Rady Children’s is a nonprofit organization that relies on donations to support its mission.  For more information, visit and find us on Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. 


Media contact: 

Carlos Delgado 

(619) 261-8392