Meet Our Neuro-Onc eCast Editorial Board

October 07, 2021

Christian Badr

Christian is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He obtained a Masters in Cell engineering from Henri Poincare University, France and a PhD in Molecular biology from Vrije University, The Netherlands before joining MGH as a post-doctoral Fellow. His lab is focused on studying the genetic drivers and "switches” that promote malignancy, metabolic plasticity, and treatment resistance in brain-tumor initiating cells.  This knowledge is used to develop targeted and experimental therapeutics for brain tumors.  

Viviana Benítez

I am a clinical neurologist specializing in neuro-oncology. I am currently an integral member of the Pediatric Neurologic Neuro-oncology Program and the Pediatric Neurofibromatosis Program at Boston Children’s Hospital.

As part of the Neurologic Neuro-Oncology Program, I participate in two multidisciplinary clinics for both brain tumor patients on treatment and survivors monitoring for late effects at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. I also focus my clinic time on seeing brain tumor patients or neurologic consultations for other oncology patients, as well as seeing new and follow-up referrals for Neurofibromatosis syndrome. In addition, I am currently assisting as the neurologic liaison for the Pediatric CAR T-cell Program.

As part of my clinical practice, I am interested engaging in clinical research and prospective trials. Additionally, my research interests include neurological complications of brain tumors and their treatment; neurological complications of cancer therapy in general; novel therapies and outcomes in patients with NF1; and evaluation of long term survivors of brain tumors. I also am passionate about medical education and mentoring and have presented multiple lectures on neurologic disorders to both trainees and faculty members. 

J. Ricardo “Ricky” McFaline-Figueroa

J. Ricardo “Ricky” McFaline-Figueroa, MD, PhD, is a neuro-oncologist at the DFCI Center for Neuro-Oncology and neurologist in the Division of Cancer Neurology at the BWH Department of Neurology. Ricky is originally from Puerto Rico and completed undergraduate studies in Chemistry at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (Antes, ahora y siempre… ¡Colegio!), followed by graduate studies at Columbia University. He completed neurology residency at the Partners Neurology Residency Program, now MGB, and neuro-oncology fellowship in the MGH-DFCI-BWH-HMS program. In addition to his clinical work with patients with nervous system tumors and neurological complications of cancer or cancer care, Ricky is interested in the biology of tumor cell-intrinsic mechanisms of immune evasion in gliomas. He is the current and past recipient of multiple training and projects grants from the National Institute on Aging and National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Brain Tumor Society and the DF/HCC. He is also a strong believer of physician’s roles in health equity and is active in the MGB Neurology Residency Certificate Program in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and the Society for Neuro-Oncology’s Women and Diversity Committee.

Rif Rahman

Rif Rahman is a radiation oncologist specializing in treatment of central nervous system tumors at DFCI/BWH. During medical school at HMS, he became interested in the treatment of brain tumors and completed a research year with Patrick Wen and Ray Huang that included several imaging-related glioblastoma projects. He subsequently completed a residency in radiation oncology in the Harvard Radiation Oncology Program at DFCI/BWH and MGH. His research interests include efficient clinical trial designs, imaging-based biomarkers and response assessment, and the development of quantitative approaches to decision-making in the clinic, with a particular focus on glioblastoma.

On a personal note, Rif grew up in New Jersey and remains a fan of the New York Giants and New York Yankees.