My research interests focus on autophagy, a multi-step process that cancer can use to survive. It is possible to block this survival mechanism and hopefully make cancer easier to kill with other treatments like radiation and chemotherapy. My research has three goals to improve survival of kids with brain tumors. First, find which step of the process should be blocked to kill the most tumor cells. Second, to find which brain tumors depend most on autophagy to survive. And finally, to determine if a specific genetic mutation found in some pediatric brain tumors can identify patients who will most benefit from autophagy directed treatments.