The Developmental Therapeutics and Pharmacology Unit is part of the Surgical Neurology Branch of the NINDS. We are a translational research lab focused on understanding the connection between the poor drug entry of chemotherapy to aggressive malignant glioma progression. One of the major obstacles to effectively treating central nervous system (CNS) tumors is the integrity of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). The BBB prevents systemic drug delivery from reaching the brain and brain tumor tissue. While previous studies have mainly focused on circumventing the BBB, very few agents or mechanisms have been explored that modulate the tumor microenvironment to enhance effective therapies for malignant brain tumors. Our studies focus on understanding the heterogeneity of BBB permeability amongst malignant tumor cells and the role of the supportive BBB in tumor growth. Our collaborative laboratory and clinical investigations center around BBB biology, cancer biology, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics related to optimal CNS drug delivery.
Dr. Jackson earned her M.D. from Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) and subsequently completed a residency in Pediatrics at Orlando Health. After completing a fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, she finished her training at Johns Hopkins for a joint fellowship in pediatric neuro-oncology and clinical pharmacology.
Furthermore, Dr. Jackson is a board-certified pediatrician and pediatric hematologist/oncologist with clinical expertise and research efforts related to the blood-brain barrier and malignant glioma. Her clinical practice focuses on drug delivery of systemic agents for pediatric malignant brain tumor patients. As a tenure-track Investigator in NINDS and NCI, Dr. Jackson ties her clinical practice to her research efforts focused on understanding the heterogeneous permeability of the blood-brain barrier amongst malignant gliomas.