There is no greater privilege or responsibility than to care for someone else’s child. This knowledge motivates me to bring the highest level of care to each individual and to improve upon what we can do for our patients.


Katie Fehnel, MD




Undergraduate Degree

  • Yale University , 2004 , New Haven , CT

Medical School

  • Stanford University , 2010 , Palo Alto , CA


  • Massachusetts General Hospital , 2011 , Boston , MA


  • Massachusetts General Hospital , 2017 , Boston , MA


  • Boston Children's Hospital , 2018 , Boston , MA

Philosophy of Care

There is no greater privilege or responsibility than to care for someone else’s child. This knowledge motivates me to bring the highest level of care to each individual and to improve upon what we can do for our patients.


I am an academic neurosurgeon with subspecialty training in pediatric neurosurgery. I devote my time both to clinical practice and academic research. The over-arching goal of my work is to improve pediatric neurosurgical care through translational research with a focus on tumor and cerebrovascular disease. In addition to this I have a general neurosurgical practice in which encompasses a broad spectrum of pediatric disease including congenital malformations of the brain and spine.

My research and training to date highlight my commitment to advancing the field of neurosurgery. I graduated from Yale with a B.A. in political science and a focus on neurovascular research. Interested in understanding the molecular biologic basis for cerebrovascular anomalies, I studied the proteins encoded by the 3 genes known to be mutated in familial cerebral cavernous malformations-Krit1, Malcalvernin, and PDCD10 in the Gunel Lab. As a medical student at Stanford University, I studied vascular injury and repair through stem cell homing and recruitment in the Rabinovitch Lab and was then awarded a one-year Howard Hughes Research Fellowship at the NIH to focus on mesenchymal stem cell biology in the Tuan Lab. As a neurosurgery resident at Massachusetts General Hospital, my clinical interest in vascular injury and dysregulation extended beyond primary vascular pathologies to oncologic processes as well.

As a post-doctoral fellow in the Boston Children’s Vascular Biology Program at Harvard, I began formulating my research questions with a focus on bench to bedside translation. Under the mentorship of both Edward Smith, M.D. and Marsha Moses, PhD., I studied urinary biomarkers and discovered a urinary biomarker fingerprint unique to juvenile pilocytic astrocytomas. This non-invasive test serves as a potential adjunct tool for long-term clinical follow in low grade glioma. Under the same mentorship, I have studied the role of axonal guidance factors in congenital pediatric neurovascular disease and have demonstrated contributions to pathologic vascular endothelial dysfunction. This work has been presented on a national level at both the International Stroke Conference as well as the AANS/CNS Pediatric section meetings.

I completed my clinical pediatric neurosurgical training here at Boston Children’s Hospital as the Shillito fellow where I was mentored by an incredible group of surgeons and clinicians with whom I am thrilled to continue to work. As a faculty neurosurgeon at Boston Children’s Hospital, I am passionate about my patients. I continue to honor my commitment to improve the treatment of neurosurgical disease, both in and outside of the operating room, through translational research.


Publications powered by Harvard Catalyst Profiles

  1. Intracranial venous malformation masquerading as a meningioma in PI3KCA-related overgrowth spectrum disorder. Am J Med Genet A. 2021 Dec 02. View abstract
  2. Predictors of progression in radiation-induced versus nonradiation-induced pediatric meningiomas: a large single-institution surgical experience. J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2021 Jun 11; 1-7. View abstract
  3. Medulloblastoma in the setting of megalencephaly polymicrogyria polydactyly hydrocephalus. Am J Med Genet A. 2021 05; 185(5):1614-1618. View abstract
  4. Single-institution case series of pituitary biopsy for suspected germinoma in the pediatric population: diagnostic utility, operative risks, and biopsy approaches. Sci Rep. 2020 09 17; 10(1):15257. View abstract
  5. Low threshold for intracranial imaging in fever of unknown origin associated with cyanotic heart disease in the pediatric population. Childs Nerv Syst. 2021 01; 37(1):335-338. View abstract
  6. Complex Management of Hydrocephalus Secondary To Choroid Plexus Hyperplasia. World Neurosurg. 2020 09; 141:101-109. View abstract
  7. Mechanisms and therapeutic implications of hypermutation in gliomas. Nature. 2020 04; 580(7804):517-523. View abstract
  8. Dysregulation of the EphrinB2-EphB4 ratio in pediatric cerebral arteriovenous malformations is associated with endothelial cell dysfunction in vitro and functions as a novel noninvasive biomarker in patients. Exp Mol Med. 2020 04; 52(4):658-671. View abstract
  9. Dynamic mapping of the corticospinal tract in open cordotomy and myelomeningocele surgery. J Clin Neurosci. 2020 Apr; 74:225-231. View abstract
  10. Indirect bypass for maternal symptomatic moyamoya in the first trimester of pregnancy: case report. J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2019 Nov 22; 1-6. View abstract
  11. Microsurgical Ligation of Residual Fistulous Arteriovenous Shunt From a Radicular Artery to a Thoracic Arteriovenous Malformation: 2-Dimensional Operative Video. Oper Neurosurg (Hagerstown). 2019 Nov 01; 17(5):E206-E207. View abstract
  12. Dynamic Changes in Arteriovenous Malformations (AVMs): Spontaneous Growth and Resolution of AVM-Associated Aneurysms in Two Pediatric Patients. Pediatr Neurosurg. 2019; 54(6):394-398. View abstract
  13. Recovery of Functional Independence After Traumatic Transtentorial Herniation With Duret Hemorrhages. Front Neurol. 2019; 10:1077. View abstract
  14. Rare Giant Prevertebral Thoracic Myelomeningocele. World Neurosurg. 2018 Jan; 109:296-297. View abstract
  15. Using urinary bFGF and TIMP3 levels to predict the presence of juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma and establish a distinct biomarker signature. J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2016 Oct; 18(4):396-407. View abstract
  16. Posterior thoracic laminoplasty with dorsal, intradural identification of ventral defect and transdural discectomy for a spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid leak: case report. J Neurosurg Spine. 2015 May; 22(5):478-82. View abstract
  17. Columbia softball charity award 195 urinary biomarkers identify pediatric brain tumors noninvasively and correlate with prognostic risk factors. Neurosurgery. 2014 Aug; 61 Suppl 1:225. View abstract
  18. Preconditioning effect on cerebral vasospasm in patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. Neurosurgery. 2014 Apr; 74(4):351-8; discussion 358-9. View abstract
  19. Whole brain radiation therapy (WBRT) alone versus WBRT and radiosurgery for the treatment of brain metastases. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Sep 12; (9):CD006121. View abstract
  20. Successful repair of a gunshot wound to the head with retained bullet in the torcular herophili. World Neurosurg. 2011 Sep-Oct; 76(3-4):362.e1-4. View abstract
  21. Langerhans cell histiocytosis in a 5-month-old presenting with biparietal masses. J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2010 Oct; 6(4):393-7. View abstract
  22. Whole brain radiation therapy (WBRT) alone versus WBRT and radiosurgery for the treatment of brain metastases. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010 Jun 16; (6):CD006121. View abstract
  23. Stealth surgery: subcutaneous endoscopic excision of benign lesions of the trunk and lower extremity. J Pediatr Surg. 2010 Apr; 45(4):840-4. View abstract
  24. Interleukin-6 maintains bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cell stemness by an ERK1/2-dependent mechanism. J Cell Biochem. 2009 Oct 15; 108(3):577-88. View abstract
  25. PDCD10, the gene mutated in cerebral cavernous malformation 3, is expressed in the neurovascular unit. Neurosurgery. 2008 Apr; 62(4):930-8; discussion 938. View abstract
  26. Reactivation of gammaHV68 induces neointimal lesions in pulmonary arteries of S100A4/Mts1-overexpressing mice in association with degradation of elastin. . 2008 Feb; 294(2):L276-89. View abstract
  27. CCM2 expression parallels that of CCM1. Stroke. 2006 Feb; 37(2):518-23. View abstract
  28. Mutations in apoptosis-related gene, PDCD10, cause cerebral cavernous malformation 3. Neurosurgery. 2005 Nov; 57(5):1008-13. View abstract
  29. Cerebral venous malformations have distinct genetic origin from cerebral cavernous malformations. Stroke. 2005 Nov; 36(11):2479-80. View abstract