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. Day EL, Smith ER, Fehnel KP. Single-institution case series of pituitary biopsy for suspected germinoma in the pediatric population: diagnostic utility, operative risks, and biopsy approaches. Sci Rep. 2020 Sep 17; 10(1):15257. View abstract
  2. Rolle M, Fehnel KP. Low threshold for intracranial imaging in fever of unknown origin associated with cyanotic heart disease in the pediatric population. Childs Nerv Syst. 2020 Jun 06. View abstract
  3. Bernstock JD, Tafel I, Segar DJ, Dowd R, Kappel A, Chen JA, Aglan O, Montaser A, Gupta S, Johnston B, Judge J, Fehnel K, Stone S, Warf BC. Complex Management of Hydrocephalus Secondary To Choroid Plexus Hyperplasia. World Neurosurg. 2020 Sep; 141:101-109. View abstract
  4. Touat M, Li YY, Boynton AN, Spurr LF, Iorgulescu JB, Bohrson CL, Cortes-Ciriano I, Birzu C, Geduldig JE, Pelton K, Lim-Fat MJ, Pal S, Ferrer-Luna R, Ramkissoon SH, Dubois F, Bellamy C, Currimjee N, Bonardi J, Qian K, Ho P, Malinowski S, Taquet L, Jones RE, Shetty A, Chow KH, Sharaf R, Pavlick D, Albacker LA, Younan N, Baldini C, Verreault M, Giry M, Guillerm E, Ammari S, Beuvon F, Mokhtari K, Alentorn A, Dehais C, Houillier C, Laigle-Donadey F, Psimaras D, Lee EQ, Nayak L, McFaline-Figueroa JR, Carpentier A, Cornu P, Capelle L, Mathon B, Barnholtz-Sloan JS, Chakravarti A, Bi WL, Chiocca EA, Fehnel KP, Alexandrescu S, Chi SN, Haas-Kogan D, Batchelor TT, Frampton GM, Alexander BM, Huang RY, Ligon AH, Coulet F, Delattre JY, Hoang-Xuan K, Meredith DM, Santagata S, Duval A, Sanson M, Cherniack AD, Wen PY, Reardon DA, Marabelle A, Park PJ, Idbaih A, Beroukhim R, Bandopadhayay P, Bielle F, Ligon KL. Mechanisms and therapeutic implications of hypermutation in gliomas. Nature. 2020 04; 580(7804):517-523. View abstract
  5. Fehnel KP, Penn DL, Duggins-Warf M, Gruber M, Pineda S, Sesen J, Moses-Gardner A, Shah N, Driscoll J, Zurakowski D, Orbach DB, Smith ER. 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 Apr; 52(4):658-671. View abstract
  6. Tsetsou S, Butler W, Borges L, Eskandar EN, Fehnel KP, See RB, Simon MV. Dynamic mapping of the corticospinal tract in open cordotomy and myelomeningocele surgery. J Clin Neurosci. 2020 Apr; 74:225-231. View abstract
  7. Fehnel KP, McClain CD, Smith ER. Indirect bypass for maternal symptomatic moyamoya in the first trimester of pregnancy: case report. J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2019 Nov 22; 1-6. View abstract
  8. See AP, Fehnel KP, Orbach DB, Smith ER. 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
  9. Koch MJ, Mahal BAV, Hadzipasic M, Fehnel KP, Chapman PH, Loeffler JS, Orbach DB, Smith ER. 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
  10. Edlow BL, Threlkeld ZD, Fehnel KP, Bodien YG. Recovery of Functional Independence After Traumatic Transtentorial Herniation With Duret Hemorrhages. Front Neurol. 2019; 10:1077. View abstract
  11. Choi BD, Fehnel KP, Butler WE. Rare Giant Prevertebral Thoracic Myelomeningocele. World Neurosurg. 2018 Jan; 109:296-297. View abstract
  12. Pricola Fehnel K, Duggins-Warf M, Zurakowski D, McKee-Proctor M, Majumder R, Raber M, Han X, Smith ER. 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
  13. Pricola Fehnel K, Borges LF. 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
  14. Han X, Pricola K, Majumder R, Duggins-Warf M, Raber MR, Smith ER. 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
  15. Kim YW, Zipfel GJ, Ogilvy CS, Pricola KL, Welch BG, Shakir N, Patel B, Reavey-Cantwell JF, Kelman CR, Albuquerque FC, Kalani MY, Hoh BL. Preconditioning effect on cerebral vasospasm in patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. Neurosurgery. 2014 Apr; 74(4):351-8; discussion 358-9. View abstract
  16. Patil CG, Pricola K, Sarmiento JM, Garg SK, Bryant A, Black KL. 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
  17. Pricola KL, Zou H, Chang SD. 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
  18. Pricola KL, Karamchandani J, Vogel H, Dahl GV, Yeom KW, Edwards MS, Guzman R. Langerhans cell histiocytosis in a 5-month-old presenting with biparietal masses. J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2010 Oct; 6(4):393-7. View abstract
  19. Patil CG, Pricola K, Garg SK, Bryant A, Black KL. 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
  20. Pricola KL, Dutta S. 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
  21. Pricola KL, Kuhn NZ, Haleem-Smith H, Song Y, Tuan RS. 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
  22. Tanriover G, Boylan AJ, Diluna ML, Pricola KL, Louvi A, Gunel M. 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
  23. Spiekerkoetter E, Alvira CM, Kim YM, Bruneau A, Pricola KL, Wang L, Ambartsumian N, Rabinovitch M. Reactivation of gammaHV68 induces neointimal lesions in pulmonary arteries of S100A4/Mts1-overexpressing mice in association with degradation of elastin. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2008 Feb; 294(2):L276-89. View abstract
  24. Seker A, Pricola KL, Guclu B, Ozturk AK, Louvi A, Gunel M. CCM2 expression parallels that of CCM1. Stroke. 2006 Feb; 37(2):518-23. View abstract
  25. Guclu B, Ozturk AK, Pricola KL, Bilguvar K, Shin D, O'Roak BJ, Gunel M. Mutations in apoptosis-related gene, PDCD10, cause cerebral cavernous malformation 3. Neurosurgery. 2005 Nov; 57(5):1008-13. View abstract
  26. Guclu B, Ozturk AK, Pricola KL, Seker A, Ozek M, Gunel M. Cerebral venous malformations have distinct genetic origin from cerebral cavernous malformations. Stroke. 2005 Nov; 36(11):2479-80. View abstract