- Fellowship - UT Southwestern Medical Center (2005-2008), Pediatric Hematology/oncology
- Residency - Children's Health Dallas (2002-2005), Pediatrics
- Fellowship - UT Southwestern Medical Center (2001-2002), Pediatric Hematology/oncology
- Medical School - UT Southwestern Medical School (1992-2001)
- Undergraduate School - University of Notre Dame (1988-1992)
Laura Klesse, M.D., Ph.D.
- Dedman Family Scholar in Clinical Care
- Pediatrics - Hematology-Oncology
- Pediatric Brain Tumors
- Treatment of Neurofibromatosis
Laura Klesse, M.D., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at UT Southwestern Medical Center. She is a pediatric hematologist-oncologist specializing in neurofibromatosis, and is Co-director of UT Southwestern Medical Center's Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) program.
Dr. Klesse is a Dedman Family Scholar in Clinical Care and Director of the comprehensive neurofibromatosis program at Children’s Health.
After receiving her undergraduate degree with high honors in biological sciences at the University of Notre Dame, Dr. Klesse earned her medical degree and Ph.D. at UT Southwestern. For her Ph.D. and postdoctoral research fellowship, she studied in the laboratory of Luis Parada, Ph.D., a UT Southwestern faculty member and National Academy of Sciences Fellow who leads one of the foremost centers of research into cancers of the nervous system and their relation to genetic disease.
Dr. Klesse completed her residency in pediatrics at Children’s Medical Center and performed her fellowship in pediatric hematology-oncology at UT Southwestern.
In addition to her research on neurofibromatosis, she is involved with a number of drug development trials as well as studies focused on some of the psychosocial consequences that patients with neurofibromatosis sometimes experience, such as bullying.
Dr. Klesse is a member of the medical advisory board for the Texas Neurofibromatosis Foundation and for Neurofibromatosis Inc. Her professional memberships include the American Society for Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, the American Society for Clinical Oncology, the Society for Neuro-Oncology, and the Children’s Oncology Group.
Dr. Klesse was included in D Magazine's Best Doctors list for 2018 and 2022 and its Best Pediatric Specialists list in 2015-2017 and 2020-2021.
She is married to neurosurgeon Kevin Morrill, M.D., and they have three children.
Meet Dr. Klesse
Neurofibromatosis Specialist in Dallas
Pediatric hematologist-oncologist Laura Klesse, M.D., Ph.D., specializes in assessing and treating cancer predispositions. Her patients are born with a genetic change that puts them at risk for tumor and cancer development.
Dr. Klesse is one of the few neurofibromatosis specialists in the country. Neurofibromatosis, which causes tumors to form on nerve tissue, is the most common cancer predisposition syndrome in children, and managing this chronic disease requires continuity of care with a focus on screening and access to subspecialists.
Providing that care and focus is Dr. Klesse’s mission as Director of the UT Southwestern/Children’s Health neurofibromatosis program, the largest and most comprehensive program of its kind in North Texas.
Dr. Klesse treats children with neurofibromatosis and is also a key member of the pediatric neuro-oncology (brain tumor) team.
Children with neurofibromatosis often develop brain tumors. As a key member of the pediatric neuro-oncology team, Dr. Klesse is an expert at providing care for these patients. She also sees adults with a neurofibromatosis diagnosis and participates in their care if they develop a brain tumor. Because neurofibromatosis can be a familial disorder, many of her adult patients are parents of her pediatric patients.
With advanced training in developmental neurobiology focusing on neurofibromatosis, Dr. Klesse has a special interest in understanding how and why tumors develop so treatments can become more targeted.
“As we’ve learned more over the last 10 years about the signaling pathways that get disregulated in neurofibromatosis and in tumors, we now have some specific therapies that we can offer that are directed more toward the pathway that gets disregulated,” she says. “When I started, there were almost no clinical trials going on, and now we have a number that have shown promise in blocking those pathways.”
Dr. Klesse understands that science and education aren’t the only things that make a good doctor.
“So much of patient care is not just the medicine – it’s also about family support and helping people understand the plusses and minuses of treatments and screenings and all the things we have to do,” she says. “I’m here to support my patients and their families through their diagnoses and everything that follows.”
- Society for Neuro-Oncology
- American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
- American Society for Clinical Oncology
- D Magazine Best Doctor, 2018, 2022
- D Magazine Best Pediatric Specialist, 2015-2017, 2020-2021
- Dr. George Buchanan Fellow Teaching Award 2017-2017, Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Training Program
- Dedman Family Scholar in Clinical Care 2009
Targeted MAPK Pathway Inhibitors in Patients With Disseminated Pilocytic Astrocytomas.
Drobysheva A, Klesse LJ, Bowers DC, Rajaram V, Rakheja D, Timmons CF, Wang J, Koral K, Gargan L, Ramos E, Park JY Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network : JNCCN 2017 Aug 15 8 978-982
Randomized placebo-controlled study of lovastatin in children with neurofibromatosis type 1.
Payne JM, Barton B, Ullrich NJ, Cantor A, Hearps SJ, Cutter G, Rosser T, Walsh KS, Gioia GA, Wolters PL, Tonsgard J, Schorry E, Viskochil D, Klesse L, Fisher M, Gutmann DH, Silva AJ, Hunter SJ, Rey-Casserly C, Cantor NL, Byars AW, Stavinoha PL, Ackerson JD, Armstrong CL, Isenberg J, O'Neil SH, Packer RJ, Korf B, Acosta MT, North KN Neurology 2016 Dec 87 24 2575-2584
Postoperative surveillance of pediatric cerebellar pilocytic astrocytoma.
Alford R, Gargan L, Bowers DC, Klesse LJ, Weprin B, Koral K Journal of neuro-oncology 2016 Aug
Pleomorphic Xanthoastrocytoma of Childhood: MR Imaging and Diffusion MR Imaging Features.
Moore W, Mathis D, Gargan L, Bowers DC, Klesse LJ, Margraf L, Koral K AJNR. American journal of neuroradiology 2014 Jul
Intracerebral schwannomas: a rare disease with varying natural history.
Scott WW, Koral K, Margraf LR, Klesse L, Sacco DJ, Weprin BE Journal of neurosurgery. Pediatrics 2013 Jul 12 1 6-12
Cutaneous features predict paraspinal neurofibromas in neurofibromatosis type 1.
Brown RM, Klesse LJ, Le LQ The Journal of investigative dermatology 2010 Sep 130 9 2167-9
Wilms tumor in a child with L-2-hydroxyglutaric aciduria.
Rogers RE, Deberardinis RJ, Klesse LJ, Boriack RL, Margraf LR, Rakheja D Pediatric and developmental pathology : the official journal of the Society for Pediatric Pathology and the Paediatric Pathology Society 2010 Sep-Oct 13 5 408-11
Acute myeloid leukemia with inv(16) with CBFB-MYH11, 3'CBFB deletion, variant t(9;22) with BCR-ABL1, and del(7)(q22q32) in a pediatric patient: case report and literature review.
Tirado CA, Valdez F, Klesse L, Karandikar NJ, Uddin N, Arbini A, Fustino N, Collins R, Patel S, Smart RL, Garcia R, Doolittle J, Chen W Cancer genetics and cytogenetics 2010 Jul 200 1 54-9
Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder resembling Wilms tumor. Diagnostic dilemma: Renal biopsy or nephrectomy?
Cheng E, Fustino N, Klesse L, Chinnakotla S, Sanghavi R Pediatric transplantation 2010 Jul
Childhood medulloblastoma: current status of biology and treatment.
Klesse LJ, Bowers DC CNS drugs 2010 Apr 24 4 285-301
The zinc finger transcription factor Klf7 is required for TrkA gene expression and development of nociceptive sensory neurons.
Lei L, Laub F, Lush M, Romero M, Zhou J, Luikart B, Klesse L, Ramirez F, Parada LF Genes & development 2005 Jun 19 11 1354-64
Activation of Ras is necessary and sufficient for upregulation of vanilloid receptor type 1 in sensory neurons by neurotrophic factors.
Bron R, Klesse LJ, Shah K, Parada LF, Winter J Molecular and cellular neurosciences 2003 Jan 22 1 118-32
BDNF activated TrkB/IRR receptor chimera promotes survival of sympathetic neurons through Ras and PI-3 kinase signaling.
Kelly-Spratt KS, Klesse LJ, Parada LF Journal of neuroscience research 2002 Jul 69 2 151-9
Loss of brain-derived neurotrophic factor-dependent neural crest-derived sensory neurons in neurotrophin-4 mutant mice.
Liebl DJ, Klesse LJ, Tessarollo L, Wohlman T, Parada LF Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2000 Feb 97 5 2297-302
Requirement for nitric oxide activation of p21(ras)/extracellular regulated kinase in neuronal ischemic preconditioning.
Gonzalez-Zulueta M, Feldman AB, Klesse LJ, Kalb RG, Dillman JF, Parada LF, Dawson TM, Dawson VL Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2000 Jan 97 1 436-41
Mouse tumor model for neurofibromatosis type 1.
Vogel KS, Klesse LJ, Velasco-Miguel S, Meyers K, Rushing EJ, Parada LF Science (New York, N.Y.) 1999 Dec 286 5447 2176-9
Trks: signal transduction and intracellular pathways.
Klesse LJ, Parada LF Microscopy research and technique 1999 May 15-Jun 1 45 4-5 210-6
- Targeted MAPK Pathway Inhibitors in Patients With Disseminated Pilocytic Astrocytomas.
- Pediatric Brain Tumors
- Treatment of Neurofibromatosis