Meet the BWS Team
The center is one of the few in the nation with a long-standing interest and experience in evaluating and caring for children with BWS. Our multidisciplinary team includes:
Dr. Chad Perlyn, Director, Craniofacial Surgeon
Dr. Perlyn is a plastic surgeon at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and Chief of Plastic Surgery at the Florida International University College of Medicine. As a pediatric plastic surgeon, his practice is dedicated solely to caring for children and young adults with congenital or acquired anomalies. Dr. Perlyn attended medical school at the University of Miami where he graduated with honors. He then completed his general surgery and plastic surgery at Washington University/Barnes Hospital in Saint Louis, one of the country’s oldest and most established plastic surgery training programs. During his residency, Dr. Perlyn was the recipient of an American College of Surgeons Fellowship, allowing him to spend three years at the University of Oxford in England completing a doctorate degree in craniofacial molecular biology. While at Oxford, Dr. Perlyn studied why children are born with particular facial birth defects, and as a result of his efforts, he received several national and international awards. Following the completion of his plastic surgery training, Dr. Perlyn went on to study craniofacial and pediatric plastic surgery as a fellow under the tutelage of Dr. Jeffrey Marsh. It was under the guidance of Dr. Marsh that Dr. Perlyn’s interest in BWS and macroglossia surgery developed.
Dr. Mislen Bauer, Geneticist
Dr. Bauer is the Director of the Craniofacial Center and very active in caring for children with BWS. She received her medical training at Universidad Javieriana School of Medicine in Bogota, Colombia. Her medical background includes a Pediatric Fellowship, Division of Genetics at the University of Miami, Miami, Florida.
Dr. Bauer is fluent in English and Spanish. She is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Katherine Schain, M.S., CGC, Genetics Counselor
Katherine Schain is a board certified genetic counselor. She has a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Florida State University and a Master of Science in Genetic Counseling from Northwestern University. She has served as the genetic counselor for the Craniofacial Center and Clinical Genetics at Nicklaus Children's Hospital since 2000 and has extensive experience in working with prenatal and pediatric populations.
Dr. Derek Sanders, Orthodontist
Dr. Sanders is a Board Certified Orthodontist. He is among a very small group of orthodontists with a passion for helping children with craniofacial disorders, including dentoskeletal abnormalities due to macroglossia. He attended college at Michigan State University and graduated summa cum laude. Dr. Sanders then received his doctorate in dental medicine from the University of Pennsylvania where he graduated in the top of his class.
Dr. Leopoldo Malvezzi, Pediatric Surgeon
Dr. Malvezzi is a pediatric surgeon at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. He received his medical degree cum laude at the medical school in Milan, Italy. This included three months of research at Washington University Medical School on pancreatic islet transplantation, the subject of his thesis. Dr. Malvezzi then transferred to New Jersey, where he obtained a research fellowship in vascular surgery at Morristown Memorial Hospital, where he also completed his general surgery residency as a Chief Resident. He then came to Miami Children’s Hospital, where he completed his pediatric surgery fellowship. Dr. Malvezzi returned briefly to Italy and was successful in creating a pediatric surgery section at the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan.
Ms. Anna Pelligra, Nurse Practitioner
Anna is a family nurse practitioner and serves as Program Coordinator of the Craniofacial Center at Nicklaus Children's Hospital. Anna graduated from Barry University, Miami Shores, Florida with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing. Anna is responsible for the clinical management of children with craniofacial anomalies and various genetic conditions, as well as, their outpatient and inpatient care. She is also a feeding specialist and works with families before and after tongue reduction surgery.
Kristen Burr, BWS Coordinator
Kristen started her career in 2003 under the direction of Dr. Jeffrey Marsh in St. Louis, Missouri where she developed her passion for helping BWS families from all over the world. Kristen has helped and/or met more than 500 families worldwide to help with their care or that of their child. She has advanced knowledge regarding tongue reduction, dealing with insurance companies, and coordination of care with multiple specialties. She assists families requiring visas to come to the U.S.for surgery and helps them with lodging. Kristen partners with the Beckwith-Wiedemann Children’s Foundation International to help families with assistance for airline tickets. Kristen is also very active in the BWS community attending BWS conferences promoted by the BWCF and running medical clinics from 2003-2011, with undertaking her own planning of the BWS conference in 2014 in St. Louis and planning another one in 2016 at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. Kristen is very active on social media regarding BWS and belongs to many Facebook groups and is also an administrator on a Facebook group for parents only. Kristen is connected to many BWS foundations around the world and directs families to their local support system and/or connects them to parents in their area for support.
Speech Therapy Specialists
The center features three speech and language pathologists, Jennifer Rodriguez, M.A., CCC-SLP, Claryza Pujol, M.S., CCC-SLP, and JoAnn Vargas, MA, CCC-SLP. The therapists assist families in feeding their infants and in techniques for post-surgery feeding. The speech pathologist evaluates each child prior to surgery to assess feeding and language. The therapist will also communicate with a therapist from the patient’s hometown to address goals and how to achieve them post tongue reduction.