University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Joseph F. Costello, PhD

Joseph F. Costello, PhD

Professor in Residence, Department of Neurological Surgery, UCSF
Karen Osney Brownstein Endowed Chair in Molecular Neuro-Oncology, UCSF

Cancer Center Program Memberships

Neurologic Oncology

Research Summary

I am a Professor of Neurosurgery at UCSF and hold the Karen Osney Brownstein Endowed Chair in Neuro-oncology. I am the Director of the NIH-supported Training Program in Translational Brain Tumor Research at UCSF, and I recently served as the Director of the UCSF-based NIH Roadmap Epigenome Mapping Center. I am an Associate Member of the British Columbia Genome Sciences Centre. My laboratory is composed of molecular and computational biologists working alongside clinician-scientists. Our goal is to understand the full evolutionary history of human brain tumors, from the first mutation and epimutation through clonal selection and tumor recurrence. We use next-generation sequencing to discover patterns and interdependencies of genetic mutations, epigenetic alternations and gene expression.

Current projects incorporate MRI-guided tumor biopsies and treatment data with longitudinal genomics to allow the reconstruction of tumor evolution in the context of the human tumor in vivo. In collaboration with the Okada laboratory, we will be exploring the application of immune therapies to target tumor specific mutations and tumors that emerge as hypermutated following chemotherapy. On the gene level, we recently discovered the mechanism by which mutation in the TERT gene promoter leads to telomerase activation, and are pursuing further mechanistic and therapeutic studies aimed at reversing tumor cell immortalization. TERT promoter mutation is one of the most common mutations in cancer in adults.

Education

Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI, B.S., 1984-1988, Biology
Loyola University, Chicago, IL, Ph.D., 1990-1994, Neuroscience
Ludwig Institute, La Jolla, CA, Postdoc, 1994-1999, Molecular Biology of Brain Tumors


Professional Experience

  • 2000
    Assistant Professor and PI, Dept. of Neurological Surgery, Univ. of California San Francisco
  • 2005
    Director, Epigenetics Division of the UCSF CCC Program in Cell Cycling and Signaling
  • 2005-2010
    Associate Professor, Dept. of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco
  • 2005-present
    Karen Osney Brownstein Endowed Chair in Molecular Neuro-Oncology
  • 2008
    Director, NIH Roadmap Epigenome Mapping Center
  • 2010-present
    Professor, Department of Neurological Surgery, UCSF

Honors & Awards


  • 2005
    Human Epigenome Project committee
  • 2006
    Nature, Editors Roundatable on the future of Epigenetics
  • 2006
    Scientific Advisory Council, Brain Tumor Society (NBTS)
  • 2007
    International Epigenome Project (AHEAD), committee member
  • 2010
    Editorial Board, Neuro-Oncology and Journal of Neuro-Oncology
  • 2010
    International Human Epigenome Consortium (IHEC), member
  • 2010
    Outstanding Research Achievement Award, by Nature Biotechnology
  • 2010
    AACR Special Conferences Committee, member
  • 2013
    Keynote Lecture, Inaugural Clinical Epigenomics Conference
  • 2012
    Keynote Lecture, European Association for Neuro-Oncology Annual Meeting
  • 2013
    Chair, Gordon Conference on Genetics and Epigenetics
  • 2013
    Distinguished Lecture, DKFZ, Heidelberg
  • 2014-17
    Chair, Research Oversight Committee, Genome Quebec Pediatric Brain Tumors
  • 2012-17
    BC Genome Sciences Center, Associate Member
  • 2014
    Keynote Lecture, Medulloblastoma in the Mountains

Selected Publications

  1. Stieglitz E, Mazor T, Olshen AB, Geng H, Gelston LC, Akutagawa J, Lipka DB, Plass C, Flotho C, Chehab FF, Braun BS, Costello JF, Loh ML. Genome-wide DNA methylation is predictive of outcome in juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia. Nat Commun. 2017 Dec 19; 8(1):2127.
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  2. Hayes J, Yu Y, Jalbert LE, Mazor T, Jones LE, Wood MD, Walsh KM, Bengtsson H, Hong C, Oberndorfer S, Roetzer T, Smirnov IV, Clarke JL, Aghi MK, Chang SM, Nelson SJ, Woehrer A, Phillips JJ, Solomon DA, Costello JF. Genomic analysis of the origins and evolution of multicentric diffuse lower-grade gliomas. Neuro Oncol. 2017 Oct 25.
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  3. Mazor T, Chesnelong C, Pankov A, Jalbert LE, Hong C, Hayes J, Smirnov IV, Marshall R, Souza CF, Shen Y, Viswanath P, Noushmehr H, Ronen SM, Jones SJM, Marra MA, Cairncross JG, Perry A, Nelson SJ, Chang SM, Bollen AW, Molinaro AM, Bengtsson H, Olshen AB, Weiss S, Phillips JJ, Luchman HA, Costello JF. Clonal expansion and epigenetic reprogramming following deletion or amplification of mutant IDH1. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Sep 15.
    View on PubMed
  4. Venkatesan S, Swanton C, Taylor BS, Costello JF. Treatment-Induced Mutagenesis and Selective Pressures Sculpt Cancer Evolution. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2017 Aug 01; 7(8).
    View on PubMed
  5. Kohanbash G, Carrera DA, Shrivastav S, Ahn BJ, Jahan N, Mazor T, Chheda ZS, Downey KM, Watchmaker PB, Beppler C, Warta R, Amankulor NA, Herold-Mende C, Costello JF, Okada H. Isocitrate dehydrogenase mutations suppress STAT1 and CD8+ T cell accumulation in gliomas. J Clin Invest. 2017 Apr 03; 127(4):1425-1437.
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  6. Wahl M, Phillips JJ, Molinaro AM, Lin Y, Perry A, Haas-Kogan DA, Costello JF, Dayal M, Butowski N, Clarke JL, Prados M, Nelson S, Berger MS, Chang SM. Chemotherapy for adult low-grade gliomas: clinical outcomes by molecular subtype in a phase II study of adjuvant temozolomide. Neuro Oncol. 2017 02 01; 19(2):242-251.
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  7. McMorris T, Hale BJ, Barwood M, Costello J, Corbett J. Effect of acute hypoxia on cognition: A systematic review and meta-regression analysis. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2017 Mar; 74(Pt A):225-232.
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  8. Ohba S, Mukherjee J, Johannessen TC, Mancini A, Chow TT, Wood M, Jones L, Mazor T, Marshall RE, Viswanath P, Walsh KM, Perry A, Bell RJ, Phillips JJ, Costello JF, Ronen SM, Pieper RO. Mutant IDH1 Expression Drives TERT Promoter Reactivation as Part of the Cellular Transformation Process. Cancer Res. 2016 Nov 15; 76(22):6680-6689.
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  9. Viswanath P, Najac C, Izquierdo-Garcia JL, Pankov A, Hong C, Eriksson P, Costello JF, Pieper RO, Ronen SM. Mutant IDH1 expression is associated with down-regulation of monocarboxylate transporters. Oncotarget. 2016 Jun 07; 7(23):34942-55.
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  10. Gu J, Stevens M, Xing X, Li D, Zhang B, Payton JE, Oltz EM, Jarvis JN, Jiang K, Cicero T, Costello JF, Wang T. Mapping of Variable DNA Methylation Across Multiple Cell Types Defines a Dynamic Regulatory Landscape of the Human Genome. G3 (Bethesda). 2016 Apr 07; 6(4):973-86.
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  11. Bell RJ, Rube HT, Xavier-Magalhães A, Costa BM, Mancini A, Song JS, Costello JF. Understanding TERT Promoter Mutations: A Common Path to Immortality. Mol Cancer Res. 2016 Apr; 14(4):315-23.
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  12. Stieglitz E, Taylor-Weiner AN, Chang TY, Gelston LC, Wang YD, Mazor T, Esquivel E, Yu A, Seepo S, Olsen SR, Rosenberg M, Archambeault SL, Abusin G, Beckman K, Brown PA, Briones M, Carcamo B, Cooper T, Dahl GV, Emanuel PD, Fluchel MN, Goyal RK, Hayashi RJ, Hitzler J, Hugge C, Liu YL, Messinger YH, Mahoney DH, Monteleone P, Nemecek ER, Roehrs PA, Schore RJ, Stine KC, Takemoto CM, Toretsky JA, Costello JF, Olshen AB, Stewart C, Li Y, Ma J, Gerbing RB, Alonzo TA, Getz G, Gruber TA, Golub TR, Stegmaier K, Loh ML. Corrigendum: The genomic landscape of juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia. Nat Genet. 2016 Jan; 48(1):101.
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  13. Grimmer MR, Costello JF. Cancer: Oncogene brought into the loop. Nature. 2016 Jan 07; 529(7584):34-5.
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  14. Mazor T, Pankov A, Johnson BE, Hong C, Hamilton EG, Bell RJA, Smirnov IV, Reis GF, Phillips JJ, Barnes MJ, Idbaih A, Alentorn A, Kloezeman JJ, Lamfers MLM, Bollen AW, Taylor BS, Molinaro AM, Olshen AB, Chang SM, Song JS, Costello JF. DNA Methylation and Somatic Mutations Converge on the Cell Cycle and Define Similar Evolutionary Histories in Brain Tumors. Cancer Cell. 2015 Sep 14; 28(3):307-317.
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  15. Bell RJ, Rube HT, Kreig A, Mancini A, Fouse SD, Nagarajan RP, Choi S, Hong C, He D, Pekmezci M, Wiencke JK, Wrensch MR, Chang SM, Walsh KM, Myong S, Song JS, Costello JF. Cancer. The transcription factor GABP selectively binds and activates the mutant TERT promoter in cancer. Science. 2015 May 29; 348(6238):1036-9.
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  16. Zhou X, Li D, Zhang B, Lowdon RF, Rockweiler NB, Sears RL, Madden PA, Smirnov I, Costello JF, Wang T. Epigenomic annotation of genetic variants using the Roadmap Epigenome Browser. Nat Biotechnol. 2015 Apr; 33(4):345-6.
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  17. van Thuijl HF, Mazor T, Johnson BE, Fouse SD, Aihara K, Hong C, Malmström A, Hallbeck M, Heimans JJ, Kloezeman JJ, Stenmark-Askmalm M, Lamfers ML, Saito N, Aburatani H, Mukasa A, Berger MS, Söderkvist P, Taylor BS, Molinaro AM, Wesseling P, Reijneveld JC, Chang SM, Ylstra B, Costello JF. Evolution of DNA repair defects during malignant progression of low-grade gliomas after temozolomide treatment. Acta Neuropathol. 2015 Apr; 129(4):597-607.
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  18. Kundaje A, Meuleman W, Ernst J, Bilenky M, Yen A, Heravi-Moussavi A, Kheradpour P, Zhang Z, Wang J, Ziller MJ, Amin V, Whitaker JW, Schultz MD, Ward LD, Sarkar A, Quon G, Sandstrom RS, Eaton ML, Wu YC, Pfenning AR, Wang X, Claussnitzer M, Liu Y, Coarfa C, Harris RA, Shoresh N, Epstein CB, Gjoneska E, Leung D, Xie W, Hawkins RD, Lister R, Hong C, Gascard P, Mungall AJ, Moore R, Chuah E, Tam A, Canfield TK, Hansen RS, Kaul R, Sabo PJ, Bansal MS, Carles A, Dixon JR, Farh KH, Feizi S, Karlic R, Kim AR, Kulkarni A, Li D, Lowdon R, Elliott G, Mercer TR, Neph SJ, Onuchic V, Polak P, Rajagopal N, Ray P, Sallari RC, Siebenthall KT, Sinnott-Armstrong NA, Stevens M, Thurman RE, Wu J, Zhang B, Zhou X, Beaudet AE, Boyer LA, De Jager PL, Farnham PJ, Fisher SJ, Haussler D, Jones SJ, Li W, Marra MA, McManus MT, Sunyaev S, Thomson JA, Tlsty TD, Tsai LH, Wang W, Waterland RA, Zhang MQ, Chadwick LH, Bernstein BE, Costello JF, Ecker JR, Hirst M, Meissner A, Milosavljevic A, Ren B, Stamatoyannopoulos JA, Wang T, Kellis M. Integrative analysis of 111 reference human epigenomes. Nature. 2015 Feb 19; 518(7539):317-30.
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  19. Elliott G, Hong C, Xing X, Zhou X, Li D, Coarfa C, Bell RJ, Maire CL, Ligon KL, Sigaroudinia M, Gascard P, Tlsty TD, Harris RA, Schalkwyk LC, Bilenky M, Mill J, Farnham PJ, Kellis M, Marra MA, Milosavljevic A, Hirst M, Stormo GD, Wang T, Costello JF. Intermediate DNA methylation is a conserved signature of genome regulation. Nat Commun. 2015 Feb 18; 6:6363.
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  20. Gascard P, Bilenky M, Sigaroudinia M, Zhao J, Li L, Carles A, Delaney A, Tam A, Kamoh B, Cho S, Griffith M, Chu A, Robertson G, Cheung D, Li I, Heravi-Moussavi A, Moksa M, Mingay M, Hussainkhel A, Davis B, Nagarajan RP, Hong C, Echipare L, O'Geen H, Hangauer MJ, Cheng JB, Neel D, Hu D, McManus MT, Moore R, Mungall A, Ma Y, Plettner P, Ziv E, Wang T, Farnham PJ, Jones SJ, Marra MA, Tlsty TD, Costello JF, Hirst M. Epigenetic and transcriptional determinants of the human breast. Nat Commun. 2015 Feb 18; 6:6351.
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