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.
September 1, 2010 - August 31, 2025 - Training Program in Translational Brain Tumor Research , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: T32CA151022
July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2025 - 3-D spatial approach to discover genomic effectors of immunosuppression during malignant transformation , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: R01CA244838
December 1, 2005 - July 31, 2024 - Noninvasive Metabolic Signatures to Improve Management of Molecular Subtypes of Glioma , Co-Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: P01CA118816
September 1, 2017 - May 31, 2022 - Global Analyses of the Placental Epigenome in Preeclampsia , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: R01HD092419
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