University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Katja Brueckner, PhD

Katja Brueckner, PhD

Associate Professor, Dept. of Cell and Tissue Biology; Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research, UCSF

Cancer Center Program Memberships

Hematopoietic Malignancies

Research Summary

The Brueckner lab addresses fundamental questions in development, homeostasis, and malignant disease, studying paradigms in the invertebrate genetic model organism Drosophila melanogaster. Current research focuses on cell signaling, the role of the microenvironment, hematopoiesis, innate immunity, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, and organ development.


  • Max-Planck-Institute for Biochemistry and Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Dipl. Biol., 1994, Genetics, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Medical Microbiology
  • European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Heidelberg, and University of Heidelberg, Ph.D., 1994-1999, Cell Signaling
  • European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Heidelberg, Postdoc, 1999-2000, Developmental Biology and Cell Signaling
  • Harvard Medical School, Boston, Postdoc, 2000-2006, Developmental Biology and Cell Signaling

Honors & Awards

  • 1994
    Dipl. Biol. (equivalent BS and MS), highest mark
  • 1999
    Ph.D., summa cum laude
  • 1994-1999
    EMBL Predoctoral Fellow
  • 2000-2001
    Howard Hughes Medical Institute Associate
  • 2001
    EMBO Long-Term Fellow
  • 2001-2006
    HFSP Long-Term Fellow
  • 2003-2007
    The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Special Fellow
  • 2005
    Brian P. O'Dell Memorial Research Award from The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
  • 2011
    Hellman Fellows Program Scholar
  • 2013
    American Cancer Society Research Scholar

Selected Publications

  1. Sanchez Bosch P, Makhijani K, Herboso L, Gold KS, Baginsky R, Woodcock KJ, Alexander B, Kukar K, Corcoran S, Jacobs T, Ouyang D, Wong C, Ramond EJV, Rhiner C, Moreno E, Lemaitre B, Geissmann F, Brückner K. Adult Drosophila Lack Hematopoiesis but Rely on a Blood Cell Reservoir at the Respiratory Epithelia to Relay Infection Signals to Surrounding Tissues. Dev Cell. 2019 12 16; 51(6):787-803.e5.
    View on PubMed
  2. Brückner K. Renal Function: Guardian of Immune Homeostasis. Immunity. 2019 10 15; 51(4):596-598.
    View on PubMed
  3. Makhijani K, Alexander B, Rao D, Petraki S, Herboso L, Kukar K, Batool I, Wachner S, Gold KS, Wong C, O'Connor MB, Brückner K. Regulation of Drosophila hematopoietic sites by Activin-ß from active sensory neurons. Nat Commun. 2017 07 27; 8:15990.
    View on PubMed
  4. Fogarty CE, Diwanji N, Lindblad JL, Tare M, Amcheslavsky A, Makhijani K, Brückner K, Fan Y, Bergmann A. Extracellular Reactive Oxygen Species Drive Apoptosis-Induced Proliferation via Drosophila Macrophages. Curr Biol. 2016 Mar 07; 26(5):575-84.
    View on PubMed
  5. Sopko R, Lin YB, Makhijani K, Alexander B, Perrimon N, Brückner K. A systems-level interrogation identifies regulators of Drosophila blood cell number and survival. PLoS Genet. 2015 Mar; 11(3):e1005056.
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  6. Petraki, S., Alexander, B., Brückner, K... Assaying blood cell populations of the Drosophila melanogaster larva. Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE). 2015; (In press).
    View on PubMed
  7. Gold KS, Brückner K. Drosophila as a model for the two myeloid blood cell systems in vertebrates. Exp Hematol. 2014 Aug; 42(8):717-27.
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  8. Xu J, Wang AH, Oses-Prieto J, Makhijani K, Katsuno Y, Pei M, Yan L, Zheng YG, Burlingame A, Brückner K, Derynck R. Arginine Methylation Initiates BMP-Induced Smad Signaling. Mol Cell. 2013 Jul 11; 51(1):5-19.
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  9. Makhijani K, Brückner K. Of blood cells and the nervous system: hematopoiesis in the Drosophila larva. Fly (Austin). 2012 Oct-Dec; 6(4):254-60.
    View on PubMed
  10. Kelsey EM, Luo X, Brückner K, Jasper H. Schnurri regulates hemocyte function to promote tissue recovery after DNA damage. J Cell Sci. 2012 Mar 15; 125(Pt 6):1393-400.
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  11. Brückner K. Blood cells need glia, too: a new role for the nervous system in the bone marrow niche. Cell Stem Cell. 2011 Dec 02; 9(6):493-5.
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  12. Makhijani K, Alexander B, Tanaka T, Rulifson E, Brückner K. The peripheral nervous system supports blood cell homing and survival in the Drosophila larva. Development. 2011 Dec; 138(24):5379-91.
    View on PubMed
  13. Kockel L, Kerr KS, Melnick M, Brückner K, Hebrok M, Perrimon N. Dynamic switch of negative feedback regulation in Drosophila Akt-TOR signaling. PLoS Genet. 2010 Jun 17; 6(6):e1000990.
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  14. Brückner K, Kockel L, Duchek P, Luque CM, Rørth P, Perrimon N. The PDGF/VEGF receptor controls blood cell survival in Drosophila. Dev Cell. 2004 Jul; 7(1):73-84.
    View on PubMed
  15. Labrador JP, Azcoitia V, Tuckermann J, Lin C, Olaso E, Mañes S, Brückner K, Goergen JL, Lemke G, Yancopoulos G, Angel P, Martínez C, Klein R. The collagen receptor DDR2 regulates proliferation and its elimination leads to dwarfism. . 2001 May; 2(5):446-52.
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  16. Brückner K, Perez L, Clausen H, Cohen S. Glycosyltransferase activity of Fringe modulates Notch-Delta interactions. Nature. 2000 Jul 27; 406(6794):411-5.
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  17. Brückner K, Pablo Labrador J, Scheiffele P, Herb A, Seeburg PH, Klein R. EphrinB ligands recruit GRIP family PDZ adaptor proteins into raft membrane microdomains. Neuron. 1999 Mar; 22(3):511-24.
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  18. Brückner K, Klein R. Signaling by Eph receptors and their ephrin ligands. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 1998 Jun; 8(3):375-82.
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  19. Brückner K, Pasquale EB, Klein R. Tyrosine phosphorylation of transmembrane ligands for Eph receptors. Science. 1997 Mar 14; 275(5306):1640-3.
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  20. Brambilla R, Brückner K, Orioli D, Bergemann AD, Flanagan JG, Klein R. Similarities and differences in the way transmembrane-type ligands interact with the Elk subclass of Eph receptors. Mol Cell Neurosci. 1996; 8(2-3):199-209.
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