Claudia Petritsch, PhD, UCSF Brain Tumor Center

Claudia Petritsch, PhD

Principal Investigator

Research Interests: brain cancer stem cells, asymmetric cell division, novel tumor suppressor genes

Dr. Petritsch’s laboratory conducts brain tumor research with a focus on stem and progenitor cells. The purpose of this research is to improve our understanding of the formation and development of gliomas

Dr. Petritsch has previously identified novel regulators of asymmetric cell division essential for proper neurogenesis and stem cell self-renewal. The Petritsch lab has recently discovered that normal oligodendrocyte precursor cells undergo asymmetric cell divisions to generate a balanced number of self-renewing and differentiating progeny, and that this process is disrupted in response to oncogenic mutations in premalignant and glioma stem cells. The switch from asymmetric to symmetric division is an important mechanism for tumor initiation and expansive growth. A better understanding of the switch between cell division modes may reveal novel susceptibility points in glioma-initiation cells. 

Currently, the Petritsch lab studies regulators of asymmetric stem cell division as potential tumor suppressors and oncogenes by utilizing knockout mice and orthotopic transplantation models. Therapy-resistant brain cancer stem cells are the likely origin of many primary and recurrent brain tumors, making them an important novel target for brain tumor therapies. The overarching goal is to translate these studies into improved diagnostics and therapies for brain cancer patients by identifying novel and specific molecular targets with the potential to prevent glioma growth. 

Petritsch Lab Website >


Education and Training

1990: MSc, University of Vienna BioCenter, Vienna, Austria
1996: PhD, Institute of Molecular Pathology, Vienna, Austria
1997-2002: Postdoctoral Fellow, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, UCSF
2002-2003: Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Physiology, UCSF
2005-2008: Associate Research Biochemist, Department of Neurological Surgery, UCSF

Academic Positions

2003-2005: Lecturer, Gene Center and Department of Biochemistry, Ludwig-Maximilian-University, Munich, Germany
2009-2014: Assistant Adjunct Professor, Department of Neurological Surgery, UCSF  
2014-Present: Associate Adjunct Professor, Department of Neurological Surgery, UCSF

Selected Awards

2016: Investigator Award, California Research Coordinating Committee
2013: The Childhood Foundation for Brain Tumor Investigator Award
2012: Voices Against Brain Cancer Award
2010: Discovery Award, American Brain Tumor Association
2009: Steward Trust Cancer Research Award, San Francisco
2008: Pilot Research Award, Research Allocation Program (REAC)
2008: National Brain Tumor Foundation (NBTF), Oligodendroglioma award
2008: Individual Investigator Award, Academic Senate
2008: Career Development Research Award, Brain Tumor SPORE
2007: National Brain Tumor Foundation, Oligodendroglioma Brain Tumor Research Grant
2007: Career Development Research Award, Brain Tumor SPORE
2006: IDEA Award, California Breast Cancer Research Program
2005: Bavarian California Technology Award
2005: Award for Outstanding Women in Life Sciences (University of Munich)
2004: German Research Council (DFG), Project Grant SFB #646
2004: Award for Outstanding Women in Life Sciences (University of Munich)
2003: German Research Council (DFG), Project Grant SFB # 413
1999: Human Frontiers Science Program Organization long-term fellowship
1996: European Molecular Biology Organisation long-term fellowship
1994: Federation of European Biochemical Societies short-term fellowship