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2011 Sontag Award Recipient

"The commitment the Sontag Foundation has made to my lab has been essential to every aspect of my research program. Your support during the critical time of my career allowed me to pursue many of the risky concepts/projects that have flourished in my lab and to develop essential collaborations with other Sontag awardees that will continue to push the envelope of innovation."

About DSA-Funded Research

The Deneen Lab seeks to unlock the enigmatic biology surrounding glial cell development and function in the brain. Beginning with developmental gliogenesis, we identified the key transcriptional mechanisms controlling the initiation of gliogenesis in the embryonic CNS. Moving towards function, our recent endeavors focused on decoding the cellular and functional diversity of astrocytes in the adult brain. In both cases, we made fundamental observations about the nature of glial cells and directly applied these paradigms to relevant neurological diseases: brain tumors and white matter injury. Our view of neurological disease as a recapitulation of glial development has allowed us to make critical new observations into disease pathogenesis. Through this we have built an interdisciplinary research program that draws on paradigms from development, disease, physiology, and genomics to better understand the nature of glial cells in the brain.

Current Appointment(s)

Department of Neurosurgery & The Center for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine

  • Professor
  • Dr. Russell J. and Marian K. Blattner Chair



  • University of California, Davis, B.S., Genetics
  • University of California, Los Angeles, Ph.D.
  • California Institute of Technology, Postdoctoral Fellowship