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2021 Sontag Award Recipient

"The mission to identify and mechanistically understand the parallels between developing brain and brain tumor microenvironment is deeply personal. The support from the Sontag Foundation represents an exciting opportunity for me to pursue a high-risk research project that has been at the core of my interests since the early days of my scientific training."

About DSA-Funded Research

Microglia are immune cells of the brain that protect the neurons from environmental insults. In most cases, when microglia sense damage or viral infection, they become activated and alert the circulating immune system to initiate a response, often called inflammation. However, in brain tumors, microglia are thought to respond to the presence of tumor cells by reducing the immune response. Moreover, many of the molecules produced by microglia are used directly by the tumor cells to proliferate. We believe that understanding the diversity and function of microglia, and their ‘sister’ macrophages, which arrive from the circulation, could reveal strategies for disrupting the interactions that enable and facilitate tumor growth.

Current Appointment(s)
  • Assistant Professor, Departments of Anatomy and Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco
  • Assistant Professor, Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research, University of California, San Francisco
  • The University of Edinburgh, B.Sc., Biological Sciences
  • The University of Edinburgh, Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences
  • University of California, San Francisco, Postdoctoral fellowship, Neurology