Petritsch Lab Team
Claudia K. Petritsch, Ph.D
Dr. Petritsch is an Associate Professor in Research at the Department of Neurosurgery, affiliated faculty member at the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute and the Stanford Bio-X program. She directs the Petritsch research team and the fresh tissue collection core in Neurosurgery.
Claudia earned her PhD (Dr. rer.nat) at the Institute for Molecular Pathology (IMP) in Vienna, where she trained in cancer signaling, and conducted postdoctoral studies on neural stem cells and asymmetric cell division in the Lab of Dr. Yuh Nung Jan at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and University of San Francisco, California. After two years as an instructor and head of a research team in Munich, Germany, Dr. Petritsch returned to UCSF to conduct research in oligodendrocyte progenitor cells, angiogenesis and immune regulation in glioma. Dr. Petritsch is an expert in brain stem and progenitor and glioma biology, in vitro and in vivo model development and tumor-immune interactions. Her research identified conserved mechanisms of cell fate determination in mammalian brain progenitors and led to a paradigm shift in understanding how brain progenitor cells self-renew and differentiate. She guided the generation and distribution of several immune competent mouse models for studies of the glioma immune microenvironment.
PostDocs - Scientists
Dena Panovska, PhD
Dena completed her undergraduate studies in Molecular Biology and Genetics at University of Skopje, North Macedonia and Sofia University, Bulgaria, respectively. In 2017, her keen interest in cancer cell biology and neuroscience landed her a PhD project at KU Leuven in Belgium, focused on developing a functional medicine assay for glioblastoma (GBM). During her doctoral engagement, she developed an approach for isolating and ex vivo treating tumor cells from patients' biopsy samples, whereby she recorded the drug sensitivity profiles by utilizing mass cytometry by-time-of-flight (CyTOF) measurements. By correlating the single-cell protein measurements with viability assays in glioblastoma patient-derived cell lines, Dena and her teammates could develop a computational algorithm that predicts the extent of sensitivity of each cell towards radiotherapy and targeted agents. By utilizing this approach on patient-derived xenograft models, Dena could demonstrate the impact of functional medicine assays in aiding the precision medicine paradigm of matching the right treatment to the right patient.
In October 2023, Dena will join the Petritsch lab as a postdoctoral fellow. She will focus her research on asymmetric cell division (ACD) in oligodendrocyte precursors (OPCs) as glioma cells-of-origin and their resistance. More specifically, she will try to map the regulatory mechanisms of ACD and therapeutic strategies to overcome resistance. To achieve her goal, she will use the ample resources of the lab, such as the invaluable patient-derived in vitro and in vivo models, gene-editing and single cell technologies.
Fun fact: Loves traveling, exploring, sports,cooking and will dogsit for free!
Lulu Xing, PhD
Lulu received her undergraduate degree in Biomedicine from the University of Melbourne in Melbourne, Australia. In December 2016, Lulu was awarded a PhD degree in neuroscience from the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, the University of Melbourne, where she identified a major underappreciated role for subventricular zone-derived neural precursor cells in the process of myelin regeneration after demyelinating injury. Since late 2016, Lulu worked at Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute, Monash University as a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Tobias Merson’s group, with a focus on developing mouse models to study the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying myelination mediated by distinct types of endogenous brain stem cells in health and disease. In particular, Lulu developed a novel mouse model of conditional OPC ablation, which could be adopted in different contexts to further advance our knowledge and understanding of OPC biology. Lulu will join the Petritsch lab in mid-October 2022 as a research scientist, seeking to understand the role of OPCs in the development of glioma as tumour-initiating cells and how they are regulated by complex interactions with several cell types within the tumour microenvironment, using a combination of transgenic mouse models, advanced imaging techniques and single cell biology approaches.
Fun fact: Lulu enjoys creative painting, photography, musicals and reading books on Asian history and philosophy in her spare time.
Bryce Bagley, BS, MS, MD Candidate
Bryce is a first-year medical student at Stanford working on the development of novel mathematical tools for understanding complex biological processes, and on integrating both these novel methods and existing methods into basic bioscience and translational biomedical research. Specifically, he is focused on complex systems science and inference methods for studying clinical and biological features of the brain pathologies studied in the Petritsch lab. This is a new area of research in the lab, which Bryce is spearheading.
His work additionally includes data analysis for experimental projects in the lab, and mathematics education within medicine. Bryce’s secondary research advisor is Dr. Michael Lim, also of the neurosurgery department.
Before joining the lab he did research in computational molecular physics at UCSF, optimization and quantum computing at Princeton, high-performance computing methods for computational neuroscience at WUStL, theoretical physics and eco-evolutionary dynamics in the Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics, and machine learning for neuroimaging at Stanford Medical School. His prior education was in graduate school in theoretical physics at Stanford, and as an undergraduate he attended Washington University in St. Louis studying biophysics, computer science, and systems engineering.
Collaborators: The Treehouse Initiative led by Dr. Olena Vaske at UCSC, and locally at Stanford Dr. Michael Lim in the Department of Neurosurgery, Dr. Olivier Gevaert in the Department of Biomedical Data Science, and Dr. Mykel Kochenderfer in the Departments of Computer Science and Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering.
Fun fact: In high school Bryce was a professional playwright.
Cesar is a Stanford medical student who is working on projects related to understanding drivers of tumor cell invasion in high-grade pediatric gliomas. He graduated from Yale in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in cellular biology. Outside of lab, Cesar enjoys reading, breakdancing, and exploring hip hop related events in the Bay area.
Maria Isabel Guinle
Emon Nasajpour (currently on leave)
Emon is a third-year medical student at the Florida State University College of Medicine who had dreams of pursuing a career as a researcher and neurosurgeon or neurologist as far back as he can remember. He previously worked with Dr. Michael Waters at the University of Florida conducting research on SCA-13. He was a caretaker for a woman with Alzheimer’s Disease in New York City and helped her adhere to a protocol developed by Dr. Dale Bredesen at UCLA. This experience has further shaped his interest in neurological diseases. After completing two years of medical school, and various roles, he built interests in various specialties of medicine and is now taking a year off from medical school to conduct research in the Petritsch Laboratory. In the Petritsch lab, Emon coordinates the patient-derived model development, and he spends his days often interrogating and assembling patient-databases, surgical schedules, and enjoys communicating with neurosurgeons, the OR staff, picking up tissue from the OR, processing it for cell culture and xenograft development. He conducts research in collaboration with the UC Santa Cruz group identifying gene outliers in the RNA expression profile of patients with brain tumors undergoing surgery and treatment at Stanford. He validates the drug sensitivities in patient-matched and -derived tumor cells from and looks for novel therapeutic approaches to prevent tumor recurrence and overcome therapy resistance. Over the next few months, he will extend this approach to more patients, and envisions completing a full bedside-to bench-to bedside circle by gathering sufficient in vitro and in vivo data (in mouse models) to make personalized treatment recommendations for children with brain tumors who are not responding to standard of care.
Collaborators: The Treehaus Inivitative at UCSC headed by Dr. Olena Vaske; Drs. Grant, Mahaney, Hong, and Prolo (pediatric neurosurgery);
Fun Fact: Emon plays competitive table tennis, and breeds and shows South African Boer Goats with his Dad.
Brandon is a second-year undergraduate student at Stanford University. He is studying Human Biology with a focus on Neuroscience and Neurobiology and hopes to also explore Computer Science through the Coterminal program at Stanford. He joined the Petritsch Lab in April 2023 to do research on brain tumors through animal work. In the future, he plans to attend medical school and/or pursues a PhD. Outside of the classroom, he likes to play soccer, play bassoon, go to the beach, and eat good food. His favorite foods are Korean BBQ, Mongolian BBQ, sushi, and pizza.
Heena is a freshman studying biomedical computation at Stanford University. She is passionate about applying computational tools to healthcare and medicine. Currently she works on cell image analysis in the Petritsch Lab. She hopes to continue applying computational tools to gain a deeper understanding of tumors and how to apply that for improved therapies/medication. She is also involved in Stanford’s students in Biodesign club where she writes about current technologies in medicine.
Daniella Elise Morales
Daniella is a junior at Stanford University majoring in Biomedical Computation. She joined the Petritsch Lab in Spring 2023 and will be working on analyses of gene expression programs to identify mechanisms for tumor progression and therapy resistance. Following undergraduate studies, she plans to attend medical school and/or pursues a PhD. Outside of the lab, Daniella enjoys playing the ukulele, walking dogs, and scuba diving.
Troy is a junior studying Symbolic Systems with a minor in Comparative Literature. He has worked in the lab for two years, primarily on cell lines for modeling pediatric tumor progression and his is interested in pediatric oncology and volunteer medicine.
Postdoctoral scholars (since 2020)
Mathieu Daynac (2015-2020); current position: UCSF, Assistant Researcher
Anne-Marie Barrette (2021-2022); current position: TrueBinding, Scientist Oncology
Jong-whi Park (2020-2023); current position: Gachon University, South Korea, Assistant Professor in Neuro-oncology
Yoko Hirata (2019-2022); current position: UCSF, Neurosurgery
Hope Lancero (2021-2023); current position: Stanford, Pediatrics
Natalie Pedicino, Master student (2020-2022); current position: UCSC, graduate student researcher PBSE/MCD track
Noemi Andor, Master and Graduate student (2011-2015); current position: Assistant professor, Moffit Cancer Center
Alexa Gwyn (2019-2023), Vassar Summer Program; current position: Vassar U undergraduate
Gianna Perez (07-12/2022), CCOP student
Eden Gibson (2021-2023), current position: Stanford, clinical neuroscience research associate
Caitlynn Tran (2021-2023), VPUE, Bio-X, fellowship; current position: Stanford U undergraduate
Navin Khoshnan (2022-2023), current position: Claremont Graduate University, applied mathematics student
Joyce Lu (2022-2023), current position, UC Berkeley undergraduate
Katrina Maynard (2022)(@Ross please check her name from the previous website)
Ashika Maniam (2022), current position: UC Davis undergraduate
Ameera Waterford (2021), Bio-X fellowship, current position: Stanford U
Alex Washburn (2019); current position: Bowdoin U undergraduate