Claudia Petritsch PhD

Claudia Petritsch PhDAssociate Professor of Neurological Surgery

Principal Investigator, Brain Tumor Center




Dr. Petritsch’s objective is to elucidate defects in cell division and differentiation of brain cancer stem cells and to distinguish them from normal adult neural stem and progenitor cells. The Petritsch lab utilizes transgenic model organisms and novel cell culture assays to investigate in particular whether defects in asymmetric division of stem and progenitor cells in response to oncogenic mutations are responsible for their neoplastic transformation and the emergence of brain cancer stem cells.

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 adult neural stem cells undergo asymmetric cell divisions to generate glial cells and that this process is disrupted in response to oncogenic mutations in premalignant and glioma stem cells.

Currently, the Petritsch lab is studying regulators of asymmetric stem cell division as potential tumor suppressors and oncogenes by utilizing knock out mice and orthotopic transplantation models. Therapy-resistant brain cancer stem cells are the likely origin of many primary and recurrent brain tumors, thus making them an important novel target for brain tumor therapies. We would like to translate these studies into improved diagnostics and therapies for brain cancer patients by identifying novel and specific molecular targets in glioma stem cells. Read about Dr. Petritsch's current research ►

Education, Training, and Previous Positions

1990: MSc, University of Vienna BioCenter, Vienna, Austria
1996: PhD, University of Vienna BioCenter, Vienna, Austria
1997-2002: Postdoctoral Fellow, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, San Francisco
2002-2003: Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Physiology, University of California, San Francisco
2003-2005: Lecturer, Gene Center and Department of Biochemistry, Ludwig-Maximilian-University, Munich, Germany
2005-2008: Associate Research Biochemist, Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco
2008-Present: Assistant Adjunct Professor, Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco  

Selected Professional Memberships and Appointments

Austrian Scientist and Scholars in North America

Selected Honors and Awards

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

Selected Recent Publications

Daynac M, Petritsch CK. Regulation of Asymmetric Cell Division in Mammalian Neural Stem and Cancer Precursor Cells. Results Probl Cell Differ. 2017;61:375-399. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-53150-2_17. Review. PubMed PMID: 28409314.

Olow A, Mueller S, Yang X, Hashizume R, Meyerowitz J, Weiss W, Resnick AC, Waanders AJ, Stalpers LJ, Berger MS, Gupta N, James CD, Petritsch CK, Haas-Kogan DA. BRAF Status in Personalizing Treatment Approaches for Pediatric Gliomas. Clin Cancer Res. 2016 Nov 1;22(21):5312-5321. Epub 2016 May 23. PubMed PMID: 27217440; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5093033.

Grossauer S, Koeck K, Murphy NE, Meyers ID, Daynac M, Truffaux N, Truong AY, Nicolaides TP, McMahon M, Berger MS, Phillips JJ, James CD, Petritsch CK. Concurrent MEK targeted therapy prevents MAPK pathway reactivation during BRAFV600E targeted inhibition in a novel syngeneic murine glioma model. Oncotarget. 2016 Nov 15;7(46):75839-75853. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.12419. PubMed PMID: 27713119; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5342782.

Andor N, Graham TA, Jansen M, Xia LC, Aktipis CA, Petritsch C, Ji HP, Maley CC. Pan-cancer analysis of the extent and consequences of intratumor heterogeneity. Nat Med. 2016 Jan;22(1):105-13. doi: 10.1038/nm.3984. Epub 2015 Nov 30. PubMed PMID: 26618723.

Bakhoum SF, Kabeche L, Wood MD, Laucius CD, Qu D, Laughney AM, Reynolds GE, Louie RJ, Phillips J, Chan DA, Zaki BI, Murnane JP, Petritsch C, Compton DA. Numerical chromosomal instability mediates susceptibility to radiation treatment. Nat Commun. 2015 Jan 21;6:5990. doi: 10.1038/ncomms6990. PubMed PMID: 25606712; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4516720.

Lerner RG, Grossauer S, Kadkhodaei B, Meyers I, Sidorov M, Koeck K, Hashizume R, Ozawa T, Phillips JJ, Berger MS, Nicolaides T, James CD, Petritsch CK. Targeting a Plk1-Controlled Polarity Checkpoint in Therapy-Resistant Glioblastoma-Propagating Cells. Cancer Res. 2015 Dec 15;75(24):5355-66. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-14-3689. Epub 2015 Nov 16. PubMed PMID: 26573800; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4698003.

Lewis KM, Petritsch C. ASYMMETRIC CELL DIVISION: IMPLICATIONS FOR GLIOMA DEVELOPMENT AND TREATMENT. Transl Neurosci. 2013 Dec;4(4):484-503. PubMed PMID: 25530875; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4269374.

Hashizume R, Andor N, Ihara Y, Lerner R, Gan H, Chen X, Fang D, Huang X, Tom MW, Ngo V, Solomon D, Mueller S, Paris PL, Zhang Z, Petritsch C, Gupta N, Waldman TA, James CD. Pharmacologic inhibition of histone demethylation as a therapy for pediatric brainstem glioma. Nat Med. 2014 Dec;20(12):1394-6. doi: 10.1038/nm.3716. Epub 2014 Nov 17. PubMed PMID: 25401693; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4257862.

Berberoglu MA, Dong Z, Li G, Zheng J, Trejo Martinez Ldel C, Peng J, Wagle M, Reichholf B, Petritsch C, Li H, Pleasure SJ, Guo S. Heterogeneously expressed fezf2 patterns gradient Notch activity in balancing the quiescence, proliferation, and differentiation of adult neural stem cells. J Neurosci. 2014 Oct 15;34(42):13911-23. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1976-14.2014. PubMed PMID: 25319688; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4198537.

Lerner RG, Petritsch C. A microRNA-operated switch of asymmetric-to-symmetric cancer stem cell divisions. Nat Cell Biol. 2014 Mar;16(3):212-4. doi: 10.1038/ncb2924. PubMed PMID: 24576899.

Andor N, Harness JV, Müller S, Mewes HW, Petritsch C. EXPANDS: expanding ploidy and allele frequency on nested subpopulations. Bioinformatics. 2014 Jan 1;30(1):50-60. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btt622. Epub 2013 Oct 30. PubMed PMID: 24177718; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3866558.

Wade A, Robinson AE, Engler JR, Petritsch C, James CD, Phillips JJ. Proteoglycans and their roles in brain cancer. FEBS J. 2013 May;280(10):2399-417. doi: 10.1111/febs.12109. Epub 2013 Feb 6. Review. PubMed PMID: 23281850; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3644380.

Gómez-López S, Lerner RG, Petritsch C. Asymmetric cell division of stem and progenitor cells during homeostasis and cancer. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2014 Feb;71(4):575-97. doi: 10.1007/s00018-013-1386-1. Epub 2013 Jun 15. Review. PubMed PMID: 23771628; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3901929.

Sugiarto S, Persson AI, Munoz EG, Waldhuber M, Lamagna C, Andor N, Hanecker P, Ayers-Ringler J, Phillips J, Siu J, Lim DA, Vandenberg S, Stallcup W, Berger MS, Bergers G, Weiss WA, Petritsch C. Asymmetry-defective oligodendrocyte progenitors are glioma precursors. Cancer Cell. 2011 Sep 13;20(3):328-40. doi: 10.1016/j.ccr.2011.08.011. PubMed PMID: 21907924; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3297490.

Ouyang Y, Petritsch C, Wen H, Jan L, Jan YN, Lu B. Dronc caspase exerts a non-apoptotic function to restrain phospho-Numb-induced ectopic neuroblast formation in Drosophila. Development. 2011 Jun;138(11):2185-96. doi: 10.1242/dev.058347. PubMed PMID: 21558368; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3091490.