People

Principal Investigator

PI

David H. Gutmann, MD, PhD, is the Donald O. Schnuck Family Professor, Vice Chair for Research Affairs in Neurology and Director of the Washington University NF Center

David H. Gutmann, MD, PhD

Dr. Gutmann received his MD and PhD degrees at the University of Michigan Medical School, working as a graduate student in immunogenetics under the guidance of Dr. John Niederhuber. He then received residency training in Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was mentored by Dr. Kenneth Fischbeck in neurogenetics, prior to joining the laboratory of Dr. Francis S. Collins to identify the function of the NF1 gene.

For over 25 years, Dr. Gutmann has cared for children and adults with neurofibromatosis, as well as directed a basic research laboratory focused on using NF as a genetic model system to better understand normal brain and brain tumor development relevant to improving the lives of people with NF and related disorders. His work has been internationally recognized, with numerous honors, including the 2012 Children’s Tumor Foundation Frederich von Recklinghausen award, an R35 Research Program Award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the 2019 Society for Neuro-Oncology Abjihit Guha Award, the 2019 American Academy of Neurology Neuro-Oncology Scientific Award, the 2020 National Neurofibromatosis Network Advocate of Hope Award, the 2020 American Neurological Association George W. Jacoby Award, and Election as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

In addition, Dr. Gutmann was awarded a Alexander von Humboldt Award and a Berlin Institute of Health Einstein Fellowship to establish an international research team focused on NF1 and microglia in Professor Helmut Kettenmann’s laboratory at the Max Delbruck Center in Berlin.

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Faculty

Corina Anastasaki, PhD
Instructor in Neurology

Education:
BS, Genetics, University of York, 2006
PhD in Human Genetics, University of Edinburgh, 2011
Research Focus:
Discovering new approaches (utilizing iPSCs) to identify targets for managing NF1 neuronal dysfunction.

View Dr. Anastasaki’s publications

Staff Scientists

Suzanne Scheaffer, MS

Education:
MS, St. Louis University
Research Focus:
To discover therapies that prevent or improve vision in Nf1 optic glioma mice.

 

Bioinformatics Specialist

Olivia Cobb, MS

Education:
BA, Liberal Arts, Thomas Aquinas College, 2016
MS, Biostatistics, Washington University in St. Louis, 2019
Research Focus:
Bioinformatic analytics for laboratory projects.

 

Technicians

Ji-Kang Chen, MS

Education:
BS, Chang Gung University, China, 2016
MS, State University of New York at Oswego, 2018
MS, National Yang-Ming University, 2019
Research Focus:
Neuronal regulation of pediatric brain tumor formation and growth.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Rasha Barakat, PhD

Education:
M.Sc, Neuroscience, American University of Beirut
PhD in Neurobiology, Université De Paris
Research Focus:
T cell trafficking and stromal interactions in brain tumors.

Alexander Chen, PhD

Education:
BA, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA
PhD in Cancer Biology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Research Focus:
Exploring the role of cell of origin in pediatric brain tumors.

Amanda Costa, PhD

Education:
MS, University of Porto, Portugal
PhD, Max Delbrück Center, Berlin
Research Focus:
Integrative approaches to brain tumor therapy.

Jit Chatterjee, PhD

Education:
BSc, Fergusson College, Pune, India
MSc, MS University Baroda, Gujarat, India
PhD in Neurobiology, Department of Applied Zoology, Mangalore University, Mangalore, India
Research Focus:
The role of T cells in experimental glioma models.

Francesca Manzella, PhD

Education:
M.A. Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Missouri-St. Louis
Ph.D. Neuroscience, University of Colorado – Anschutz Medical Campus
Research Focus:
NF1 regulation of neuronal excitability.

Savannah Sims, PhD

Education:
B.S., Immunology and Medical Microbiology, West Virginia University
Ph.D., Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis, West Virginia University
Research Focus:
Neuronal activity-dependent transcriptional regulation of brain immune function.

Yunshuo “Caroline” Tang, MD, PhD

Education:
BA, University of California, Berkeley, 2005
PhD, University of California, San Francisco, 2015
MD, University of California, San Francisco, 2017
Research Focus:
My research focuses on defining why retinal ganglion cells die in the setting of Nf1 optic glioma, and result in vision loss.  I am using a variety of approaches, including single cell RNA sequencing, to determine which RGC subtypes are most susceptible to optic glioma-induced death, and to leverage these findings to identify new treatments to reduce vision loss.

Graduate Trainees

Elizabeth Cordell, BA

Education:
BA, University of Chicago, 2019
Pursuing medical degree, Washington University School of Medicine
Research Focus:
Immunobiology of pediatric brain tumors

Ethan Hillis, BS

Education:
BS, Washington University, 2021
Pursuing MSBIS, Washington University
Research Focus:
I will be employing single cell and bulk RNA sequencing approaches to study NF1.

Joshua Koleske, BS

Education:
BS, St. Norbert College, 2020
Pursuing medical degree, Washington University School of Medicine
Research Focus:
I will be working on the role of the immune system in brain tumor formation and growth.

Post-Baccalaureate Trainees

Brianna Carman,BS

Education: 
BS, University of Missouri, Columbia
Research Focus:
NF1 function in neurons.

 

Anna Wilson, BS

Education: 
BS, Washington University in St. Louis
Research Focus:
Investigating autism risk genes in NF1.

 

Undergraduate Trainees

Astoria Chao

Education:
Pursuing undergraduate degree, Washington University in St. Louis
Research Focus:
Currently working with Amanda Costa on the brain tumor microenvironment.

Rujuta Idate

Education:
Pursuing undergraduate degree, Washington University in St. Louis
Research Focus:
Currently working with Jit Chatterjee on T cells and brain tumors.

Taylor John-Lewis

Education:
Pursuing undergraduate degree, Washington University in St. Louis
Research Focus:
Currently working with Corina Anastasaki and Anna Wilson on autism risk genes.

Malavika Pillai

Education:
Pursuing undergraduate degree, Washington University in St. Louis
Research Focus:
Currently working with Elizabeth Cordell on microglia and macrophage function.

Kyra Rosen

Education:
Pursuing undergraduate degree at Washington University in St. Louis.
Research Focus:
Analysis of healthcare delivery and NF1.

Ameera Zafar

Education:
Pursuing undergraduate degree, Washington University in St. Louis
Research Focus:
Currently working with Corina Anastasaki on neuronal regulation of cancer.

International NF1 Collaboration

Lab Alumni