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Joanna J. Phillips, MD, PhD

Research and Clinical Interests

Our laboratory is focused on understanding how invading brain tumor cells interact with the components of the tumor microenvironment, and how these key interactions influence glioma initiation, progression, and invasion. We use both in vivo and ex vivo model systems to study the interaction between tumor cells and the microenvironment including microglia, macrophages, reactive astrocytes, and the extracellular matrix. These studies will hopefully lead to the identification of novel therapeutic targets. In addition, using primary human brain tumors we are investigating potential diagnostic and prognostic brain tumor biomarkers.

Selected Publications

  • 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. PMID: 23281850
  • Phillips JJ, Aranda D, Ellison DW, Judkins AR, Croul SE, Brat DJ, Ligon KL, Horbinski C, Venneti S, Zadeh G, Santi M, Zhou S, Appin CL, Sioletic S, Sullivan LM, Martinez-Lage M, Robinson AE, Yong WH, Cloughesy T, Lai A, Phillips HS, Marshall R, Mueller S, Haas-Kogan DA, Molinaro AM, Perry A. PDGFRA amplification is common in pediatric and adult high-grade astrocytomas and identifies a poor prognostic group in IDH1 mutant glioblastoma. Brain Pathol. 2013. Feb 25.
  • Phillips JJ, Huillard E, Robinson A, Ward A, Lum DH, Polley M-Y, Rosen SD, Rowitch DH, Werb Z. Heparan Sulfate Sulfatase SULF2 Regulates PDGFR Signalling and Growth in Human and Mouse Malignant Glioma. J Clin Invest. 2012 Mar:122(3). PMID: 22293178.
  • Elkhaled A, Jalbert LE, Phillips JJ, Yoshihara HAI, Parvataneni R, Srinivasan R, Bourne G, Berger MS, Chang SM, Cha S, Nelson SJ. Magnetic Resonance of 2-Hydroxyglutarate in IDH1-mutated Low-grade Gliomas. Sci Transl Med. 2012 Jan 11; 4(116).
  • Engler JR, Robinson AE, Smirnov I, Hodgson JG, Berger MS, Gupta N, James CD, Molinaro A, Phillips JJ. Increased microglia/macrophage gene expression in a subset of adult and pediatric astrocytomas. PLoS One. 2012; 7(8):e43339. PMID: 22937035. PMC3425586.
  • Huillard E, Hashizume R, Phillips JJ, Griveau A, Ihrie RA, Aoki Y, Nicolaides T, Perry A, Waldman T, McMahon M, Weiss WA, Petritsch C, James CD, Rowitch DH. Cooperative interactions of BRAFV600E kinase and CDKN2A locus deficiency in pediatric malignant astrocytoma as a basis for rational therapy. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 May 14. PMID 22586120. PMC3365162.
  • Goldhoff P, Clarke J, Smirnov I, Berger MS, Prados MD, James CD, Perry A, Phillips JJ. Clinical stratification of glioblastoma based on alterations in retinoblastoma tumor suppressor protein (RB1) and association with the proneural subtype. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2011 Dec 12. PMID: 22157621. PMC3246124
  • 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. PMID: 21907924.

Selected Awards

  • 1993-94: Hughes Scholars Program, Cornell University
  • 2001: Stuart Mudd Award in Microbiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
  • 2005: Moore Award, best paper on Clinico-Pathological Correlation, AANP annual meeting
  • 2006: Young Pathologist Fellowship, ASIP annual meeting
  • 2008: Rubinstein Award, best paper on Neuro-Oncology, AANP annual meeting
  • 2008-2013: NIH Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Award (K08)
  • 2010: Aspen Cancer Conference Fellow
  • 2012: Second place, Moore Award, Best paper on clinico-pathological correlation, Annual meeting American Association of Neuropathologists
  • 2013: Nominated for University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine Essential Core Teaching Award

Additional Information

Joanna J. Phillips, MD, PhD
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery and Pathology; Director of the Brain Tumor Research Center Tissue Bank
  • Neurological Surgery and Pathology
  • Neuropathology

Specialty Area

Neuro-Oncology Research and Neuropathology Autopsy

Contact Information

Mailing/Shipping Address:

  • UCSF
  • Joanna J. Phillips, MD, PhD
  • Pathology, Box 0520
  • 1450 3rd Street, Room HD492B
  • San Francisco, CA 94143

Web Sites

Other UCSF Organizational Association(s)

  • Biomedical Graduate Group
  • Brain Tumor Research Center (BTRC); Neuropathology BTRC Biomarkers Laboratory
  • UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Hospital Affiliation(s)

  • Moffitt-Long
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