Professor and Head, Department of Paediatrics
Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator
Wellcome Trust-MRC Stem Cell Institute
David Rowitch, MD PhD ScD is Professor and Head of Paediatrics at the University of Cambridge, and he holds a joint appointment at UCSF (Pediatrics and Neurological Surgery). He is a neonatologist and neuroscientist whose laboratory investigates genetic factors that determine development and diversity of glial cells of the brain and the response to injury. He has applied these principles to better understand white matter injury in premature infants, brain cancer and leukodystrophy. Rowitch lead the first human clinical trial of direct neural stem cell transplantation focused on the rare and fatal leukodystrophy, Pelizaeus-Merzbacher Disease (PMD).
His work in the field of neurobiology has earned him numerous awards. He became a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator in 2008 and Professor of Paediatrics at Cambridge University and Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator in 2016. His interest in precision medicine focuses on applications of genomic technologies to diagnose and better understand the biological basis and rational treatment of rare neurological disorders.
|1982-1984||UCLA Medical School|
|1984-1987||University of Cambridge (Clare): PhD in Biochemistry|
|1989-2006||Paediatrics and Neonatology, Boston Children’s Hospital, Lab at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School|
|2006-2016||Chief of Neonatology, HHMI investigator|
|2016-||Professor and Head of Paediatrics, University of Cambridge; Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator|
Research interest: CNS Development and Disease
Image from the Rowitch lab taken by Vivi Heine in 2008 shows a collection neural stem cells stained with nestin (green), and Olig2 (red), a marker of glial progenitors. Such cell collections can “self-organize” to generate specialized cell progeny without external instructions.
Key Publications – full list of publications is available on Pubmed
- Bayraktar OA, Bartels T, Holmqvist S, Kleshchevnikov V, Martirosyan A, Polioudakis D, Ben Haim L, Young AMH, Batiuk MY, Prakash K, Brown A, Roberts K, Paredes MF, Kawaguchi R, Stockley JH, Sabeur K, Chang SM, Huang E, Hutchinson P, Ullian EM, Hemberg M, Coppola G, Holt MG, Geschwind DH, Rowitch DH. Astrocyte layers in the mammalian cerebral cortex revealed by a single-cell in situ transcriptomic map. Nat Neurosci. Nature Publishing Group; 2020 Mar 16;8(7641):427–10
- Schirmer L., Velmeshev D., Holmqvist S., Kaufmann M., Werneburg S., Jung D., Vistnes S., Stockley J. H., Young A., Steindel M., Tung B., Goyal N., Bhaduri A., Mayer S., Engler J. B., Bayraktar O. A., Franklin R. J. M., Haeussler M., Reynolds R., Schafer D. P., Friese M. A., Shiow L. R., Kriegstein A. R, Rowitch D.H. Neuronal vulnerability and multilineage diversity in multiple sclerosis. Nature. 2019. PMID: 31316211
- Nobuta H., Yang N., Ng Y.H., Marro S.G., Sabeur K., Chavali M., Stockley J.H., Killilea D.W., Walter P.B., Zhao C., Huie P Jr., Goldman S.A., Kriegstein A.R., Franklin R.J.M., Rowitch D.H., Wernig M. Oligodendrocyte Death in Pelizaeus-Merzbacher Disease Is Rescued by Iron Chelation. Cell Stem Cell. 2019 Oct 3;25(4):531-541. PMID: 31585904
- Yuen TJ, Silbereis JC, Griveau A, Chang SM, Daneman R, Fancy SP, Zahed H, Maltepe E, Rowitch DH. Oligodendrocyte-encoded HIF function couples postnatal myelination and white matter angiogenesis. Cell. 2014 Jul 17;158(2):383-96. Epub 2014 Jul 10. PMCID: PMC4149873
- Molofsky AV, Kelley KW, Tsai HH, Redmond SA, Chang SM, Madireddy L, Chan JR, Baranzini SE, Ullian EM, Rowitch DH. Astrocyte-encoded positional cues maintain sensorimotor circuit integrity. Nature. 2014 May 8;509(7499):189-94. Epub 2014 Apr 28. PMCID: PMC4057936.
- Gupta N, Henry RG, Strober J, Kang SM, Lim DA, Bucci M, Caverzasi E, Gaetano L, Mandelli ML, Ryan T, Perry R, Farrell J, Jeremy RJ, Ulman M, Huhn SL, Barkovich AJ, Rowitch DH*. Neural stem cell engraftment and myelination in the human brain. Sci Transl Med. 2012 Oct 10;4(155):155ra137. PMCID:PMC3893824
- Tsai HH, Li H, Fuentealba LC, Molofsky AV, Taveira-Marques R, Zhuang H, Tenney, A, Murnen AT, Fancy SP, Merkle F, Kessaris N, Alvarez-Buylla A, Richardson WD, Rowitch DH. Regional astrocyte allocation regulates CNS synaptogenesis and repair. Science. 2012 Jul 20;337(6092):358-62. Epub 2012 Jun 28. PMCID: PMC4059181
- Muroyama Y, Fujiwara Y, Orkin SH, Rowitch DH. Specification of astrocytes by bHLH protein SCL in a restricted region of the neural tube. Nature. 2005 Nov 17;438(7066):360-3. PMID:16292311