Tomasz Nowakowski, PhD

Asst Professor in Residence
Anatomy
Psychiatry
Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research
+1 415 476-0878
Research Overview: 

Dr. Nowakowski received his Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh (UK) in 2012, where he developed his passion for understanding molecular mechanisms of brain development. Subsequently, he pursued postdoctoral training at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCSF. In 2017, where he used single cell RNA sequencing to study the heterogeneity of cellular populations in the developing brain and discovered the biomarkers of outer radial glia.

He synthesized the current understanding of brain development and cortical expansion in the Supragranular Cortex Expansion Hypothesis, which extends the classic view of cortical development embodied in the Radial Unit Hypothesis to account for the massive expansion of the cortical OSVZ progenitor population, the protracted neurogenesis period in humans and primates, the loss of pial surface-contacting radial glia fibers mid-way through cortical neurogenesis, and the disproportionate expansion of supragranular cortical layers within primates. This updated model has important implication for neuronal migration, area patterning, and cortical folding.

Dr. Nowakowski established his own research group in 2017. His group seeks to understand how the human genome, a fundamental unit in biology, reproducibly generates the neuronal cell types of the brain that support its complex cognitive functions. In particular, Dr. Nowakowski is fascinated by inherited developmental mechanisms that recapitulate key morphological features of the body plan, while allowing sufficient flexibility to achieve the phenotypic variation we observe in nature. 

Recently developed technologies of single-cell sequencing, genome engineering, and in vitro modeling of tissue development have transformed our ability study the complex universe of cellular processes with unprecedented precision. Dr. Nowakowski’s independent research group seeks to utilize these technologies to uncover genetic control mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental events and tissue organization in the cerebral cortex. These approaches may highlight cellular patterns of selective vulnerability in neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders, including Autism Spectrum Disorders and Schizophrenia.

Primary Thematic Area: 
Neurobiology
Secondary Thematic Area: 
Developmental & Stem Cell Biology
Research Summary: 
Developmental origins of cellular diversity in the nervous system. Molecular and cellular mechanisms of cortical development.

Websites

Publications: 

Tropism of SARS-CoV-2 for human cortical astrocytes.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Andrews MG, Mukhtar T, Eze UC, Simoneau CR, Ross J, Parikshak N, Wang S, Zhou L, Koontz M, Velmeshev D, Siebert CV, Gemenes KM, Tabata T, Perez Y, Wang L, Mostajo-Radji MA, de Majo M, Donohue KC, Shin D, Salma J, Pollen AA, Nowakowski TJ, Ullian E, Kumar GR, Winkler EA, Crouch EE, Ott M, Kriegstein AR

Fate mapping of neural stem cell niches reveals distinct origins of human cortical astrocytes.

Science (New York, N.Y.)

Allen DE, Donohue KC, Cadwell CR, Shin D, Keefe MG, Sohal VS, Nowakowski TJ

Microglial GPR56 is the molecular target of maternal immune activation-induced parvalbumin-positive interneuron deficits.

Science advances

Yu D, Li T, Delpech JC, Zhu B, Kishore P, Koshi T, Luo R, Pratt KJB, Popova G, Nowakowski TJ, Villeda SA, Piao X

The development and evolution of inhibitory neurons in primate cerebrum.

Nature

Schmitz MT, Sandoval K, Chen CP, Mostajo-Radji MA, Seeley WW, Nowakowski TJ, Ye CJ, Paredes MF, Pollen AA

A single-cell atlas of the normal and malformed human brain vasculature.

Science (New York, N.Y.)

Winkler EA, Kim CN, Ross JM, Garcia JH, Gil E, Oh I, Chen LQ, Wu D, Catapano JS, Raygor K, Narsinh K, Kim H, Weinsheimer S, Cooke DL, Walcott BP, Lawton MT, Gupta N, Zlokovic BV, Chang EF, Abla AA, Lim DA, Nowakowski TJ