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    Kai Kessenbrock, PhD

    TitleAssistant Research
    SchoolUCSF School of Dentistry
    DepartmentCell and Tissue Biology
    Address513 Parnassus Ave
    San Francisco CA 94143
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      Collapse Biography 
      Collapse Education and Training
      University of California, San FranciscoPostdoctoral StudiesSchool of Medicine/Department of Anatomy
      Max Planck Institute of NeurobiologyPh.D. thesis2009
      University of HeidelbergDiplomaMolecular Biology2003
      Collapse Awards and Honors
      NIH/NCI2014 - 2019K99/R00 Pathway to Independence
      NIH (Stem Cell/iPS Subcommittee)2014Finalist “Earl Stadtman Investigator“ Program
      Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation2009 - 2012Postdoctoral Fellowship
      German Society for Immunology2010Hans Hench Prize for Clinical Immunology
      Schering Foundation2009Avrion Mitchison Prize for Rheumatology
      Rosa Laura and Hartmut Wekerle Foundation/Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, Martinsried, Germany2009Outstanding Paper Award
      Alexander von Humboldt Foundation2008Postdoctoral Fellowship

      Collapse Overview 
      Collapse Overview
      My research is focused on microenvironmental control mechanisms that regulate inflammatory and stem cell behavior in normal homeostasis and disease.

      My interest in microenvironmental control pathways grew out of my graduate and early postdoctoral work, where I concentrated on the role of neutrophil serine proteases as extracellular regulators of inflammation (Kessenbrock et al., 2008, J. Clin. Invest.) and as targets of autoimmunity (Kessenbrock et al., 2009, Nat. Med.).

      My postdoctoral research in Zena Werb's lab at UCSF explored the concept that extracellular proteases such as the matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) may act as modulators of stem cell biology in normal tissue homeostasis and in the breast tumor microenvironment (Kessenbrock et al., 2010, Cell). My most recent work describes a novel molecular mechanism for the regulation of Wnt signaling and mammary stem cell function through MMP3 (Kessenbrock et al., 2013, Cell Stem Cell).

      My current and future research will use systems-based approaches to study the spectrum of heterogeneity within epithelial stem cell populations on a single cell level and will identify novel niche components that extrinsically regulate stem cell behavior in the normal mammary gland and in breast cancer. Ultimately, my research may provide the rationale for the development of novel therapeutic approaches to treat patients suffering from breast cancer.

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