Nicole M. Brossier, MD, PhD
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Washington University in St. Louis (WU)
Brain tumors are the most common solid malignancy of childhood, yet we understand little of the risk factors that contribute to their development. Using NF1 as an experimental platform, I have designed a system to study extrinsic factors (maternal and postnatal environmental exposures), intrinsic factors (developmental age, region of the brain, cell type) and genetic mutation interact at the level of the cell of origin to influence pediatric glioma penetrance. My current avenues of investigation include 1) how Nf1 germline mutations differentially affect proliferation and differentiation of stem cell populations, leading to disparate effects on tumor formation, and 2) whether gestational weight gain or maternal obesity impact mutant stem cell populations in the hypothalamus (third ventricular zone) to increase glioma penetrance.