Advanced Informatic Methods Reveal New Insights in Neurofibromatosis Type 1

The future of personalized medicine and its application to children and adults with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) relies on the establishment of risk factors to better predict what clinical features are most likely to develop in any given individual. Working with scientists in the Washington University Institute for Informatics (link:, researchers in the Neurofibromatosis […]

Washington University Hope Center Funds New Collaborative Grant on Brain Injury

The relationship between brain injury and brain tumor formation is unclear. To determine whether brain injury can result in the later development of a type of brain tumor, called a glioma, the research laboratories of two Washington University neurologists are joining forces. Dr. Terrance Kummer, an expert in traumatic brain injury and a clinical specialist […]

NFunFest Fundraiser for Washington University NF Center A Rousing Success

Amanda and Brian Walk hosted their annual NFunFest event this fall to support research at the Washington University NF Center. Despite the challenges of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Walks have continued to be ardent supporters of the work ongoing in the center to understand why specific medical problems arise in children and adults with NF1, as […]

Dr. Corina Anastasaki Promoted to Assistant Professor

  Corina Anastasaki, PhD was recently promoted to the rank of Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at the Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Anastasaki obtained her PhD from the University of Edinburgh before completing her postdoctoral research fellowship in the laboratory of David Gutmann. During her postdoctoral fellowship training, she pioneered […]

Asthma may reduce risk of brain tumors — but how?

by Tamara Bhandari (WUSM News Release) Mouse study IDs immune cells as link, points to potential therapeutic approaches There’s not much good that can be said about asthma, a breathing disease in which the airways become narrowed and inflamed. But there’s this: People with asthma seem to be less likely to develop brain tumors than […]

International Virtual NF Tumor Board Launched

The Washington University NF Center in collaboration with Dr. Mohamed Abdelbaki in Pediatric Neuro-Oncology has initiated a virtual International Tumor Board to discuss the management of children and adults with NF. For these quarterly meetings, we leverage the expertise of dedicated specialists in the NF Center, including those in Adult and Pediatric Neurosurgery, Adult and […]

New Autism Gene Discovered Using Human Mini-Brains

Neurodevelopmental disorders are often caused by losses of large pieces of chromosomes containing many genes. This is also true for a subset of individuals with Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) who have severe developmental delays and intellectual disabilities. These NF1 patients often harbor a large deletion involving the NF1 gene on chromosome 17q11.2, termed a total […]

Brain tumors caused by normal neuron activity in mice predisposed to such tumors

Light triggers formation, feeds growth of optic nerve tumors Seeing, hearing, thinking, daydreaming — doing anything at all, in fact — activates neurons in the brain. But for people predisposed to developing brain tumors, the ordinary buzzing of their brains could be a problem. A study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in […]

NF Center Researchers Identify a Universal Change in MPSNT

Dr. Angela Hirbe led a multi-investigator research effort to generate a large collection of patient-derived tumor lines from NF1 patients with the most deadly NF1-associated cancer – malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs).  These human cancer lines were developed from actual human tumors in order to identify the genetic changes that cause these tumors. This […]

NF Center and Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF) Synodos Team Publish Landmark Genomic Study of NF1 Brain Tumors

Dr. Michael Fisher at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Dr. David Gutmann from the Washington University NF Center spearheaded an internal consortium effort to define the genetics of low-grade brain tumors in children with NF1. In their study, involving 25 centers worldwide, they characterized the genetic changes seen in these tumors, and analyzed the importance […]

Star NF Center Student Graduates

Anna Wilson graduated summa cum laude from Washington University and was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Anna completed her honor thesis work in the laboratory of Dr. David Gutmann where she studied sex differences in neurons in mice with a genetic mutation in the neurofibromatosis type 1 gene. Following graduation, Anna will return […]

Gutmann Laboratory Receives A Grant From Ian’s Friends Foundation

The Gutmann laboratory recently was awarded a grant from Ian’s Friends Foundation (IFF) to develop better models of human NF1 low-grade brain tumors (gliomas). In their proposal, this team will be investigating what cells and signals allow human pediatric gliomas to grow in the mouse brain, eliminating a major barrier to the development and deployment […]

NF Clinical Trials Consortium Reports Vision Stabilization Following Everolimus Therapy

The NF Clinical Trials Consortium recently published a study examining vision in children with NF1 and optic pathway gliomas (OPGs) following treatment with Everolimus. Leveraging preclinical studies from the Gutmann laboratory demonstrating that mouse Nf1 optic glioma growth is controlled by activated RAS operating through the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) protein.  Everolimus is an […]

NF Clinical Trials Consortium Identifies a New Therapy for Plexiform Neurofibromas

A recent study spearheaded by Dr. Michael Fisher at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Dr. D. Wade Clapp at Indiana University found that cabozantinib as an effective therapy for NF1-associated plexiform neurofibromas. Using a preclinical mouse model of plexiform neurofibromas, this team showed cabozantinib was effective at reducing mouse tumors. Leveraging these exciting findings, they […]

Ji-Kang Chen Joins the Gutmann Laboratory

Ji-Kang Chen, MS recently joined the research laboratory of NF Center Director, David H. Gutmann, MD, PhD, as a Research Technician. He completed his master’s degree at Taiwan National Yang-Ming University, where he studied how hippocampal nerve cell (neuron) work in the brain. Bringing his expertise in neuron biology to the Gutmann laboratory, Ji-Kang is […]

First Human Models of NF1-Associated Neurofibromas Developed by NF Center Collaborative Team

The most common tumor in children and adults with NF1 is the neurofibroma, a peripheral nerve sheath tumor composed of Schwann-like cells. While mouse models of plexiform neurofibromas have been developed, Dr. Lu Le, Professor of Dermatology at the University of Texas-Southwestern joined forces with Drs. Corina Anastasaki and David Gutmann to develop a human […]

Gutmann Receives Neuro-oncology Scientific Award

David H. Gutmann, MD, PhD, the Donald O. Schnuck Family Professor and Vice Chair for Research affairs in the Department of Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, is a recipient of the 2020 Neuro-oncology Scientific Award from the American Academy of Neurology. The award recognizes singular scientific achievement that has advanced […]

Andrea Goldstein Joins the Gutmann Laboratory

Andrea Goldstein, BS recently joined the research laboratory of NF Center director, David H. Gutmann, MD, PhD, as a Research Technician. She completed medical school at the University of MIssouri in Columbia, and is currently applying to residency programs in Obstetrics/Gynecology. Her prior laboratory experience includes work in the laboratory of Michelle Monje MD, PhD […]

NF Center Trainee Publishes Groundbreaking Study on the Origins of NF1 Optic Gliomas

Dr. Nicole Brossier, Instructor in the Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, recently reported that numerous factors explain why children with NF1 develop optic gliomas. In her study, Dr. Brossier, who is a pediatric neuro-oncologist specializing in the care of children with NF1-associated brain tumors, showed that the cells which […]