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JCCC Member Directory

James Waschek, Ph.D.
James Waschek, Ph.D.


Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences
Member, JCCC Signal Transduction and Therapeutics Program Area

Contact Information:

(310) 825-0179

Scientific Interest(s):

Research in Dr. James Waschek’s laboratory centers on three broad but related topics:
  1. Central nervous system development, degeneration, injury and repair
  2. Brain tumor pathogenesis
  3. Neuroinflammatory conditions such as multiple sclerosis and maternal inflammation-induced perinatal white matter disease.
Although a past and continuing objective has been to better understand the biological roles of neuropeptides in these processes (especially two related peptides VIP and PACAP), current efforts have expanded considerably to investigate general processes impacted by neuropeptides, including innate immune mechanisms that operate in astrocytes and microglia, adaptive immune mechanisms that involve T-helper subsets and myeloid cells and mechanisms that mediate tumor immunoeradication and immunoescape.

As critical tools in its investigations, Waschek’s laboratory has generated several neuropeptide-deficient and reporter mice and has utilized several transgenic and conditional knockout mouse strains that alter the phenotype of astrocytes and myeloid cells. These have been applied to models of pediatric brain tumors nerve trauma, premature infant white matter injury, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's Disease.

Selected Cancer-Related Publications:

Cohen JR, Resnick DZ, Niewiadomski P, Dong H, Liau LM, Waschek JA. Pituitary adenylyl cyclase activating polypeptide inhibits gli1 gene expression and proliferation in primary medulloblastoma derived tumorsphere cultures. BMC Cancer. 2010 Dec 9;10:676.

Kim WK, Meliton V, Park KW, Hong C, Tontonoz P, Niewiadomski P, Waschek JA, Tetradis S, Parhami F. Negative regulation of Hedgehog signaling by liver X receptors. Mol Endocrinol. 2009 Oct;23(10):1532-43. Epub 2009 Jul 16

Lelievre V, Seksenyan A, Nobuta H, Yong WH, Chhith S, Niewiadomski P, Cohen JR, Dong H, Flores A, Liau LM, Kornblum HI, Scott MP, Waschek JA. Disruption of the PACAP gene promotes medulloblastoma in ptc1 mutant mice. Dev Biol. 2008 Jan 1;313(1):359-70. Epub 2007 Nov 26

Nakano I, Masterman-Smith M, Saigusa K, Paucar AA, Horvath S, Shoemaker L, Watanabe M, Negro A, Bajpai R, Howes A, Lelievre V, Waschek JA, Lazareff JA, Freije WA, Liau LM, Gilbertson RJ, Cloughesy TF, Geschwind DH, Nelson SF, Mischel PS, Terskikh AV, Kornblum HI. Maternal embryonic leucine zipper kinase is a key regulator of the proliferation of malignant brain tumors, including brain tumor stem cells. J Neurosci Res. 2008 Jan;86(1):48-60.

Nemetz N, Abad C, Lawson G, Nobuta H, Chhith S, Duong L, Tse G, Braun J, Waschek JA. Induction of colitis and rapid development of colorectal tumors in mice deficient in the neuropeptide PACAP. Int J Cancer. 2008 Apr 15;122(8):1803-9.