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The Gurdon Institute


2017 BrandAndrea Brand PhD FRS FMedSci, Head of Institute's Wellcome labs, Wellcome Senior Investigator, Herchel Smith Professor of Molecular Biology, Royal Society Darwin Trust Research Professor, Member of the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience.

Europe PMC | Pubmed

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Time to wake up: regulation of stem cell quiescence and proliferation

Stem cell populations in tissues as varied as blood, gut and brain spend much of their time in a mitotically dormant, quiescent, state. A key point of regulation is the decision between quiescence and proliferation. The ability to reactivate neural stem cells in situ raises the prospect of potential future therapies for brain repair after damage or neurodegenerative disease.

Understanding the molecular basis for stem cell reactivation is an essential first step in this quest. In Drosophila, quiescent neural stem cells are easily identifiable and amenable to genetic manipulation, making them a powerful model with which to study the transition between quiescence and proliferation. These stem cells exit quiescence in response to a nutrition-dependent signal from the fat body, a tissue that plays a key role in the regulation of metabolism and growth.

My lab combines cutting-edge genetic and molecular approaches with advanced imaging techniques to study the reactivation of Drosophila neural stem cells in vivo. This enables us to deduce the sequence of events from the level of the organism, to the tissue, the cell, and finally the genome.


Selected publications:

• Hakes AE & Brand AH (2020) Tailless/TLX reverts intermediate neural progenitors to stem cells driving tumourigenesis via repression of asense/ASCL1eLife 2020;9:e53377. 

• Otsuki L & Brand AH (2019) Dorsal-ventral differences in neural stem cell quiescence are induced by p57KIP2/Dacapo. Developmental Cell. 49:293-300.

• Hakes AE, Otsuki L, Brand AH (2018) A newly discovered neural stem cell population is generated by the optic lobe neuroepithelium during embryogenesis in Drosophila melanogasterDevelopment. Sep 25;145(18). doi: 10.1242/dev.166207.

• Otsuki L & Brand AH (2018) Cell cycle heterogeneity directs the timing of neural stem cell activation from quiescence. Science. 360(6384):99-102. 

 • Spéder P & Brand AH (2018) Systemic and local cues drive neural stem cell niche remodelling during neurogenesis in DrosophilaElife. Jan 4;7.  doi: 10.7554/eLife.30413. 

• Cheetham SW & Brand AH (2018) RNA-DamID reveals cell-type-specific binding of roX RNAs at chromatin-entry sites. Nature Structural and Molecular Biology. Jan;25(1):109-114. 

Brand Group Feb 2020


Neha Agarwal • Diana Arman • Maire Brace • Catherine Davidson • Bernardo Delarue Bizzini • Cian Doherty • Alex Donovan • Amy Foreman • Thomas Genais • Leia Judge • Oriol Llora Batlle • Anna Malkowska • Tara Srinivas • Jocelyn Tang • Christine Turner • Rebecca Yakob • Nemira Zilinskaite

Video: Meet Andrea Brand

Andrea explains the key focus of her research in this video, including an animation and shots of the lab.

Watch on YouTube >