Pedro Lowenstein
Pedro Lowenstein
Professor
pedrol@umich.edu

Research Description

The current focus of my research program is to discover the cellular, molecular, and mathematical basis underlying the growth patterns of malignant brain tumors, and the interactions between cancer cells with the tumor microenvironment, in both experimental models and in human patients suffering from malignant brain tumors.

The current focus of my research program is to discover the cellular, molecular, and mathematical basis underlying the growth patterns of malignant brain tumors, and the interactions between cancer cells with the tumor microenvironment, in both experimental models and in human patients suffering from malignant brain tumors. To do so, we are probing how brain glioma cells migrate throughout the brain and eventually kill the hosts' neurons and glial cells. Understanding the precise molecular basis of glioma tumor cell growth and invasive behavior, will uncover novel therapeutic targets aiming at inactivating the essential mechanisms used by tumors to grow and destroy normal brain tissue, and thus, kill the host. We are studying very early stages of tumor pattern formation using fluorescently labeled glioma cells in combination with in vivo multiphoton imaging technologies. We are also developing endogenous models of brain tumors induced by lentiviral vectors encoding gene products thought to cause human gliomas (e.g., PDGF, Akt and K-ras).

We have discovered that early glioma cells use the existing vascular network as a scaffold, and from there they encircle and kill normal brain cells. As we identify gene products involved in specific glioma behavior, lentiviral mediated gene expression knock-down will enable us to determine which of these play essential roles in glioma tumor formation. In addition, we are dissecting the molecular mechanisms of the anti-glioma immune response, and especially, the mechanisms that limit its clinical effectiveness. These approaches will be used to develop novel therapeutic approaches. My lab recently discovered the formation of tumor antigen specific immunological synapses between activated effector T cells and target tumor cells in an intracranial syngeneic brain tumor model; thus, my group has pioneered the development of immunological tools to be used in the implementation of Phase I clinical trials for malignant brain cancer.

Education

10/1984 — 11/1986 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Psychiatry, The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, The John Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
3/1981 — 9/1984 Postgraduate studies with Prof. D. P. Cardinali Awarded Ph.D. (Medical Sciences [Summa cum laude]) for thesis “Studies on the molecular basis of the mechanism of action of benzodiazepines in the pineal gland and the central nervous syste
3/1976 — 3/1981 MD (Cum laude) School of Medicine, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina
3/1964 — 12/1975 Pestalozzi Schule, Buenos Aires, Argentina