Honors & Awards

  • National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation (2009)
  • National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship, Department of Defense (2010)

Professional Education

  • Bachelor of Arts, Brandeis University, Biology (2006)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Stanford University, CANBI-PHD (2016)
  • PhD, Stanford, Genetics, Cancer Biology (2015)

Stanford Advisors

All Publications

  • Single-Cell Transcriptomic Analysis Defines Heterogeneity and Transcriptional Dynamics in the Adult Neural Stem Cell Lineage. Cell reports Dulken, B. W., Leeman, D. S., Boutet, S. C., Hebestreit, K., Brunet, A. 2017; 18 (3): 777-790


    Neural stem cells (NSCs) in the adult mammalian brain serve as a reservoir for the generation of new neurons, oligodendrocytes, and astrocytes. Here, we use single-cell RNA sequencing to characterize adult NSC populations and examine the molecular identities and heterogeneity of in vivo NSC populations. We find that cells in the NSC lineage exist on a continuum through the processes of activation and differentiation. Interestingly, rare intermediate states with distinct molecular profiles can be identified and experimentally validated, and our analysis identifies putative surface markers and key intracellular regulators for these subpopulations of NSCs. Finally, using the power of single-cell profiling, we conduct a meta-analysis to compare in vivo NSCs and in vitro cultures, distinct fluorescence-activated cell sorting strategies, and different neurogenic niches. These data provide a resource for the field and contribute to an integrative understanding of the adult NSC lineage.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.12.060

    View details for PubMedID 28099854

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5269583

  • Stem cells: Sex specificity in the blood. Nature Leeman, D. S., Brunet, A. 2014; 505 (7484): 488-490

    View details for DOI 10.1038/505488a

    View details for PubMedID 24451537

  • FOXO3 Shares Common Targets with ASCL1 Genome-wide and Inhibits ASCL1-Dependent Neurogenesis. Cell reports Webb, A. E., Pollina, E. A., Vierbuchen, T., Urbán, N., Ucar, D., Leeman, D. S., Martynoga, B., Sewak, M., Rando, T. A., Guillemot, F., Wernig, M., Brunet, A. 2013; 4 (3): 477-491


    FOXO transcription factors are central regulators of longevity from worms to humans. FOXO3, the FOXO isoform associated with exceptional human longevity, preserves adult neural stem cell pools. Here, we identify FOXO3 direct targets genome-wide in primary cultures of adult neural progenitor cells (NPCs). Interestingly, FOXO3-bound sites are enriched for motifs for bHLH transcription factors, and FOXO3 shares common targets with the proneuronal bHLH transcription factor ASCL1/MASH1 in NPCs. Analysis of the chromatin landscape reveals that FOXO3 and ASCL1 are particularly enriched at the enhancers of genes involved in neurogenic pathways. Intriguingly, FOXO3 inhibits ASCL1-dependent neurogenesis in NPCs and direct neuronal conversion in fibroblasts. FOXO3 also restrains neurogenesis in vivo. Our study identifies a genome-wide interaction between the prolongevity transcription factor FOXO3 and the cell-fate determinant ASCL1 and raises the possibility that FOXO3's ability to restrain ASCL1-dependent neurogenesis may help preserve the neural stem cell pool.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.celrep.2013.06.035

    View details for PubMedID 23891001

  • EXEL-8232, a small-molecule JAK2 inhibitor, effectively treats thrombocytosis and extramedullary hematopoiesis in a murine model of myeloproliferative neoplasm induced by MPLW515L LEUKEMIA Wernig, G., Kharas, M. G., Mullally, A., Leeman, D. S., Okabe, R., George, T., Clary, D. O., Gilliland, D. G. 2012; 26 (4): 720-727


    About 10% of patients with essential thrombocythemia (ET) or myelofibrosis (MF) that lack mutations in JAK2 harbor an activating mutation in the thrombopoietin receptor, MPLW515L. Distinct from the JAK2V617F retroviral transplant model, the MPLW515L model recapitulates many features of ET and MF, including severe fibrosis and thrombocytosis. We have tested EXEL-8232, an experimental potent JAK2 inhibitor, for efficacy in suppression of thrombocytosis in vivo and for its ability to attenuate MPLW515L myeloproliferative disease. EXEL-8232 was administered for 28 days q12 h by oral gavage at doses of 30 or 100 mg/kg, prospectively. Animals treated with EXEL-8232 at 100 mg/kg had normalized high platelet counts, eliminated extramedullary hematopoiesis in the spleen and eliminated bone marrow fibrosis, whereas the wild-type controls did not develop thrombocytopenia. Consistent with a clinical response in this model, we validated surrogate end points for response to treatment, including a reduction of endogenous colony growth and signaling inhibition in immature erythroid and myeloid primary cells both in vitro and upon treatment in vivo. We conclude that EXEL-8232 has efficacy in treatment of thrombocytosis in vivo in a murine model of ET and MF, and may be of therapeutic benefit for patients with MPL-mutant MPN.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/leu.2011.261

    View details for Web of Science ID 000302788300019

    View details for PubMedID 22005786

  • Members of the H3K4 trimethylation complex regulate lifespan in a germline-dependent manner in C. elegans NATURE Greer, E. L., Maures, T. J., Hauswirth, A. G., Green, E. M., Leeman, D. S., Maro, G. S., Han, S., Banko, M. R., Gozani, O., Brunet, A. 2010; 466 (7304): 383-U137


    The plasticity of ageing suggests that longevity may be controlled epigenetically by specific alterations in chromatin state. The link between chromatin and ageing has mostly focused on histone deacetylation by the Sir2 family, but less is known about the role of other histone modifications in longevity. Histone methylation has a crucial role in development and in maintaining stem cell pluripotency in mammals. Regulators of histone methylation have been associated with ageing in worms and flies, but characterization of their role and mechanism of action has been limited. Here we identify the ASH-2 trithorax complex, which trimethylates histone H3 at lysine 4 (H3K4), as a regulator of lifespan in Caenorhabditis elegans in a directed RNA interference (RNAi) screen in fertile worms. Deficiencies in members of the ASH-2 complex-ASH-2 itself, WDR-5 and the H3K4 methyltransferase SET-2-extend worm lifespan. Conversely, the H3K4 demethylase RBR-2 is required for normal lifespan, consistent with the idea that an excess of H3K4 trimethylation-a mark associated with active chromatin-is detrimental for longevity. Lifespan extension induced by ASH-2 complex deficiency requires the presence of an intact adult germline and the continuous production of mature eggs. ASH-2 and RBR-2 act in the germline, at least in part, to regulate lifespan and to control a set of genes involved in lifespan determination. These results indicate that the longevity of the soma is regulated by an H3K4 methyltransferase/demethylase complex acting in the C. elegans germline.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nature09195

    View details for Web of Science ID 000279867100052

    View details for PubMedID 20555324

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3075006