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We are celebrating 20 years of science impact

Tomasz Nowakowski, Ph.D.

University of California, San Francisco


Tomasz Nowakowski is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Anatomy and Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). During his doctoral studies with David Price at the University of Edinburgh, he interrogated the role of microRNAs in radial glia maturation and neurogenesis. As a postdoctoral fellow with Arnold Kriegstein at UCSF, Tom used single cell mRNA sequencing to characterize cellular diversity in the developing brain. Three critical insights that emerged from his studies include the molecular characterization of outer and truncated radial glia subtypes in the developing neocortex, description of the radial glia scaffold transformation occurring mid-neurogenesis, and the discovery of cortical area-specific excitatory neurons emerging prior to sensory experience. Based on his findings, he proposed the “Supragranular Expansion Hypothesis” model of human cortical development, as well as a model of topographic hierarchy of neurodevelopmental programs that underlie the emergence of area-specific excitatory neuron subtypes. Tom’s laboratory investigates the development of the human cerebral cortex using high throughput single cell genomics approaches with the generous support from BRAIN Initiative Cell Census Network, NIH psychENCODE Consortium, the Psychiatric Cell Map Initiative, NARSAD Young Investigator Award, and the Simons Foundation for Autism Research Bridge to Independence Award. His research contributions were recognized by the Krieg Cortical Kudos Cortical Explorer Award.