Alexander Birbrair

Contact Information
(608) 698-0034
Medical Science Center
Room 4385
1300 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53706

Lab website


2014, PhD, Neuroscience, Wake Forest University, North Carolina, USA
2009, BS, Biomedical Sciences, Santa Cruz State University, Bahia, Brazil
Postdoctoral Research, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, NY, USA


Assistant Professor of Dermatology

Research Description

Our lab is committed to understand the mechanisms of impairment and failure of biological systems under pathological conditions, focusing on tissue stem cells, vasculature and the peripheral nervous system present in different tissues microenvironments, with emphasis on preventing or reversing these deleterious processes. We are interested in studying mechanisms that lead to cell behavior changes during development, throughout life and disease. Understanding how these mechanisms are affected in cancer will help develop targets for novel therapies. For this, we take advantage of state-of-the-art technologies, including two-photon and confocal microscopy, in vivo lineage-tracing methods, FACS-sorting, single-cell RNA sequencing, organ, tissue and cell transplantation, neural circuitry analysis, and sophisticated Cre/loxP techniques in combination with cancer mouse models. Thus, our ultimate goal is to identify novel potential cellular and molecular targets for cancer therapy.

Selected Publications 

  1. Rocha BGS, Picoli CC, Gonçalves BOP, Silva WN, Costa AC, Moraes MM, Costa PAC, Santos GSP, Almeida MR, Silva LM, Singh Y, Falchetti M, Guardia GDA, Guimarães PPG, Russo RC, Resende RR, Pinto MCX, Amorim JH, Azevedo VAC, Kanashiro A, Nakaya HI, Rocha EL, Galante PAF, Mintz A, Frenette PS, Birbrair A (2022) Tissue-resident glial cells associate with tumoral vasculature and promote cancer progression. Angiogenesis. In press. doi: 10.1007/s10456-022-09858-1. PMID:36183032.
  2. Costa PAC, Silva WN, Prazeres PHDM, Picoli CC, Guardia GDA, Costa AC, Oliveira MA, Guimarães PPG, Gonçalves R, Pinto MCX, Amorim JH, Azevedo VAC, Russo RC, Resende RR, Cunha TM, Galante PAF, Mintz A, Birbrair A. (2021) Chemogenetic modulation of sensory neurons reveals their regulating role in melanoma progression. Acta Neuropathologica Communications. 9(1):183. doi: 10.1186/s40478-021-01273-9. PMID: 34784974.
  3. Picoli CC, Gonçalves BÔP, Santos GSP, Rocha BGS, Costa AC, Resende RR, Birbrair A. (2021) Pericytes cross-talks within the tumor microenvironment. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta – Reviews on Cancer. 1876(2):188608. doi: 10.1016/j.bbcan.2021.188608. PMID: 34384850.
  4. Sena IFG, Rocha BGS, Picoli CC, Santos GSP, Costa AC, Gonçalves BOP, Garcia APV, Soltani-Asl M, Coimbra-Campos LMC, Silva WN, Costa PAC, Pinto MCX, Amorim JH, Azevedo VAC, Resende RR, Heller D, Cassali GD, Mintz A, Birbrair A. (2021) C(3)1-TAg in C57BL/6J background as a model to study mammary tumor development. Histochemistry and Cell Biology. In press. doi: PMID: 34003355.
  5. Nobre AR, Risson E, Singh DK, Martino JD, Cheung JF, Wang J, Johnson J, Russnes HG, Bravo-Cordero JJ, Birbrair A, Naume B, Azhar M, Frenette PS, Aguirre-Ghiso JA. (2021) Bone marrow NG2+/Nestin+ mesenchymal stem cells drive DTC dormancy via TGF-β2. Nature Cancer. 2:327–339. doi: 10.1038/s43018-021-00179-8. PMID: 34993493.
  6. Prazeres PHDM, Leonel C, Silva WN, Rocha BGS, Santos GSP, Costa AC, Picoli CC, Sena I, Gonçalves WA, Vieira MS, Costa PAC, Campos LMCC, Paz MT, Costa MR, Resende RR, Cunha TM, Mintz A, Birbrair A. (2020) Ablation of sensory nerves favours melanoma progression. Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine. 24(17):9574-9589. PMID: 32691511.
  7. Paiva AE, Lousado L, Guerra DAP, Azevedo PO, Sena IFG, Andreotti JP, Santos GSP, Gonçalves R, Mintz A, Birbrair A. (2018) Pericytes in the Premetastatic Niche. Cancer Research. Review. 78(11):2779-2786. PMID: 29789421.
  8. Birbrair A, Sattiraju A, Zhu D, Zulato G, Batista I, Nguyen VT, Messi ML, Solingapuram Sai KK, Marini FC, Delbono O, Mintz A. (2017) Novel Peripherally Derived Neural-Like Stem Cells as Therapeutic Carriers for Treating Glioblastomas. Stem Cells Translational Medicine. 6(2):471-481. PMID: 28191774.
  9. Asada N, Kunisaki Y, Pierce H, Wang Z, Fernandez NF, Birbrair A, Ma’ayan A, Frenette PS. (2017) Differential cytokine contributions of perivascular haematopoietic stem cell niches. Nature Cell Biology. 19(3):214-223. PMID: 28218906.
  10. Khan JA, Mendelson A, Kunisaki Y, Birbrair A, Kou Y, Arnal A, Pinho S, Ciero P, Nakahara F, Ma’ayan A, Bergman A, Merad M and Frenette PS. (2015) Identification of a portal vessel-associated fetal liver hematopoietic stem cell niche. Science. 351:176-180. PMID: 26634440.
  11. Birbrair A, Zhang T, Wang ZM, Messi ML, Olson JD, Mintz A and Delbono O. (2014). Type-2 Pericytes Participate in Normal and Tumoral Angiogenesis. American Journal of Physiology-Cell Physiology. 307 (1): C25-C38. PMID: 24788248.

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