David Rowitch, MD, PhD

Chief of Neonatology

Dr. David Rowitch is chief of Neonatology and professor of pediatrics and neurosurgery at UCSF. In addition to caring for patients, he leads a laboratory that is investigating genetic factors that determine cellular development in the brain and its response to injury. Rowitch is also interested in neurological problems and brain cancer in premature infants.

Rowitch earned a medical degree at the University of California, Los Angeles and a doctorate in biochemistry at the University of Cambridge in England. He completed an internship and residency in pediatrics and a fellowship in newborn medicine at Children's Hospital in Boston. Rowitch participated in a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard College in Cambridge. His work in neurobiology has earned him numerous awards, including the National Institute of Health Clinical Investigator Award, Kimmel Foundation Scholar Award and the James S. McDonnell Foundation Research Award. In 2008, Rowitch was appointed a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.

Academic Title


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University of Cambridge, U.K., Biochemistry 1988
UCLA School of Medicine 1989


Children's Hospital, Boston, MA, Pediatrics 1992


Children's Hospital, Boston, MA, Neonatology 1995

Selected Research and Publications

  1. Petersen MA, Ryu JK, Chang KJ, Etxeberria A, Bardehle S, Mendiola AS, Kamau-Devers W, Fancy SPJ, Thor A, Bushong EA, Baeza-Raja B, Syme CA, Wu MD, Rios Coronado PE, Meyer-Franke A, Yahn S, Pous L, Lee JK, Schachtrup C, Lassmann H, Huang EJ, Han MH, Absinta M, Reich DS, Ellisman MH, Rowitch DH, Chan JR, Akassoglou K. Fibrinogen Activates BMP Signaling in Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Cells and Inhibits Remyelination after Vascular Damage. Neuron. 2017 Oct 19.
  2. Shiow LR, Favrais G, Schirmer L, Schang AL, Cipriani S, Andres C, Wright JN, Nobuta H, Fleiss B, Gressens P, Rowitch DH. Reactive astrocyte COX2-PGE2 production inhibits oligodendrocyte maturation in neonatal white matter injury. Glia. 2017 Aug 30.
  3. Smith GC, Rowitch D, Mol BW. The role of prenatal steroids at 34-36 weeks of gestation. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2017 Jul; 102(4):F284-F285.
  4. Sabo JK, Heine V, Silbereis JC, Schirmer L, Levison SW, Rowitch DH. Olig1 is required for noggin-induced neonatal myelin repair. Ann Neurol. 2017 Apr; 81(4):560-571.
  5. Zhou J, Tien AC, Alberta JA, Ficarro SB, Griveau A, Sun Y, Deshpande JS, Card JD, Morgan-Smith M, Michowski W, Hashizume R, James CD, Ligon KL, Snider WD, Sicinski P, Marto JA, Rowitch DH, Stiles CD. A Sequentially Priming Phosphorylation Cascade Activates the Gliomagenic Transcription Factor Olig2. Cell Rep. 2017 Mar 28; 18(13):3167-3177.
  6. Dawes WJ, Zhang X, Fancy SPJ, Rowitch D, Marino S. Moderate-Grade Germinal Matrix Haemorrhage Activates Cell Division in the Neonatal Mouse Subventricular Zone. Dev Neurosci. 2016; 38(6):430-444.
  7. Liddelow SA, Guttenplan KA, Clarke LE, Bennett FC, Bohlen CJ, Schirmer L, Bennett ML, Münch AE, Chung WS, Peterson TC, Wilton DK, Frouin A, Napier BA, Panicker N, Kumar M, Buckwalter MS, Rowitch DH, Dawson VL, Dawson TM, Stevens B, Barres BA. Neurotoxic reactive astrocytes are induced by activated microglia. Nature. 2017 01 26; 541(7638):481-487.
  8. Jablonska B, Gierdalski M, Chew LJ, Hawley T, Catron M, Lichauco A, Cabrera-Luque J, Yuen T, Rowitch D, Gallo V. Sirt1 regulates glial progenitor proliferation and regeneration in white matter after neonatal brain injury. Nat Commun. 2016 Dec 19; 7:13866.
  9. Ben Haim L, Rowitch DH. Functional diversity of astrocytes in neural circuit regulation. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2017 01; 18(1):31-41.
  10. Osorio MJ, Rowitch DH, Tesar P, Wernig M, Windrem MS, Goldman SA. Concise Review: Stem Cell-Based Treatment of Pelizaeus-Merzbacher Disease. Stem Cells. 2017 Feb; 35(2):311-315.
  11. Paredes MF, James D, Gil-Perotin S, Kim H, Cotter JA, Ng C, Sandoval K, Rowitch DH, Xu D, McQuillen PS, Garcia-Verdugo JM, Huang EJ, Alvarez-Buylla A. Extensive migration of young neurons into the infant human frontal lobe. Science. 2016 Oct 07; 354(6308).
  12. Kupp R, Shtayer L, Tien AC, Szeto E, Sanai N, Rowitch DH, Mehta S. Lineage-Restricted OLIG2-RTK Signaling Governs the Molecular Subtype of Glioma Stem-like Cells. Cell Rep. 2016 Sep 13; 16(11):2838-2845.
  13. Glass HC, Rowitch DH. The Role of the Neurointensive Care Nursery for Neonatal Encephalopathy. Clin Perinatol. 2016 Sep; 43(3):547-57.
  14. Mei F, Mayoral SR, Nobuta H, Wang F, Desponts C, Lorrain DS, Xiao L, Green AJ, Rowitch D, Whistler J, Chan JR. Identification of the Kappa-Opioid Receptor as a Therapeutic Target for Oligodendrocyte Remyelination. J Neurosci. 2016 Jul 27; 36(30):7925-35.
  15. Christou H, Dizon ML, Farrow KN, Jadcherla SR, Leeman KT, Maheshwari A, Rubin LP, Stansfield BK, Rowitch DH. Sustaining careers of physician-scientists in neonatology and pediatric critical care medicine: formulating supportive departmental policies. Pediatr Res. 2016 Nov; 80(5):635-640.
  16. Lindquist RA, Guinto CD, Rodas-Rodriguez JL, Fuentealba LC, Tate MC, Rowitch DH, Alvarez-Buylla A. Identification of proliferative progenitors associated with prominent postnatal growth of the pons. Nat Commun. 2016 May 18; 7:11628.
  17. Kelley KW, Rowitch DH. Astrocytes: The Final Frontier…. Neuron. 2016 Jan 06; 89(1):1-2.
  18. Nobuta H, Cilio MR, Danhaive O, Tsai HH, Tupal S, Chang SM, Murnen A, Kreitzer F, Bravo V, Czeisler C, Gokozan HN, Gygli P, Bush S, Weese-Mayer DE, Conklin B, Yee SP, Huang EJ, Gray PA, Rowitch D, Otero JJ. Dysregulation of locus coeruleus development in congenital central hypoventilation syndrome. Acta Neuropathol. 2015 Aug; 130(2):171-83.
  19. Krencik R, Hokanson KC, Narayan AR, Dvornik J, Rooney GE, Rauen KA, Weiss LA, Rowitch DH, Ullian EM. Dysregulation of astrocyte extracellular signaling in Costello syndrome. Sci Transl Med. 2015 May 06; 7(286):286ra66.
  20. Helman G, Van Haren K, Bonkowsky JL, Bernard G, Pizzino A, Braverman N, Suhr D, Patterson MC, Ali Fatemi S, Leonard J, van der Knaap MS, Back SA, Damiani S, Goldman SA, Takanohashi A, Petryniak M, Rowitch D, Messing A, Wrabetz L, Schiffmann R, Eichler F, Escolar ML, Vanderver A. Disease specific therapies in leukodystrophies and leukoencephalopathies. Mol Genet Metab. 2015 Apr; 114(4):527-36.

Publications are derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and provided by UCSF Profiles, a service of the Clinical & Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at UCSF. Researchers can make corrections and additions to their publications by logging on to UCSF Profiles.