Katja Brueckner, PhD: 1966-2021

Katja Brueckner, PhD, an esteemed researcher and associate professor in the Department of Cell and Tissue Biology, died unexpectedly on March 16. She was 54.

Dr. Brueckner joined the UCSF faculty in 2006. A native of Germany, she received her PhD in biology and cell signaling from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the University of Heidelberg under the direction of Rüdiger Klein. She performed her postdoctoral studies at Harvard Medical School with Norbert Perrimon.

In addition to her position with Cell and Tissue Biology, Dr. Brueckner was a member of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research. She also was a devoted member of the School of Dentistry admissions committee and served on the school’s Faculty Council for many years.

The Brueckner lab has addressed fundamental questions in development, homeostasis, and malignant disease, studying paradigms in the invertebrate genetic model organism Drosophila melanogaster. Current research has focused on cell signaling, the role of the microenvironment, hematopoiesis, innate immunity, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, and organ development.

Dr. Brueckner is survived by her partner, Lutz Kockel, an investigator at Stanford University; and two daughters, Ava and Zoe Brueckner-Kockel. The family plans a private ceremony this Friday; the Department of Cell and Tissue Biology is planning a future memorial event.