Ivan P. Maillard, MD, PhD
Vice Chief for Research, Division of Hematology/Oncology
Our research faculty lead diverse programs funded by the National Institutes of Health, foundations, and corporate sponsors within the rich of environment of the Perelman School of Medicine. These programs leverage Penn’s many institutes and centers, including the Penn Abramson Cancer Center, Center for Cellular Therapy, the Parker Institute, the Penn/CHOP Blood Center, the Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute.
Advances in Basic Science Research
- Optimizing CAR T Cell Immunotherapy for lymphoid and myeloid malignancies
- Exploring the role of the tumor microenvironment in immunotherapy for melanoma, pancreatic cancer, and other malignancies
- Investigating the role of autophagy inhibition as a new approach for cancer treatment
- Understanding HIV and SIV pathogenesis to identify new treatment strategies for HIV infection
- Elucidating the role of Notch signaling in normal and malignant hematopoiesis, and in complications of bone marrow transplantation
- Understanding the regulation of ribosomal gene transcription in hematopoiesis and leukemia
- Defining new aspects of breast cancer genetics and familial cancer syndromes
- Understanding clonal hematopoiesis in bone marrow failure disorders
- Investigating the molecular mechanisms of platelet activation and clot formation
The Abrams laboratory is interested in how inappropriate platelet activation contributes to vascular diseases including stroke and myocardial ischemia. The laboratory is focused on phospholipid signaling in platelets and its contribution to platelet activation. Ongoing projects are directed at understanding the roles of pleckstrin and lipid kinases in platelets.
- Charles Abrams, MD
Director, PENN-CHOP Blood Center for Patient Care & Discover
Vice-Chair for Research and Chief Scientific Officer, Department of Medicine
Professor of Medicine in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Francis C. Wood Professor
The Amaravadi laboratory focuses on the role of autophagy in cancer therapy. Cancer treatments have made major strides in the past 20 years, but eventually most cancers acquire the ability to survive the stress of cancer therapy and recur. Ongoing research builds on the demonstration that autophagy, the process by which organelles such as mitochondria and proteins are internally digested and recycled, promotes cancer cell survival in advanced malignancies, and is potentially a key resistance mechanism that cancers use to counter therapy.
The Babushok laboratory conducts basic and translational research to understand the fundamental mechanisms of how bone marrow can fail, how the failure of bone marrow can lead to pre-malignant genetic changes, myelodysplastic syndrome and leukemia, and what is the relationship between our immune system and the development of clonal hematopoiesis.
The Beatty laboratory incorporates both basic science research and clinical investigation to define strategies for leveraging the immune system for the treatment of cancer. The team’s mission is to define mechanisms of resistance and response to immunotherapy in an effort to design effective strategies to condition tumors and patients for enhanced therapeutic responsiveness.
The Bennett laboratory focuses on hemostasis and thrombosis, platelet biochemistry and physiology, integrin structure and function, and cell adhesion. Specifically, the laboratory relies on biophysical and molecular biologic techniques to characterize platelet interactions in detail and to use this information to design new anti-thrombotic agents.
The Brass laboratory uses experimental, observational and computational approaches to understand the role of blood platelets in hemostasis and thrombosis. Increasingly, this means using a systems approach to combine data on the platelet signaling network with emerging ideas about platelet activation as it occurs in the complex environment found in vivo.
The Circulating Tumor Material (CTM) Center, led by Director Dr. Erica Carpenter, focuses on the identification, capture, and analysis of Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs) and cell-free DNA (cfDNA) from cancer patients. Blood, bone marrow, pleural effusions, and other non-invasively captured patient samples are used to detect biomarkers which allow: 1) early detection of disease as well as post-therapy monitoring of minimal residual disease, 2) an efficient means of determining clinical and biological response to therapy and, thus, clinical decision making, and, 3) cancer genetic phenotyping to drive personalized medicine that obviates the need for serial biopsies in a population of patients for which these procedures are difficult, risky, and insufficient. The focus of the CTM Center is driven by the needs of clinicians and translational investigators, and realized through collaborative work with investigators in the Penn School of Medicine, the Penn School of Engineering, and the Center for Personalized Diagnostics. Moreover, when it is determined that outsourcing of technology development is preferable, collaborative efforts with industry partners are actively sought, and these efforts have already been initiated in focused areas.
The Carroll laboratory studies the molecular pathogenesis of myeloid neoplasms with a particular focus on acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Key research interests are in the combination of oncogenic events that disrupt cellular differentiation and dysregulate growth regulatory mechanisms in AML.
The Gill lab is interested in human T cell immunology, allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation, the tumor microenvironment, and primarily in novel approaches of adoptive cellular therapy for the treatment of malignancy.
The Hahn laboratory has had a long-standing interest in elucidating the origins and evolution of human and simian immunodeficiency viruses, and in studying HIV/SIV gene function and disease mechanisms from an evolutionary perspective. By characterizing the evolutionary relationships of simian immunodeficiency viruses infecting different non-human primate species in sub-Saharan Africa, the Hahn team found that Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) – one of the most devastating infectious diseases to have emerged in recent history – was the result of cross-species infections of humans by lentiviruses of primate origin.
Research in Dr. Hoxie's laboratory is focused on identifying viral and cellular determinants that are relevant to the ability of HIV and SIV to infect cells and to evade host immune responses. Four areas of work include: The role of the HIV/SIV cytoplasmic tail in pathogenesis, studies of CD4-independent isolates of HIV, producing modified HIV envelope glycoproteins for vaccine studies and gene therapy approaches using a fusion inhibitory peptide from the HIV-1 gp41 envelope molecule conjugated to the human chemokine receptor CXCR4.
This laboratory studies patterning in early vertebrate development, the regulation of stem cell self-renewal in the hematopoietic system, adult neurogenesis, Wnt signaling, and the molecular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis and treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders.
The Maillard laboratory investigates the regulation of normal and malignant hematopoiesis, bone marrow transplantation and T cell alloimmunity. A central focus of the lab is the role of Notch signaling in T cell development, differentiation and function. Using mouse models of bone marrow transplantation, the Maillard team discovered essential functions for Notch ligands and receptors in graft-versus-host disease with a high fundamental and translational impact. Other interests include the role of Trithorax family epigenetic regulators in hematopoiesis and leukemia.
The Maxwell laboratory is interested in the genetics of human disease, particularly familial cancers, and in the translation of genetic data for managing individuals at risk for cancer. The laboratory is using human genetic and genomic data coupled with model systems to study mechanisms of cancer formation in patients with inherited forms of breast and prostate cancer.
The Paralkar laboratory studies how genes regulating ribosome biogenesis guide normal hematopoiesis, and how mutations in these genes lead to acute or chronic myeloid leukemias.
Dr. Ruella's laboratory focuses on the mechanisms of relapse after chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CART) immunotherapies with the goal of rationally design innovative combined immunotherapies for relapsing/refractory leukemia and lymphoma.
The Shaw laboratory has a longstanding interest in human and simian immunodeficiency virus (HIV/SIV) molecular biology and pathogenesis, as well as in hepatitis C virus (HCV). Current research is focused on mapping the origins of broadly neutralizing antibodies in HIV and SIV infection.
The Vonderheide laboratory combines efforts in basic research and clinical investigation to advance our understanding of tumor immunology and to develop novel immunotherapies for cancer. The chief hypothesis is that successful approaches in tumor immunotherapy will need to (a) optimize target antigens with regard to clinical applicability and risk of antigen loss, (b) repair host immuno-incompetence in antigen presentation and T cell function, and (c) circumvent immuno-suppressive factors of the tumor and tumor microenvironment.