Dr. Vijay Sankaran’s laboratory studies how human genetic variation impacts human blood cell production or hematopoiesis in health and disease.
The Sankaran Laboratory utilizes human genetics to refine our understanding of hematopoiesis and how this process goes awry in human disease. We are particularly interested in gaining molecular insights into how hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells are able to produce various blood cell lineages normally and how this process is perturbed in disease, how the hemoglobin genes (including fetal hemoglobin) are regulated, and how hematopoiesis varies in humans. We are also interested in identifying opportunities to use the insights we gain from our studies to develop improved therapies for a variety of blood disorders, including sickle cell disease, thalassemia, Diamond-Blackfan anemia, aplastic anemia, myelodysplastic syndromes, myeloproliferative disorders, and childhood leukemia. We utilize modern human genetic studies, including exome and genome sequencing, as well as functional studies of human hematopoiesis and hemoglobin gene regulation in vitro and in vivo. We are also developing technologies to enable better studies of human hematopoiesis in vivo, including lineage tracing and single cell genomic approaches.