Sridhar Rao, MD, PhD

Sridhar  Sridhar  profile

Sridhar Rao, MD, PhD


Stem Cell Biology and Hematopoiesis

Education and training

Postdoctoral Research Training
Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA

Clinical Training
Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA

Contact Information
  • 414-937-3841
  • 414-937-3841
  • Sridhar Rao Lab

    Stem Cell Biology / Hematopoiesis

    The primary focus of our lab is to understand how changes in gene expression influence differentiation of stem cells. Alterations in this process are a key step in the development of leukemia. In particular, our laboratory focuses on how non-coding DNA elements act as “molecular switches” to causes changes in gene expression. We use different models to understand how non-coding DNA elements regulate which genes are on or off in a particular cell type, but one of our primary models is Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). We focus on AML because it has a poor long-term survival even with high dose chemotherapy, illustrating the need for more effective, less toxic therapies. In AML, approximately 15% of patients have mutations within genes encoding the cohesin complex, which plays a critical role in allowing non-coding DNA elements to regulate gene expression. In addition to AML, we also use mouse derived stem cells to ask fundamental questions about how non-coding DNA elements regulate gene expression. Most of our studies rely upon next-generation sequencing-based genome wide approaches, in addition to genomic editing to understand how non-coding DNA elements regulate stem cell differentiation.

    • Rao (PI)  5R01CA204231-02  09/19/2017 – 07/31/2022  NIH/NCI  Cohesin mutations in AML  
      The goal of this project is to understand the role of cohesin protein in the progression of AML.  
    • Rao (Co-I)  MCW/MACC Fund Support  07/01/2019 – 06/30/2020  MCW/MACC Fund  High-Risk Hematologic Malignancy Center  
      This is an internal funding mechanism to support the the integration of ongoing clinical trials, translational efforts, and basic researchers to improve the care of children with hematologic malignancies. The bulk of the fund provides support for biological correlative studies related to Dr. Burke’s (PI) TACL trial.

    Kirthi Pulakanti
    Bioinformatics Analyist 

    Quinn Furomo
    Bioinformatics Analyist

    Alison Nickerson
    Research Scientist I

    Cary Stelloh
    Research Technologist

    Katelyn Heimbruch
    Graduate Student

    Puja Agarwal
    Graduate Student

    Kristin Zorn
    Clinical Fellow

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