Damon Runyon Researchers

Meet Our Scientists
James Swann, VetMB, DPhil

A key question in cancer biology is how genetic mutations, acquired over time, interact with environmental factors to affect emergence and progression of disease. This is particularly relevant in blood cancers because many people acquire genetic mutations in blood-forming stem cells in the bone marrow but only a small proportion go on to develop acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Dr. Swann [William Raveis Charitable Fund Fellow] is investigating whether inflammatory signals alter the behavior of stem cells that have already acquired an initial mutation, causing them to acquire features of cancer that will hasten the onset of AML. Specifically, Dr. Swann is interested in whether pre-cancerous stem cells change their gene expression in response to inflammation, which might allow them to outcompete normal cells in the bone marrow. He is utilizing cutting-edge techniques such as CRISPR editing of blood stem cells to investigate the molecular pathways responsible for these biological changes. This project has the potential to identify molecular pathways activated by inflammation that might promote AML development, offering new targets for therapeutic interventions. Dr. Swann received his VetMD (DVM) from the University of Cambridge and his DPhil (PhD) from the University of Oxford.


Project title: "Emergency myelopoiesis pathways as common drivers of clonal dominance and disease progression in acute myeloid leukemia"
Institution: Columbia University
Named Award: William Raveis Charitable Fund Fellow
Award Program: Fellow
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Emmanuelle Passegué, PhD
Cancer Type: Blood
Research Area: Carcinogenesis