Serine Avagyan, MD, PhD

The goal of the lab is to understand how development of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), their clonal composition and competition, and their progeny affect initiation of clonal blood disorders. Clonal blood disorders, including malignant diseases such as myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia, are states of significant disturbance of the balanced clonal output. Focusing on the pathogenesis of pediatric and young adult MDS which are often associated with germline predisposition conditions, our research seeks to identify pathways responsible for establishing early aberrant clonal states and promoting transformation to malignancy. By using techniques of cellular barcoding to gain insight about clone-specific biology in a zebrafish model and primary human cells, our goal is to identify top vulnerabilities in clonal disorders to augment disease-directed therapy and prevent relapse of disease after stem cell transplantation, or perhaps one day prevent the development of MDS in high-risk patients. Such therapies could potentially be broadly applicable in the field of leukemogenesis beyond germline predisposition syndromes.
12/2022 - Instructor in Pediatric Oncology, Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Hospital Cancer and Blood Disorders Center
Pediatric Hematology-Oncology fellowship, 06/2017 - Pediatric hematology-oncology-stem cell transplantation, Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Hospital Cancer and Blood Disorders Center
Pediatric internship and residency, 06/2014 - Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of New York-Presbyterian at Columbia University Medical Center
MD, 2011 - , Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
PhD, 2009 - Hematopoietic stem cell biology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Honors and Awards
  • Career Awards for Medical Scientists, Burrough Wellcome Foundation, 2023-2027
  • CRAZY8 award (co-PI), Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, 2021-2025
  • Early Career Investigator Award, Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation and RUNX1 Research Program, 2021-2024
  • Boston Combined Residency Program Faculty Teaching Honor Roll, Boston Children's Hospital, 2021
  • Abstract Achievement Award, American Society of Hematology, 2020
  • Rising Star Lecture Series Lecturer, National Institutes of Health, 2019
  • Young Investigator Award, Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, 2017-2021
  • Young Investigator Award, EvansMDS, Edward P. Evans Foundation, 2017-2020
  • Pedals for Pediatrics Research Grant, Boston Children's Hospital, 2016-2018
  • Potter Fellowship, Boston Children's Hospital, 2015-2017
  • David Abraham Fellowship, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 2015-2017
  • Farley Fund Fellowship Award, Boston Children's Hospital, 2014
  • Bela Schick Pediatric Society Prize, Icahn School of Medicine at Mt Sinai, 2011
  1. Binder V, Li W, Faisal M, Oyman K, Calkins DL, Shaffer J, Teets EM, Sher S, Magnotte A, Belardo A, Deruelle W, Gregory TC, Orwick S, Hagedorn EJ, Perlin JR, Avagyan S, Lichtig A, Barrett F, Ammerman M, Yang S, Zhou Y, Carson WE, Shive HR, Blachly JS, Lapalombella R, Zon LI, Blaser BW. Microenvironmental control of hematopoietic stem cell fate via CXCL8 and protein kinase C. Cell reports 2023. PMID: 37209097

  2. Avagyan S, Henninger JE, Mannherz WP, Mistry M, Yoon J, Yang S, Weber MC, Moore JL, Zon LI. Resistance to inflammation underlies enhanced fitness in clonal hematopoiesis. Science (New York, N.Y.) 2021. PMID: 34735227

  3. Six KA, Gerdemann U, Brown AL, Place AE, Cantor AB, Kutny MA, Avagyan S. B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia in patients with germline RUNX1 mutations. Blood advances 2021. PMID: 34424323

  4. Avagyan S, Weber MC, Ma S, Prasad M, Mannherz WP, Yang S, Buenrostro JD, Zon LI. Single-cell ATAC-seq reveals GATA2-dependent priming defect in myeloid and a maturation bottleneck in lymphoid lineages. Blood advances 2021. PMID: 34170284

  5. Fazio M, Avagyan S, van Rooijen E, Mannherz W, Kaufman CK, Lobbardi R, Langenau DM, Zon LI. Efficient Transduction of Zebrafish Melanoma Cell Lines and Embryos Using Lentiviral Vectors. Zebrafish 2017. PMID: 28557653

  6. Tan JL, Fogley RD, Flynn RA, Ablain J, Yang S, Saint-Andr? V, Fan ZP, Do BT, Laga AC, Fujinaga K, Santoriello C, Greer CB, Kim YJ, Clohessy JG, Bothmer A, Pandell N, Avagyan S, Brogie JE, van Rooijen E, Hagedorn EJ, Shyh-Chang N, White RM, Price DH, Pandolfi PP, Peterlin BM, Zhou Y, Kim TH, Asara JM, Chang HY, Young RA, Zon LI. Stress from Nucleotide Depletion Activates the Transcriptional Regulator HEXIM1 to Suppress Melanoma. Molecular cell 2016. PMID: 27058786

  7. Avagyan S, Churchill M, Yamamoto K, Crowe JL, Li C, Lee BJ, Zheng T, Mukherjee S, Zha S. Hematopoietic stem cell dysfunction underlies the progressive lymphocytopenia in XLF/Cernunnos deficiency. Blood 2014. PMID: 25075129

  8. Avagyan S, Klein M, Kerkar N, Demattia A, Blei F, Lee S, Rosenberg HK, Arnon R. Propranolol as a first-line treatment for diffuse infantile hepatic hemangioendothelioma. Journal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition 2013. PMID: 22331019

  9. Aguilo F, Avagyan S, Labar A, Sevilla A, Lee DF, Kumar P, Lemischka IR, Zhou BY, Snoeck HW. Prdm16 is a physiologic regulator of hematopoietic stem cells. Blood 2011. PMID: 21343612

  10. Yvan-Charvet L, Pagler T, Gautier EL, Avagyan S, Siry RL, Han S, Welch CL, Wang N, Randolph GJ, Snoeck HW, Tall AR. ATP-binding cassette transporters and HDL suppress hematopoietic stem cell proliferation. Science (New York, N.Y.) 2010. PMID: 20488992

  11. Bullard T, Freudenthal J, Avagyan S, Kahr B. Test of Cairns-Smith's 'crystals-as-genes' hypothesis. Faraday discussions 2007. PMID: 17955812

  12. Sokurenko EV, Feldgarden M, Trintchina E, Weissman SJ, Avagyan S, Chattopadhyay S, Johnson JR, Dykhuizen DE. Selection footprint in the FimH adhesin shows pathoadaptive niche differentiation in Escherichia coli. Molecular biology and evolution 2004. PMID: 15044596