The Department has sixteen independent research groups and approximately 80 postdoctoral researchers. Nine groups are headed by Professors, two by Readers and five by research fellows. Our groups have made significant contributions to the study of haematology, authoring approximately 100 publications per year, many of these in high-impact journals, and producing discoveries particularly in these areas:
Malignant haematopoiesis, leukaemia and lymphoma: The Department has nine groups working in this area, making it a globally significant centre for research in leukaemia, lymphoma and pre-leukaemic conditions. Leading researchers include Professor Tony Green (former European Haematology Association President; Jean Bernard Lifetime Achievement Award; Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences), Professor Brian Huntly (current European Haematology Association board member), Professor George Vassiliou, Dr Mike Chapman, Dr Dan Hodson and Dr Ingo Ringshausen. Contributions include major advances in our understanding of myeloproliferative and myelodysplastic syndromes and acute myeloid leukaemia which have led to new therapies for these conditions. Current research includes the study of age-related clonal haematopoiesis and the therapeutic targeting of the tumour microenvironment, epigenetic and transcriptional aberrations and the study of other mutations that lead to the development of leukaemia and lymphoma.
Normal haematopoiesis: The Department has an international reputation for the study of normal blood cell production across the human lifespan and has made significant advancements in the study of haematoppoietic stem cell biology and in its dependent microenvironment. Ongoing research includes significant contributions to the Human Cell Atlas, the study of embryonic haematopoiesis and understanding how ageing and stress conditions affect haematopoiesis. Important researchers include Professor Bertie Göttgens (former International Society of Experimental Hematology President, Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, EMBO Member), Dr Elisa Laurenti and Dr Simon Mendez-Ferrer.
The Department’s strength in malignant and normal haematopoiesis has been recognised by the establishment in 2019 of the Kay Kendal Centre for Haematopoiesis and Haematological Malignancies.
Transfusion medicine: The Department has made significant breakthroughs in the study of platelet biology and is at the forefront of the production in the laboratory of blood cells for human transfusion. We are currently producing platelets and leading a Phase I clinical trial of laboratory-produced red blood cells. Leading researchers in this area are Professor Willem Ouwehand (Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences) and Dr Cedric Ghevaert. Our work on transfusion medicine is conducted in close partnership with NHS Blood and Transplant and is partly based in their Cambridge Centre.
Structural biology: The Department has world leading expertise in crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy, which have led to many important discoveries including landmark new anticoagulant treatments, the establishment of the structure of ribosomal subunits and proteins and breakthroughs in the pathology and treatment of rare diseases such as Shwachman-Diamond syndrome. At least two more therapeutics related to this work should be entering trials in the immediate future. Leading researchers include Professor Randy Read (Fellow of the Royal Society), Professor Alan Warren (Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences) and Professor Jim Huntington (Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences).
Genomics: The Department had a major role in the 100,000 Genomes Project, the world’s first widescale project sequencing genomes of members of the public, most of whom had cancers or rare diseases, and currently hosts the NIHR BioResource, a national bank of volunteers for genomic research and is playing a significant role in the Blood Transfusion Genomics Consortium, an international project to enable affordable precision matching of blood products. It has played a major role in uncovering the somatic genetics of myeloproliferative neoplasms and is also involved in AML genetics. Major researchers include Dr Augusto Rendon (Genomics England Director of Bioinformatics), Professor Nicole Soranzo (EMBO member), Professor Tony Green and Dr Jyoti Nangalia. The Department has significant links to the Wellcome Sanger Institute, whose Head of Cancer, Ageing and Somatic Mutation, Peter Campbell, holds an Honorary Professorship in the Department.