Serine Avagyan, MD, PhD

Asst Professor in Residence
Research Description: 

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.

Primary Thematic Area: 
Developmental & Stem Cell Biology
Secondary Thematic Area: 
Cancer Biology & Cell Signaling
Research Summary: 
We study the origins of clonal blood disorders with focus on developmental hematopoiesis and forces driving clonal competition in the context of inherited cancer predisposition conditions.
Featured Publications: 

Clonal hematopoiesis and inflammation - the perpetual cycle.

Trends in cell biology

Avagyan S, Zon LI

Resistance to inflammation underlies enhanced fitness in clonal hematopoiesis.

Science (New York, N.Y.)

Avagyan S, Henninger JE, Mannherz WP, Mistry M, Yoon J, Yang S, Weber MC, Moore JL, Zon LI

Single-cell ATAC-seq reveals GATA2-dependent priming defect in myeloid and a maturation bottleneck in lymphoid lineages.

Blood advances

Avagyan S, Weber MC, Ma S, Prasad M, Mannherz WP, Yang S, Buenrostro JD, Zon LI

Hematopoietic stem cell dysfunction underlies the progressive lymphocytopenia in XLF/Cernunnos deficiency.


Avagyan S, Churchill M, Yamamoto K, Crowe JL, Li C, Lee BJ, Zheng T, Mukherjee S, Zha S

Prdm16 is a physiologic regulator of hematopoietic stem cells.


Aguilo F, Avagyan S, Labar A, Sevilla A, Lee DF, Kumar P, Lemischka IR, Zhou BY, Snoeck HW