The Department of Cell Biology Shines at the 2023 ASH Annual Meeting

We are thrilled to share the outstanding representation of the Cell Biology department at the 2023 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting and Exposition, held in San Diego from December 7-12, 2023. Faculty members, post-doc fellows, and PhD trainees from the department’s hematology-focused research labs showcased their cutting-edge research, exchanged ideas with attendees from other institutions, earned recognition, and contributed significantly to this prestigious event.

The ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition is the world’s premier event in hematology, providing a platform for experts, researchers, and clinicians to come together, exchange knowledge, and advance the understanding and treatment of blood disorders. This year, the event featured a diverse array of sessions, workshops, and presentations covering the latest breakthroughs and innovations in hematology.

Research Requirements

Samuel Taylor, PhD, was selected by the highly selective ASH abstract committee to deliver an oral presentation on his research entitled “Transcription Factor Redistributors Pharmacologically Activate Non-Canonical Gene Networks to Drive AML Differentiation” (Abstract 119). Samuel also received an ASH Abstract Achievement Award – a highly prestigious honor. After his presentation, Samuel expertly fielded a Q&A discussion on his innovative research identifying a novel therapeutic approach for PU.1-corrupted acute myeloid leukemia. Samuel is a member of the Steidl lab.

Dr. Samuel Taylor presenting his research during the oral abstract session “Chemical Biology and Experimental Therapeutics: Novel Targets in Blood Disorders”
Dr. Shoichiro Takeishi presenting his research during the oral abstract session “Bone Marrow Microenvironment: Bone Marrow Microenvironment in Health and Disease Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways”

Shoichiro Takeishi, PhD, was chosen to deliver an oral presentation for his project entitled “Hematopoietic Stem Cell Numbers Are Regulated at Both Systemic and Local Levels” (Abstract 511). Shoichiro presented to a packed room of scientists and expertly fielded a Q&A discussion on his novel research on the regulatory mechanisms governing total hematopoietic stem cell numbers. Shoichiro was a member of the late Paul Frenette’s lab, now receiving guidance from Drs. Ulrich Steidl and Kira Gritsman.

Poster Presentations

PhD candidate Karl Roberts was selected to present his thesis research, entitled “Proof-of-Concept in a Murine Model of Treatment of Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura Using Engineered Red Blood Cells Expressing Fragments of ADAMTS13 on Their Membrane” (Abstract 1265), as a poster presentation. Karl also received the prestigious ASH Abstract Achievement Award. During the two-hour poster session, Karl presented his findings to various scientists, gaining valuable insights and leads for future collaborations. Karl is a member of the Bouhassira lab.

Cell Biology PhD trainee Karl Roberts presenting his poster during the Saturday evening poster session
Cell Biology PhD trainee Shira Glushakow-Smith presenting her poster during the Saturday evening poster session

PhD candidate Shira Glushakow-Smith was selected to present her thesis research, entitled “Targeting Epigenetic Resistance Mechanisms to PI3 Kinase Inhibition in Leukemic Stem Cells” (Abstract 1426), as a poster presentation. During the two-hour poster session, Shira discussed her findings with various experts, gained valuable feedback and insights, and explored future collaborations to further her research on combining EZH1/2 dual inhibitors with PI3K inhibitors to eradicate leukemic stem cells. Shira is a member of the Gritsman lab.

Cell Biology Professor Eric Bouhassira, PhD, was selected to present his lab’s research, entitled “iPSC-Derived KitD816V/JAK2V617F Double-Mutant Kitjak Cell Lines Allow Inexpensive Large-Scale Production of Enucleated Red Blood Cells in the Absence of SCF and Erythropoietin” (Abstract 2249), as a poster presentation. Dr. Bouhassira’s lab has developed methods to mass-produce cultured red blood cells from hematopoietic stem cells and from pluripotent stem cells; as well as conducting foundational research for gene therapy and other therapeutic strategies for the treatment of various hemoglobinopathies.

Cell Biology Adjunct Professor Nicholas Chiorazzi, MD, had three poster presentations representing the depth of his lab’s research at the conference: (1) “Investigation into Intraclonal Heterogeneity of CXCR4 Dim CD5 Bright Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Cells Identifies Distinct Activation Signatures” (Abstract 3259); (2) “Skewing Towards Effector Memory Cells in CLL Is Associated with IGHV-Mutation Status and IFNγ and IL-4” (Abstract 4625); and (3) “Normal B Cells in MBL Exhibit Distinct Transcriptomes Compared to Those of Healthy Individuals, Although They Differ in Activation State based on IGHV Mutation Status” (Abstract 4632). Dr. Chiorazzi’s lab – located at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research – is primarily focused on understanding the pathogenetic events that drive the development and evolution of chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Scientific Workshops and Programs

Scientific workshops kick off the ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition. These are interactive discussions on the latest scientific developments in a particular field of hematology. AECOM Cell Biology’s own Ulrich Steidl, Britta Will, and Keisuke Ito were part of the execution of two scientific workshops at ASH.

Ulrich Steidl, MD, PhD served as co-chair and organizer of the Scientific Workshop on Myeloid Development. This workshop, focused primarily on the basic science underlying myeloid cell development and pathophysiology, provided an educational platform for basic and translational scientists alike to review the latest advances in normal and malignant myeloid/stem cell biology. Dr. Steidl played an instrumental role in selecting the 16 expert scientists from across the world to cover key advances in stem cell biology, signaling and development, myeloid malignancies, and gene regulation in myeloid differentiation.

Dr. Ulrich Steidl, co-chair of the Scientific Workshop on Myeloid Development, pictured with his co-chair and selected faculty presenters
Einstein faculty Keisuke Ito, Britta Will, and Marina Konopleva, with Dr. Aaron Schimmer of Princess Margaret Cancer Center, during the Scientific Workshop on Mitochondria and Metabolism in Blood Cancer – From Worms to Patients

Britta Will, PhD presented her lab’s research findings during the Scientific Workshop on Mitochondria and Metabolism in Blood Cancer – From Worms to Patients. This session brought together translational scientists and clinicians focused on studying mitochondrial stress and metabolic pathways in blood cancers. Dr. Will’s presentation, entitled Iron Homeostasis Dependent Regulation of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Fate, was part of the Mitochondrial and Metabolism – Fundamental Discovery and Model Organisms session. Notably, the workshop was organized by co-chair Dr. Marina Konopleva, MD, PhD, Professor of Oncology, Molecular Pharmacology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and the session featuring Dr. Will’s seminar was moderated by Keisuke Ito, MD, PhD, Professor of Cell Biology, Medicine at Albert Einstein.

Lastly, throughout the conference, scientific programs were held to advance research in particular fields. Dr. Keisuke Ito served as chair for the Single Cell Omics and High-Resolution Imaging to Unravel the Role of the Niche in Stress and Ageing Hematopoiesis scientific program. This session dived deep into the application of newly developed single cell omics technologies to investigate the role of the bone marrow niche during inflammatory, stress, and aging.

Beyond the scientific sessions, the conference provided a unique opportunity to reconnect with former lab members and engage with current and previous collaborators. It was a time to strengthen existing partnerships, forge new connections, and foster collaborative efforts that will continue to drive progress in hematology research.

Dr. Keisuke Ito served as chair for the scientific program titled “Single Cell Omics and High- Resolution Imaging to Unravel the Role of the Niche in Stress and Ageing Hematopoiesis”, which featured a presentation from former Einstein Cell Biology post-doctoral fellow Dr. Dani Lucas
Dr. Kira Gritsman with her current PhD trainee Shira Glushakow-Smith, along with Gritsman lab alumni Dr. Lindsay Gurska and Lauren Laufer
Dr. Keisuke Ito at dinner with Dr. Noboru Asada, former post-doctoral fellow from the lab of the late Paul Frenette, MD, Professor of Cell Biology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Dr. Ulrich Steidl with Dr. Koki Ueda, former Einstein Cell Biology post-doctoral fellow; now Associate Professor, Department of Transfusion Medicine, Fukushima Medical University, Japan
Dr Ulrich Steidl with Dr. Laura Barreyro, former Einstein Cell Biology PhD student; now Principal Scientist, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson

We are immensely proud of our department’s contributions and accomplishments at the 2023 ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition. Within our diverse department, basic and translation hematology research is the primary focus of several of our labs, and these achievements reflect their commitment to advancing the field of hematology and fostering collaboration with the broader scientific and medical community. Congratulations to all of our department members for their remarkable efforts and dedication!