Abkowitz_Janis
Clement A. Finch Professor of Medicine
Head, Division of Hematology
Adjunct Professor of Genome Sciences
University of Washington School of Medicine

Faculty Information

Biography

The major focus of Dr. Abkowitz’s research is understanding the molecular and cellular events that control red cell differentiation. Given her observation that the severe macrocytic anemias of Diamond Blackfan anemia (DBA) and myelodysplastic syndrome with an isolated deletion of chromosome 5q (del(5q) MDS) result from insufficient ribosome numbers or function, a slowed initiation of globin synthesis, excessive heme and heme toxicity (Science Translational Medicine, 2016), her lab is especially interested in understanding how the poor coordination of heme with globin might lead to ineffective erythropoiesis more broadly. As examples, she is investigating heme signaling and the molecular consequences of excess heme with single cell RNA seq studies of murine models and MDS patient marrow samples. She (with Bart Scott MD) is also initiating a clinical trial of aggressive chelation in persons with MDS and anemia.

Dr. Abkowitz's other research interest is understanding hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) kinetics, in part by the mathematical modeling of cell fate-decisions using stochastic methods (collaboration with Peter Guttorp, PhD). This work allows insights into HSC differentiation during normal hematopoiesis, the pathophysiology of aplastic anemia, the pathophysiology of CHIP (clonal hematopoietic of indeterminate potential), and the clonal evolution and progression of myeloproliferative disorders.

Education & Training: 
A.B.
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA
1972
M.D.
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA
1977
Residency in Internal Medicine
Beth Israel Hospital
Boston, MA
1977-80
Fellowship in Hematology
University of Washington
Seattle, WA
1980-83
Honors: 
Phi Beta Kappa, Harvard University
1971
A.B., Summa Cum Laude, Harvard University
1972
Frederick Sheldon Traveling Fellowship, Harvard University
1972-1973
Elected Member, American Society for Clinical Investigation
1992
Elected Member, American Association of Physicians
1999
President, Western Society of Clinical Investigation
2000
Member, Advisory Council, National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases
2003-2007
George E. Cartwright Visiting Professorship and Lecturer, University of Utah
2008
Kouichi R. Tanaka lecturer, UCLA
2009
Top Doctor, US News and World Report
2012
President, American Society of Hematology
2013
Elected Member, National Academy of Medicine (formely Institute of Medicine)
2013
Top Doctor, Seattle Metropolitan Magazine
2013-2014
C.J. Watson lecturer, University of Minnesota
2017
Member, Board of Scientific Counselors, NHLBI
2017-2021
Recipient, Pioneer Award, Diamond Blackfan Anemia Foundation
2018
Helen Ranney lecturer, University of California, San Diego
2018