One focus of the Chou Lab is to investigate the mechanism of hematopoietic development and understand the role of genetic modifiers in hematologic diseases. The lab creates induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from patients with blood disease to model key features of human diseases and study the underlying pathophysiology. Current projects in the lab include understanding the role of Trisomy 21, and GATA1s, PTPN11 and CBL mutations in anemia, thrombocytopenia, myeloproliferative disorders, and pediatric leukemias.
The Chou Lab is also actively pursuing novel approaches to improve red blood cell therapy for patients with sickle cell disease (SCD). The lab team demonstrated that variant RH among patients and donors contribute to Rh alloimmunization, despite providing serologic Rh-matched transfusions. Ongoing work examines the RH loci in African-American blood donors to determine whether genetically matched blood at RH and other blood group loci can avoid alloimmunization.
In addition, the Chou Lab is creating customized iPSCs with rare blood group antigen combinations as renewable sources of red cell reagents to improve antibody identification and donor red cell matching for patients with SCD.