About the Department

The Department of Hematology is committed to performing innovative research and providing exceptional clinical care for children with catastrophic non-malignant blood diseases. Separate Experimental and Clinical Divisions investigate biomedical questions from two distinct orientations. Experimental Hematology faculty use tools of cell biology, developmental biology and genetics to understand the mechanisms of normal blood formation (hematopoiesis) and how these go awry in pediatric blood disorders. Clinical Hematology faculty care for patients and perform patient-oriented research, including interventional clinical trials to evaluate new therapies. The discoveries driven by our scientists and clinicians will increase our knowledge of blood diseases and improve the lives of our patients. Thus, a major goal is to transform laboratory discoveries into innovative therapies, in alignment with the mission of St. Jude.  

Our translational researchers are particularly interested sickle cell disease, bone marrow failure and pediatric myelodysplastic syndrome. At St. Jude, we are developing and improving new technologies for genetic manipulation, including genome editing and lentiviral gene therapy vectors to understand and treat these diseases. We are also investigating how bone marrow failure syndromes frequently progress to cancer by using state of the art sequencing and -omics approaches to uncover molecular clues. We leverage institutional technologies and build new tools to map long-term outcomes in our patients. To extend the scope of our accomplishments, Department of Hematology faculty and staff leverage St. Jude technologies by utilizing expert institutional core facilities and engaging in productive, long-term collaborations with faculty in numerous other Departments throughout St. Jude.  

The Department of Hematology

Electron Microscopy: Sickle Cells

Hematology Division

About the Division

Director: John Crispino, PhD, MBA

The Division of Experimental Hematology performs cutting edge laboratory research on normal and pathological blood development. We plan to expand our footprint in basic hematopoiesis and stem cell biology by recruiting new faculty investigators. Our departmental pluripotent stem cell core is leveraging cutting edge technology to enhance our understanding of hematopoietic stem cell biology and improve bone marrow transplantation. We also plan to expand our efforts in transcriptional regulation of hematopoiesis and sickle cell anemia-related research with a focus on developing curative therapies through genetic manipulation of patient hematopoietic stem cells. Another major  initiative is to understand the malignant progression of benign blood disorders and identify points of vulnerability for therapeutic intervention.

Our Research Focus Areas:

Young Cheng, PhD

Investigating functions of regulatory elements in normal blood development and blood disorders 

Wilson Clements, PhD

Investigating how the adult blood and immune systems are specified during development 

John Crispino, PhD, MBA

Understanding the mechanisms of normal and abnormal blood cell development

Marta Derecka, PhD

Studying transcriptional regulation of the bone marrow niche and the impact of stroma on the chromatin landscape of blood cells


Deciphering the mechanisms of self-renewal and fate decisions in normal and mutant hematopoietic stem cells using quantitative single-cell dynamics

Shannon McKinney-Freeman, PhD

Exploring the biology of hematopoietic stem cells

Shengdar Tsai, PhD

Understanding structure-function relationships in complex biochemical systems at the single-molecule scale 

Mitch Weiss, MD, PhD

Exploring molecular mechanisms of hematopoiesis and related diseases

Marcin Wlodarski, PhD

Investigating the genetic predisposition for myelodysplastic syndromes and the genomics behind bone marrow failure syndromes

Clinical Hematology Division

About the Division

Director: Cliff Takemoto, MD

The Division of Clinical Hematology conducts clinical research and provides comprehensive treatment and care for children and adolescents with non-malignant hematological disorders. Key areas of focus include sickle cell disease, bleeding disorders, thrombosis, transfusional iron overload, bone marrow failure, and a variety of rare pediatric blood disorders. Ongoing clinical trials include gene therapy for sickle cell disease and hemophilia, new drug testing for sickle cell disease, the use of mobile-health to improve patient heath literacy and adherence to clinical care guidelines, and a large cohort study to assess longitudinal outcomes of SCD.

Our Research Focus Areas:

Young Cheng, PhD

Health communication and implementation science

Young Cheng, PhD

Sickle cell disease, transfusional iron overload

Rohith Jesudas, MD

Coagulation disorders, immune-mediated cytopenias 

Young Cheng, PhD

Cardiac injury in sickle cell disease 

Bleeding disorders, thrombosis, bone marrow failure 

Cliff Takemoto, MD

Hemostasis and thrombosis; vascular malformations; bone marrow

Physician Scientist Investigator Program Instructors

Senthil Bhoopalan, MD, PhD

Developing gene therapy for Diamond Blackfan anemia

Richa Sharma, MD

Investigating the genetics of human telomerase deficiencies


  • Mitchell J. Weiss, MD, PhD

    Chair, Hematology

    Arthur Nienhuis Endowed Chair in Hematology

    Faculty Bio

  • John D. Crispino, PhD, MBA

    Director, Experimental Hematology

    The Wall Street Committee Endowed Chair 

    Faculty Bio

  • Cliff Takemoto, MD

    Director, Clinical Hematology

    Lemuel Diggs Endowed Chair in Sickle Cell Disease

    Faculty Bio

Join us

St. Jude investigators have the freedom to focus on making big discoveries, backed by extraordinary resources and support teams. We are always looking for highly motivated scientists and engineers with passion and talent to join us! 

Explore Career Opportunities in Hematology

We are currently recruiting!

Contact us

Mitchell J. Weiss, MD, PhD
Hematology MS355

St. Jude Children Research Hospital

262 Danny Thomas Place
Memphis, TN, 38105-3678 USA
901-595-3760 mitch.weiss@stjude.org
262 Danny Thomas Place
Memphis, TN, 38105-3678 USA