Thalia Papayannopoulou, M.D., Dr. Sci.
Elo Giblett Endowed Professorship in Hematology
Professor, Division of Hematology
Dr. Thalia Papayannopoulou graduated from the University of Athens Medical School (summa cum laude) and completed her clinical and research training in hematology at the University of Washington under the direction of Professor Clement Finch. Since 1984, she has served as a Professor in the Division of Hematology, where she pursues independent research, collaborates with faculty across the department, and participates in the clinical and teaching activities of the division.
Dr. Papayannopoulou has been awarded the Dameshek Prize at the American Society of Hematology and the Gwendolyn J. Stewart Memorial Award from Temple University School of Medicine. She was elected as a member of American Association of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) and has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hellenic Society of Hematology.
She is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), the Association of American Physicians (AAP) and has held a number of leadership positions at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the American Society of Hematology (ASH) and the International Society for Experimental Hematology (ISEH), where she also served as president.
Dr. Papayannopoulou’s early research activities were focused on human globin gene regulation, both at baseline hematopoiesis and after stress. She first drew attention to the fact that fetal globin can be reactivated or reawakened when normal cells are cultured in vitro under the influence of hematopoietic cytokines. Furthermore, it was shown that the fetal globin increase can be enhanced by the co- presence of several other molecules, including short chain fatty acids, demethylating agents, etc. These studies opened up the field for clinical exploitation of these agents, in order to increase fetal hemoglobin in patients with beta globin mutations and ameliorate their clinical picture.
Another focus of her research involves the influence of beta 1 integrins, i.e. adhesion molecules, that are responsible for connecting cells to their microenvironment (ME) and mediating their responses to ME cues. She has demonstrated that beta 1 integrins influence the behavior of both stem/progenitor cells of all lineages and with specific effects on erythoid cells, especially during regeneration or stress conditions. Integrins are responsible for the active retention of stem/progenitor cells within the BM environment. When incapacitated, they provoke the release and mobilization of these cells to peripheral blood, or interfere with BM engraftment when transplanted. The ability of cells to be mobilized from BM (now through several pathways acting in parallel or in synergy with beta 1 integrins) has been clinically used to procure donor cells for transplantation. Furthermore, integrin’s presence in erythroid cells is critical for their response to stress.
Learn more about:
- Thalia Papayannopoulou, M.D., Dr. Sci.
- The endowed fund that supports her work.
- Division of Hematology
If you’re interested in this field, please consider making a gift to this fund through the UW Foundation.