Faculty Profile

Amittha Wickrema
Section of Hematology / Oncology
Professor of Medicine
Director, Advanced Cellular Therapeutics Facility Faculty Director, Cellular & Tissue Based Processing cGMP Core Facility

Academic Interests

Dr. Wickrema's research work is focused on the study of normal and malignant hematopoiesis. His laboratory's work over the years has entailed studying the molecular mechanisms underlying lineage commitment and terminal differentiation of adult blood/bone marrow stem cells into erythroid cells. Among numerous tools used by his group, a unique human primary cellular model developed in his laboratory has been pivotal in uncovering key biological pathways that are regulated by cytokines in a differentiation stage-specific fashion. The work pertaining to normal hematopoiesis has paved the path for studying malignant and benign blood disorders that lead to anemia including myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and sickle cell anemia. His on-going research focuses on understanding the precise functional and prognostic implications of specific gene mutations observed in MDS. Among the mutated genes, TET2 stand out as a gene that acquire numerous mutations during blood cancer development as well as in ageing. Several lines of investigations are on-going to design novel strategies for therapeutic intervention to overcome the pathologies associated with TET2 mutations in blood stem and early erythroid progenitors. Additional lines of investigations focus on strategies to reverse anemia and co-morbidities associated with sickle cell anemia, an inherited condition that impact red blood cells. Altogether, his group’s research is aimed at developing novel interventions at the epigenetic level.

Clinical Interests

Develop and manufacture clinical-grade infusible cellular therapy products such as CAR-T (Chimeric Antigen Receptor T lymphocyte) cells and other immune effector cells for treatment of blood cancers and solid tumors. This includes development of next generation CAR-T cells to overcome resistance following treatment with 1st generation CAR-T cells. A key goal of his research is to devise strategies that will lead to creation of low-cost high value cellular therapy products.


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  • BS, 1982, Albright College, Biochemistry
  • MS, 1984, Duquesne University, Chemistry
  • PhD, 1989, Miami University, Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Fellowship, 1993, Vanderbilt University, Hematology