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Nationally Recognized Pathologist Specializing in Diagnosis of Leukemia and Lymphoma Joins SBUMC

Nationally Recognized Pathologist Specializing in Diagnosis of Leukemia and Lymphoma Joins SBUMC

Dr. Yupo Ma to Build Cancer Stem Cell Program and Direct Flow Cytometry

., February 2, 2010 – Yupo Ma, M.D., Ph.D., a hematopathologist nationally recognized for his research in the diagnosis of leukemia and lymphoma, as well as the potential of using adult stem cells in treating hemophilia and other diseases, has joined Stony Brook University Medical Center. Appointed by Kenneth R. Shroyer, M.D., Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Pathology, Dr. Ma will join the Department’s clinical services as a hematopathologist and serve as Professor of Pathology and Medical Director of the Flow Cytometry Laboratory.

Dr. Ma comes to SBUMC from the Nevada Cancer Institute in Las Vegas, where he was Chief of Hematopathology, Head of the Stem Cell Program, and Director of the Flow Cytometry Laboratory. For more than 20 years, Dr. Ma has practiced clinical pathology and conducted research at numerous universities in China and the United States.

“The appointment of Dr. Ma will greatly add to the depth of our translational research endeavors at Stony Brook University Medical Center,” says Dr. Shroyer. “His experience and insight into diagnosing leukemia, lymphoma and other blood disorders, as well as his innovative and promising genetic and stem cell research, will help us to discover more effective treatments for cancer and other diseases.”

 Dr. Ma discovered that a gene, SALL4, is linked to cancer stem cell growth and when overexpressed is a critical factor in the progression of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) associated with expansion of leukemic stem cells. He has received multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and numerous other sources to conduct additional research investigating SALL4 as a major therapeutic target for the treatment of MDS and AML. 

Dr. Ma’s recent studies are focused on a stem cell therapy by using adult somatic cells and turning back the development of these cells so they act like embryonic cells. This process, called retrodifferentiation, produces pluripotent stem cells. These induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) in combination with growth factors can then be redifferentiated into cells that may be used to treat specific diseases. 

One example that Dr. Ma cites regarding his experimental use of iPS is iPS derived cells functioning in an animal model to synthesize a protein (clotting factor) that has shown it can reverse excessive bleeding. The model could be a foundation toward developing a new treatment for hemophilia patients. Dr. Ma’s laboratory was the first to document the ability to “cure” mice of Hemophilia A by a single injection of endothelial cell precursors derived from iPS cells. 

“Because Stony Brook University Medical Center has an enriching research environment and is a bustling center of basic and clinical research, as well as patient care, I believe our research will flourish and lead to better treatments for many patients,” says Dr. Ma.

After earning his MD Degree from Jinan University in China, Dr. Ma moved to the United States. He subsequently completed a Residency in Pathology at Brown University, a Clinical Fellowship in Hematopathology at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and conducted Post Doctoral Training in Pathology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Ma also earned a Ph.D. in Anatomy from the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.

Board certified in Clinical Pathology and Hematopathology, Dr. Ma is the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions, including the NIH Career Development Award (2003-2008), Principle Investigator of Brown University (1999-01), and the Best Research Scientist in Las Vegas (2009), as selected by In Business Las Vegas.

He is a member of The College of American Pathology, the American Society of Hematology, and serves on the editorial board for the International Journal of Biological Chemistry. He is also an invited reviewer for numerous journals and the NIH study section or panels.

Dr. Ma lives in East Setauket with his wife, Sue Jiang, and two daughters, Gian Ma, and Anna Ma.

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