The Edward P. Evans Center for Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS)

Our Mission

Stavroula Kousteni, PhD
Stavroula Kousteni, PhD

The mission of the Edward P. Evans Center for Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) at Columbia University is to foster an all-encompassing approach in studying MDS giving us molecular, cellular genetic and epigenetic insights to develop and test innovative therapies. We will map out how it arises and progresses during transformation to Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) by studying the generation and fate of MDS cells in their environment in the bone marrow and during aging. We will generate new epigenetic-based approaches, uncovering insights about MDS cells that will lead to new and more effective therapies. The Edward P. Evans Center for MDS will also develop a strong educational program to recruit and train junior and senior scientists with multidisciplinary expertise that can be leveraged to better understand MDS and develop new treatment options for patients. 

We will capitalize on the wealth of the multidisciplinary expertise of the Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) faculty in basic, translational and clinical research, our Longitudinal MDS Sample Repository of more than 60,000 samples from thousands of unique MDS patients studied longitudinally and technical Innovation developed by members of our team and others offered at CUIMC, Herbert Irving comprehensive cancer center (HICCC) and cores.

MDS Center Publications

Mukherjee, S., Ali, A.M., Murty, V.V. et al. Mutation in SF3B1 gene promotes formation of polyploid giant cells in Leukemia cells. Med Oncol 39, 65 (2022).

Galán-Díez M, Borot F, Ali AM, Zhao J, Gil-Iturbe E, Shan X, Luo N, Liu Y, Huang XP, Bisikirska B, Labella R, Kurland I, Roth BL, Quick M, Mukherjee S, Rabadán R, Carroll M, Raza A, Kousteni S. Subversion of Serotonin Receptor Signaling in Osteoblasts by Kynurenine Drives Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Cancer Discov. 2022 Apr 1;12(4):1106-1127. doi: 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-21-0692. PMID: 35046097; PMCID: PMC8983599.


Our Members

  • Abdullah Ali, PhD

    • Director of Translational Research Laboratory, MDS Center
  • Elham Azizi, PhD

    • Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Herbert and Florence Irving Assistant Professor of Cancer Data Research (in the Herbert and Florence Institute for Cancer Dynamics and in the Herbert
  • Lei Ding, PhD

    • Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine
    • Assistant Professor of Microbiology & Immunology
    Profile Headshot
  • Adolfo A. Ferrando, MD, PhD

    • Professor of Pediatrics
    • Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology and of Systems Biology (in the Institute for Cancer Genetics)
  • Vincenzo Alessandro Gennarino, PhD

    • Assistant Professor of Genetics & Development
  • Mark L. Heaney, MD

    • Associate Professor of Medicine at CUMC
    Profile Headshot
  • Joseph G. Jurcic, MD

    • Professor of Medicine at CUMC
    Profile Headshot
  • James L. Manley, PhD

    • Julian Clarence Levi Professor of the Life Sciences
  • Ioanna Mosialou, PhD

    • Assistant Professor, CUIMC
  • Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD

    • Assistant Professor of Medicine
  • Emmanuelle Passegué, PhD

    • Alumni Professor of Genetics and Development(in Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine)
  • Raul Rabadan, PhD

    • Professor of Biomedical Informatics (in Systems Biology)
    Profile Headshot
  • Aaron D Viny, MD

    • Assistant Professor of Medicine
    Dr. Aaron Viny
  • Shan Zha, MD, PhD

    • Associate Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology and of Microbiology and Immunology (in the Institute for Cancer Genetics and in the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center)
    • James A Wolff Associate Professor of Pediatrics
    Profile Headshot


This year nearly 90,000 people worldwide will be told they have Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS)– among them 12,000 to 18,000 will be diagnosed in the United States alone. The goal of the Edward P. Evans Center for MDS at Columbia University is to combine the overlapping expertise of researchers from basic scientist to translational researchers and clinicians to 1) elucidate mechanisms of MDS pathogenesis and track the cell destined to become an MDS initiating cell; and 2) use this knowledge to develop new therapeutic modalities to prevent and treat MDS. To achieve these two goals, the MDS center hopes to bring together a mosaic of expertise among members with research directly targeted to MDS as well as in related disciplines that can be harvested in innovative and collaborative ways to bring new insights to MDS pathogenesis and treatment.  

The center invites all members of our community from areas of basic and clinical science, stem cell research, genomics and epigenomics, systems biology and bioengineering, chemistry and immunology that could be interested to apply their tools and knowledge to the MDS field to join our community. We commit to the establishment of a strong community by supporting our members through program enrichment activities, scientific interactions that will foster a collegial approach to MDS research, funding support of innovative high-risk projects and facilitating recruitment and retainment of outstanding trainees.

Benefits of Full Membership  

  • Participation to scientific and social activities: seminars, training workshops, retreat 
  • Presentation and feedback at faculty meetings 
  • Pilot project funds  
  • Fellowship support funds (for PhD, MD/PhD, MD trainees)  
  • Listing on the MDS center website 
  • Showcase of publications and news on the MDS center website  

Criteria and Responsibilities 

All Columbia faculty are eligible to apply by submitting a paragraph indicating the relevance of their work to MDS to Lital Kuchuk (

For additional information, contact Dr. Stavroula Kousteni ( The co-directors review applications for membership. Members are asked to vote on new affiliation requests. The responsibilities of members are as follows: 

  • Active participation in the scientific and social activities and faculty meetings 
  • Acknowledgement of pilot and fellowship funds support in publications 
  • Attendance to faculty meetings & voting on new member applications 
  • Contribution to seminar series and retreat planning

Upcoming Events

Inaugural Edward P. Evans Foundation MDS Centers Symposium

Thursday, July 7 | 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM EST

Please join us for the inaugural Edward P. Evans Foundation MDS Centers Symposium, featuring presentations from members of Columbia and Memorial Sloan Kettering's respective centers.

Register Now