Christopher Hourigan, M.D., D.Phil.

Senior Investigator

Myeloid Malignancies


10 Center Dr
Bethesda, MD 20814
United States


Research Topics

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a rare, highly fatal, blood cancer. Although most younger patients treated with chemotherapy will achieve an initial apparent “complete” remission, subsequent treatment with either further chemotherapy or allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (alloHCT) cannot prevent subsequent death from leukemic relapse in many. The outlook is often especially suboptimal for those diagnosed with AML but not eligible for this intensive therapy due to advanced age or medical co-morbidity. Recent advances in the scientific understanding of the genetic diversity of AML have led to the development of targeted therapies, but the optimal way to integrate such agents into a comprehensive approach for an individual AML patient has yet to be defined. The Laboratory of Myeloid Malignancies Section focuses on research in translational medicine and precision oncology to improve outcomes for patients with AML.

The primary research goal of Dr. Hourigan’s lab is to improve our ability to predict which patients with AML in remission are at risk of relapse and who may benefit from additional therapy. Development of prognostic tools may also facilitate quantification of the efficacy of therapeutic interventions and be used to select the most appropriate next therapy for a patient during treatment. This “measurable residual disease” (MRD) concept is the foundation for a personalized medicine approach to AML, now being tested in clinical protocols. These efforts are strengthened by collaborations with a variety of clinical colleagues from leukemia and transplant centers from around the world.

The work carried out by Dr. Hourigan’s laboratory should help bring clinicians one step closer to developing personalized and effective treatment approaches for patients with AML.


Christopher Hourigan received both his medical degree and D. Phil. in Human Immunology from Oxford University. After residency training in medicine at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospital in London and the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, he joined the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital where he was both a clinical fellow in medical oncology and a postdoctoral research fellow in the Immunology and Immunotherapy research program. He is ABIM board certified in Internal Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology. Dr. Hourigan came to the NHLBI in 2012. After almost three years as an Assistant Clinical Investigator, Dr Hourigan was appointed as an Investigator in March 2015, and received tenure as a Senior Investigator in March 2022. Dr. Hourigan is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, and the recipient of the NHLBI Directors Award, the NHLBI Orloff Award, the NIH Bench to Bedside Award, the NIH Directors Challenge Innovation Award, an American College of Physicians Early Career Physician Award, the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) Young Physician-Scientist Award and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).

Selected Publications

  1. Hourigan CS, Karp JE. Minimal residual disease in acute myeloid leukaemia. Nat Rev Clin Oncol. 2013;10(8):460-71.
  2. Oetjen KA, Lindblad KE, Goswami M, Gui G, Dagur PK, Lai C, Dillon LW, McCoy JP, Hourigan CS. Human bone marrow assessment by single-cell RNA sequencing, mass cytometry, and flow cytometry. JCI Insight. 2018;3(23).
  3. Dillon LW, Ghannam J, Nosiri C, Gui G, Goswami M, Calvo KR, Lindblad KE, Oetjen KA, Wilkerson MD, Soltis AR, Sukumar G, Dalgard CL, Thompson J, Valdez J, DeStefano CB, Lai C, Sciambi A, Durruthy-Durruthy R, Llanso A, Gulati S, Wang S, Ooi A, Dagur PK, McCoy JP, Burr P, Li Y, Hourigan CS. Personalized Single-Cell Proteogenomics to Distinguish Acute Myeloid Leukemia from Non-Malignant Clonal Hematopoiesis. Blood Cancer Discov. 2021;2(4):319-325.
  4. Hourigan CS, Dillon LW, Gui G, Logan BR, Fei M, Ghannam J, Li Y, Licon A, Alyea EP, Bashey A, Deeg HJ, Devine SM, Fernandez HF, Giralt S, Hamadani M, Howard A, Maziarz RT, Porter DL, Scott BL, Warlick ED, Pasquini MC, Horwitz ME. Impact of Conditioning Intensity of Allogeneic Transplantation for Acute Myeloid Leukemia With Genomic Evidence of Residual Disease. J Clin Oncol. 2020;38(12):1273-1283.
  5. Dillon LW, Gui G, Page KM, Ravindra N, Wong ZC, Andrew G, Mukherjee D, Zeger SL, El Chaer F, Spellman S, Howard A, Chen K, Auletta J, Devine SM, Jimenez Jimenez AM, De Lima MJG, Litzow MR, Kebriaei P, Saber W, Weisdorf DJ, Hourigan CS. DNA Sequencing to Detect Residual Disease in Adults With Acute Myeloid Leukemia Prior to Hematopoietic Cell Transplant. JAMA. 2023;329(9):745-755.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Friday, May 5, 2023