Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., M.A.C.P.

Senior Investigator

Molecular & Clinical Hematology Branch


Institute Director


Building NIHBC 31, Room 9A52
31 Center Dr
Bethesda, MD 20892

+1 301 496 5741

Research Topics

The ultimate goal is to develop better approaches to diagnose, treat, and eventually cure many congenital or acquired disorders of the bone marrow.

Current Research

Dr. Griffin Rodgers was named Director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) on April 1, 2007. His research interests include:

  1. genetic diseases: sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, red cell enzymopathies; clinical evaluation of disease severity; treatment, including pharmacological alteration of gene expression and stem cell transplantation.
  2. molecular genetics of human hemoglobins; gene expression and differentiation in erythroid cells in normal and perturbed hematopoietic states; pharmacological alteration of gene expression.
  3. hematopoiesis; role of inducible and stochastic factors; hematopoietic stem cell plasticity; identification of early markers of lineage-specific differentiation.
  4. the development of novel gene therapy strategies and their targeted application in cord blood hematopoietic stem cells.

As a research investigator, Dr. Rodgers is widely recognized for his contributions to the development of hydroxyurea, the first effective—and now FDA approved—therapy for sickle cell anemia. Research has shown that people with sickle cell anemia who took hydroxyurea at the recommended dose had higher survival rates than those who took less than the recommended dose.

Dr. Rodgers and his collaborators reported on a modified blood stem-cell transplant regimen that is highly effective in reversing sickle cell disease with relatively low toxicity, now in more than 60 adults. These results were replicated in adults with sickle cell anemia who were being treated at the University of Illinois and King Abdullah International Medical Research Center, and in children with sickle cell anemia who were being treated at the University of Calgary.

Dr. Rodgers continues to perform basic research to understand the molecular basis of how certain drugs induce gamma-globin gene expression. He is also engaged in investigations into targeting the delta-globin gene as an alternate strategy to therapies of the severe beta-globin disorders.

As Chief of the Molecular and Clinical Hematology Branch at the NIDDK, Dr. Rodgers is responsible for planning and conducting basic and clinical research on selected inherited and acquired diseases of human blood. He uses contemporary biochemical, molecular, and physiological techniques; develops and validates models, including cellular and transgenic systems, to permit the delineation of regulatory mechanisms in normal and pathological hematopoesis and to facilitate pharmacological or molecular genetic approaches to correct or compensate for abnormalities associated with disease states; and expedites the translation of novel basic scientific discovery to the appropriate level of preclinical or clinical investigation.

As Chief of the Molecular Hematology Section, Dr. Rodgers plans and conducts research on the molecular and cellular bases of selected congenital and acquired hematological disorders. He develops quantitative methods that are amenable to sequential applications to express disease severity or activity; examines gene expression and the differentiation of erythroid cells in normal and pathological hematopoietic states; studies the molecular basis of lineage-specific differentiation in hematopoietic stem cells; and develops therapies for hemoglobinopathies and other genetic blood disorders based on the modification of target gene expression.

Applying Our Research

An increased understanding of the molecular mechanisms controlling these events would increase our ability to combat selective cytopenias and could facilitate hematopoietic reconstitution following radiation, chemotherapy, and marrow or primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) transplantation. Leukemias and lymphomas are usually regarded as hematopoietic cells frozen at various stages of differentiation; additional insights into the basic mechanism of the differentiation process are important to our understanding of leukemias and lymphomas.


  • M.B.A., Johns Hopkins University, 2005
  • M.D., Brown University, 1979
  • M.M.Sc., Brown University, 1979
  • Sc.B., Brown University, 1976

Selected Publications

  1. Zhu J, Li H, Aerbajinai W, Kumkhaek C, Pirooznia M, Saxena A, Dagur P, Chin K, Rodgers GP. Kruppel-like factor 1-GATA1 fusion protein improves the sickle cell disease phenotype in mice both in vitro and in vivo. Blood. 2022;140(21):2276-2289.
  2. Zhu J, Chin K, Aerbajinai W, Kumkhaek C, Li H, Rodgers GP. Hydroxyurea-inducible SAR1 gene acts through the Giα/JNK/Jun pathway to regulate γ-globin expression. Blood. 2014;124(7):1146-56.
  3. Hsieh MM, Fitzhugh CD, Weitzel RP, Link ME, Coles WA, Zhao X, Rodgers GP, Powell JD, Tisdale JF. Nonmyeloablative HLA-matched sibling allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for severe sickle cell phenotype. JAMA. 2014;312(1):48-56.
  4. Liu W, Liu Y, Li H, Rodgers GP. Olfactomedin 4 contributes to hydrogen peroxide-induced NADPH oxidase activation and apoptosis in mouse neutrophils. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2018;315(4):C494-C501.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Wednesday, May 1, 2024