H. Leighton (Lee) Grimes, PhD

Director, Cancer Pathology Program, Division of Experimental Hematology & Division of Pathology

Co-Leader, Program in Hematologic Malignancies of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics

Phone: 513-636-6089

Fax: 513-636-5355


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Transcriptional control of hematopoiesis and cancer.

Visit the Grimes Lab.


Grimes Laboratory:

The cloning and characterization of oncoproteins and tumor suppressors over the last 25 years has not only resulted in a greater understanding of the molecular mechanisms of transformation, but it has also provided a large set of therapeutic targets. Our lab is interested in the progression of a cell with a single genetic lesion to an invasive cancer with multiple genetic alterations. We focus on the Growth factor independence-1 (Gfi1) transcription factor, which is poorly oncogenic alone, but which potently collaborates with well known oncoproteins such as c-MYC. Gfi1 is the most frequently targeted gene in Moloney murine leukemia virus-induced tumors and induces tumor progression to cytokine-independent growth. In contrast, loss of Gfi1 in hematopoietic stem cells induces cell cycle progression and eventual bone marrow failure; implicating Gfi1 as a tumor suppressor in such cells. Gfi1 null mice have no mature neutrophils, and we have identified humans with Severe Congenital Neutropenia (SCN) and Non-Immune Chronic Idiopathic Neutropenia of Adults (NI-CINA) bearing mutations in Gfi1. Interestingly, such patients are at increased risk for the development of myelodysplastic syndromes and acute myeloid leukemia. We have recently generated the first mouse model of Severe Congenital Neutropenia through the expression of mutant Gfi1 proteins in primary murine hematopoietic cells. Moreover, we are utilizing mouse models of human cancer to assess the risk of Gfi1 mutant humans for the development of acute myeloid leukemia.

Education and Training

PhD: Immunology and Molecular Pathology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

Postdoctoral Fellow: Fox Chase Cancer Center.


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