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Akil A. Merchant, MD

Akil A. Merchant, MD

Akil A. Merchant, MD

  • IM/Hematology/Oncology
  • Lymphoma
  • Stem Cell Transplantation
  • CAR T Cell Therapy

Akil Merchant, MD, is an NIH funded physician-scientist who focuses on developing new treatments for blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma. In particular, he studies how interactions between tumor cells, cancer stem cells and the tumor immune microenvironment can drive the progression of tumors and resistance to chemotherapies. The work in the lab is organized in two major themes: 1) Hedgehog signaling in normal and malignant hematopoiesis. Currently we have two projects in the lab focused on Hedgehog signaling. The first is focused on understanding how loss of Gli2 and Gli3 disrupts stem cell function in normal hematopoietic stem cells. The aim of the second project is to understand how mutant JAK/STAT (JAK2V617F) signaling interacts with Hh/Smo activity in myeloproliferative neoplasms to drive fibrosis in the bone marrow. 2) Multiplex Imaging of the Tumor Microenvironment (TME). Dr. Merchant is a leader in applying imaging mass cytometry (IMC) to the study of the tumor immune microenvironment and is the founding director of the IMC Shared Resources Core at Cedars-Sinai. IMC is a novel imaging technology that allows for the simultaneous measurement of over 40 proteins in a single slice of tissue, at single cell resolution. Ultimately our goal is better understand the immune response to cancer so we can predict which patients will respond to treatment with immuno-oncology drugs and identify new immuno-oncology targets in the future.

  • Medical School: Baylor College of Medicine, 2000
  • Residency: Baylor College of Medicine, 2005
  • Fellowship: Johns Hopkins University, 2010


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