Nelson Jen An Chao, MD

Professor of Medicine
Donald D. and Elizabeth G. Cooke Cancer Research Professor
Professor in Immunology
ResearchProfessor of Global Health
Professor in Pathology
Member of the Duke Cancer Institute
Chief, Division of Cell Therapy in the Department of Medicine
Affiliate of the Regeneration Next Initiative
Campus mail 1146 N Pavilion, Durham, NC 27710
Phone (919) 668-1011
Email address

My research interests are in two broad areas, clinical hematopoietic stem cell and cord blood transplantation and in the laboratory studies related to graft vs. host disease and immune reconstitution. On the clinical side we are currently conducting approximately 50 different clinical protocols ranging from preparatory regimens, supportive care studies and disease specific protocols. Most of these clinical studies are centered around studies of the sources of stem cells and the methods to improve the long term outcome. There are exploratory protocols for novel therapies such as dendritic cell therapy for several malignancies, antiangiogenesis therapy, graft engineering to prevent graft-versus-host disease and antigen specific T cells or non specific NK cells to prevent relapse. Moreover a strong focus of the program is to develop cord-blood transplantation for adult patients with hematologic malignancies. The laboratory studies center on understanding the immunological events that occur with graft-vs-host disease and methods to prevent this disease. The current efforts focus on understanding murine reconstitution following transplantation, use of a peptide polymer to block MHC class II recognition of minor histocompatibility antigens, use of T cell engineering to prevent graft-versus-host disease at the same time preserving a graft-versus-malignancy effect.

For more information see

In Their Words

Education and Training

  • Fellow in Oncology, Medicine, Stanford University, 1985 - 1987
  • Medical Resident, Medicine, Stanford University, 1981 - 1984
  • M.D., Yale University, 1981


Brenner, DJ, Chao, NJ, Greenberger, JS, Guha, C, McBride, WH, Swartz, HM, and Williams, JP. "Are We Ready for a Radiological Terrorist Attack Yet? Report From the Centers for Medical Countermeasures Against Radiation Network." International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics 92, no. 3 (July 2015): 504-505.

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Tuchman, SA, Bacon, WA, Huang, L-W, Long, G, Rizzieri, D, Horwitz, M, Chute, JP, Sullivan, K, Morris Engemann, A, Yopp, A, Li, Z, Corbet, K, Chao, N, and Gasparetto, C. "Cyclophosphamide-based hematopoietic stem cell mobilization before autologous stem cell transplantation in newly diagnosed multiple myeloma." Journal of clinical apheresis 30, no. 3 (June 2015): 176-182.

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DeBo, RJ, Register, TC, Caudell, DL, Sempowski, GD, Dugan, G, Gray, S, Owzar, K, Jiang, C, Bourland, JD, Chao, NJ, and Cline, JM. "Molecular and cellular profiling of acute responses to total body radiation exposure in ovariectomized female cynomolgus macaques." International journal of radiation biology 91, no. 6 (June 2015): 510-518.

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Flynn, R, Allen, JL, Luznik, L, MacDonald, KP, Paz, K, Alexander, KA, Vulic, A, Du, J, Panoskaltsis-Mortari, A, Taylor, PA, Poe, JC, Serody, JS, Murphy, WJ, Hill, GR, Maillard, I, Koreth, J, Cutler, CS, Soiffer, RJ, Antin, JH, Ritz, J, Chao, NJ, Clynes, RA, Sarantopoulos, S, and Blazar, BR. "Targeting Syk-activated B cells in murine and human chronic graft-versus-host disease." Blood 125, no. 26 (June 2015): 4085-4094.

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Musselwhite, LW, Schroeder, K, Bhattacharya, M, Vanderburg, SB, Masalu, NA, Chandy, M, Mauad, E, Bartlett, J, Kastan, MB, Merson, M, and Chao, NJA. "Duke University Global Cancer Program: A multidisciplinary approach to partnerships in global cancer care." May 20, 2015.


Arai, S, Arora, M, Wang, T, Spellman, SR, He, W, Couriel, DR, Urbano-Ispizua, A, Cutler, CS, Bacigalupo, AA, Battiwalla, M, Flowers, ME, Juckett, MB, Lee, SJ, Loren, AW, Klumpp, TR, Prockup, SE, Ringdén, OTH, Savani, BN, Socié, G, Schultz, KR, Spitzer, T, Teshima, T, Bredeson, CN, Jacobsohn, DA, Hayashi, RJ, Drobyski, WR, Frangoul, HA, Akpek, G, Ho, VT, Lewis, VA, Gale, RP, Koreth, J, Chao, NJ, Aljurf, MD, Cooper, BW, Laughlin, MJ, Hsu, JW, Hematti, P, Verdonck, LF, Solh, MM, and Norkin, M et al. "Increasing incidence of chronic graft-versus-host disease in allogeneic transplantation: a report from the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research." Biology of blood and marrow transplantation : journal of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation 21, no. 2 (February 2015): 266-274.

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Tuchman, SA, Bacon, WA, Huang, LW, Long, G, Rizzieri, D, Horwitz, M, Chute, JP, Sullivan, K, Engemann, AM, Yopp, A, Li, Z, Corbet, K, Chao, N, and Gasparetto, C. "Cyclophosphamide-based hematopoietic stem cell mobilization before autologous stem cell transplantation in newly diagnosed multiple myeloma." Journal of Clinical Apheresis 30, no. 3 (January 1, 2015): 176-182.

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Quarmyne, M, Doan, PL, Himburg, HA, Yan, X, Nakamura, M, Zhao, L, Chao, NJ, and Chute, JP. "Protein tyrosine phosphatase-σ regulates hematopoietic stem cell-repopulating capacity." Journal of Clinical Investigation 125, no. 1 (January 2015): 177-182.

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Himburg, HA, Yan, X, Doan, PL, Quarmyne, M, Micewicz, E, McBride, W, Chao, NJ, Slamon, DJ, and Chute, JP. "Pleiotrophin mediates hematopoietic regeneration via activation of RAS." The Journal of clinical investigation 124, no. 11 (November 2014): 4753-4758.

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Wang, C, Belley, MD, Chao, NJ, Dewhirst, MW, and Yoshizumi, T. "Verification of a novel method for tube voltage constancy measurement of orthovoltage x-ray irradiators." Medical physics 41, no. 8 (August 2014): 084101-.

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