Dr. Stefanie Sarantopoulos Named Division Chief of Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy

Stefanie Sarantopoulos, MD, PhD, will assume the role of division chief for the division of Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy, effective January 1, 2024.

Dr. Sarantopoulos is a professor in the division of Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy, a professor in the department of integrative immunobiology, and co-leader of the Immuno-Oncology Program at the Duke Cancer Institute (DCI). She also directs the Duke Chronic Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD) Multi-Disciplinary Research Care Team. She currently serves as the vice chief of research within the Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy Division.

Dr. Sarantopoulos received her MD and PhD degrees from Boston University School of Medicine in 1998 before completing postgraduate training in internal medicine at Boston Medical Center, where she also served as chief medical resident. After fellowship training in Hematology-Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in 2005, Dr. Sarantopoulos served as an instructor in medicine and attending physician on the leukemia and transplant services for four years, before accepting her first tenure-track faculty position at The University of North Carolina in 2009.

In 2013, she was recruited to Duke to initiate a basic-translational chronic GVHD research program. The Sarantopoulos research team has become internationally known for work aimed at developing safer, curative immunotherapy for patients with hematological malignancies.

Over the last decade, Dr. Sarantopoulos has been at the forefront of studies of B cell fate and function after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT). She recently led the NIH Consensus Project on the Etiology and Prevention of Chronic GVHD. She published more than 95 manuscripts focusing on basic mechanisms and clinical approaches in stem cell therapy as well as invited editorial and clinical management pieces for journals such as New England Journal of Medicine and Blood. Her laboratory has demonstrated the importance of altered B cell homeostasis and aberrant B cell receptor signaling in patients with chronic GVHD. Her laboratory work has been translated into clinical trials in the field of hematological malignancies and cellular therapy leading to induction into the American Society of Clinical Investigators (ASCI) in recognition of her accomplishments.

Having served on numerous scientific advisory committees and as recent past chair of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Scholar award review committee, Dr. Sarantopoulos also serves as an associate editor of the Journal of Transplantation and Cellular Therapy. As an elected board member and director of Laboratory Sciences for the ASTCT, she helped forge the diversity and inclusion efforts for the society.  As vice chair of research for HMCT, she has actively mentored students, post-doctoral fellows, clinical fellows and junior faculty.

The department would like to extend sincere appreciation to Dr. Nelson Chao for his exceptional leadership of the division of Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy for the past 26 years. During this time, he has been one of the leading authorities in bone marrow transplantation and GVHD in the US and has kept Duke at the forefront of this field. He has provided strong and steady support of the division’s faculty, staff and trainees while also making significant contributions to the department and DCI. Dr. Chao will continue to focus on his research program and his work in global oncology.