Sridhar Rao, MD

Pediatric Hematology-Oncology
Children’s Wisconsin since 2011
  • Pediatric blood and marrow transplant specialist, Children's Wisconsin
  • Associate professor, Medical College of Wisconsin





  • Pediatric Hematology-Oncology

Areas of Interest

  • Cancer
  • BMT
  • BMT alternative donors
  • BMT for aplastic anemia
  • BMT for leukemia
  • BMT for sickle cell disease
  • BMT non myeloablative
  • Bone marrow failure diseases
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Education and Awards


  • 2001, University of Chicago-Pritzker School of Medicine, MD


  • 2004, Boston Children's Hospital - Pediatrics


  • 2007, Boston Children's Hospital - Ped Hem/Onc

Research and publications


Stem Cell Biology / Hematopoiesis
In Dr. Rao’s laboratory, researchers are discovering how leukemia develops. Stem cells are defined by two unique properties: self-renewal, or the ability to undergo symmetric cell division to maintain a stable pool, and "potency", or the ability to differentiate down multiple lineages. In the case of embryonic stem (ES) cells, their unique ability to differentiate into all three germ layers that form the embryo is termed pluripotency. Adult stem cells, such as the hematopoietic stem cell (HSC), are more restricted in their differentiation potential, but can fully recreate a tissue in vivo. Recently, the stem cell model has been extended into cancer, with cancer stem cells identified in certain malignancies such as acute myeloid leukemia (AML). While many of the factors required for stem cells are well described, none have been shown to play a critical role in all types of stem cells. Factors critical for all three stem cell types would likely operate by controlling a specific "stemness program" used by all stem cells for self-renewal and/or multipotency. Identification of such a program could provide new avenues to identify stem cells in vivo, enhance the reprogramming/generation of stem cells for use in regenerative medicine, and provide novel targets for the development of anti-cancer therapeutics.