Heather Stefanski, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Division of Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation
“My goal is to improve transplant by bringing new treatments to my patients, not only giving them the best outcome here and now, but to also ensure they are thriving years down the road.”
Dr. Stefanski’s clinical interests include transplant for patients with leukemias, solid tumors or inherited immune system disorders, like severe combined immunodeficiency. She is also focused on how to make transplant safer, lessening the side effects and improving long-term health and wellness for patients.
Doctor of Philosphy (PhD): University of Minnesota (Immunology)
Medical School: University of Minnesota
Residency: University of Minnesota (Pediatrics)
Fellowship: University of Minnesota (Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Blood and Marrow Transplant)
Dr. Stefanski's research is focused on speeding up how quickly the immune system rebuilds after blood and marrow transplant (BMT). Blood cells called T lymphocytes are critical for fighting infections. After BMT, there are essentially no functional T cells often up to a year after transplant. In her laboratory, she is currently working on how to expand the amount of T cells given to patients, which should speed up engraftment (when the new blood-forming cells start to grow and make healthy blood stem cells). A faster engraftment means that patients may be able to leave the hospital sooner and, more importantly, improves the likelihood for a successful transplant.
A Selection of Recent Publications and Awards
Early hematopoietic stem cell transplant is associated with favorable outcomes in children with MDS.
Smith AR, Christiansen EC, Wagner JE, Cao Q, MacMillan ML, Stefanski HE, Trotz BA, Burke MJ, Verneris MR.
Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2013 Apr.
MicroRNAs control the maintenance of thymic epithelia and their competence for T lineage commitment and thymocyte selection. Zuklys S, Mayer CE, Zhanybekova S, Stefanski HE, Nusspaumer G, Gill J, Barthlott T, Chappaz S, Nitta T, Dooley J, Nogales-Cadenas R, Takahama Y, Finke D, Liston A, Blazar BR, Pascual-Montano A, Holländer GA. J Immunol. 2012 Oct 15.
Survival differences between adolescents/young adults and children with B precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation. Burke MJ, Gossai N, Wagner JE, Smith AR, Bachanova V, Cao Q, MacMillan ML, Stefanski HS, Weisdorf DJ, Verneris MR. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2013 Jan.
A randomized trial of one versus two doses of influenza vaccine after allogeneic transplantation.
Karras NA, Weeres M, Sessions W, Xu X, Defor T, Young JA, Stefanski H, Brunstein C, Cooley S, Miller JS, Blazar BR, Wagner JE, Verneris MR. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2013 Jan.
Click here to see more of Dr. Stefanski’s work which has been published by academic and research journals.
Margaret Kendrick Hostetter Fellow Research Award, Pediatric Research, Education and Scholarship Symposium, Minneapolis, Minnesota (2010)