Dr. Raman Sood's research in the Oncogenesis and Development Section investigates the genetic controls of blood formation (hematopoiesis) and genetic and genomic events that lead to leukemia development. The research is focused on acute myeloid leukemia with underlying chromosomal rearrangements. Animal models play a critical role in understanding the genetic regulation of normal development and disease pathophysiology. Dr. Sood utilizes the zebrafish model to investigate the transition of embryonic to larval hematopoiesis, thus taking advantage of the ability of zebrafish larvae to survive without blood for several days.
In addition, Dr. Sood directs the NHGRI Zebrafish Core, whose mission is to facilitate functional genomic studies of disease genes by NHGRI investigators using zebrafish. The core maintains zebrafish from several wild-type strains and transgenic lines in which specific tissues are marked by fluorescent reporters. Since it's opening in 2005, the core has developed zebrafish resources and efficient high-throughput methods for generation of genetic mutants using random and targeted approaches. The core stays current and adopts new technical developments in zebrafish research to best serve the variety of NHGRI researchers projects aimed at understanding the pathophysiology of various rare or common, simple or complex genetic diseases.
Through the study of novel zebrafish mutations in gata1 and runx1, two of the major regulators of primitive and definitive hematopoiesis, respectively, Drs. Sood and Liu have demonstrated differential requirements of these genes during different waves of hematopoiesis. These mutants provide tools for clarifying the mechanism of hematopoiesis and developing new therapeutics by high-throughput chemical screening.
Dr. Raman Sood obtained her B.Sc. and M.Sc. Honors degrees in biology from Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar, India. She obtained her Ph.D. training at Queen's University, Kingston, Canada, and post-doctoral training at Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada. She has been at National Institutes of Health since 1994, first at National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin diseases (NIAMS) and then at National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) since 1997. At NHGRI Dr. Sood was appointed as an associate investigator in 2001. Dr. Sood's long-term research interest has been to understand the molecular basis of human genetic disorders.
After participating in several research projects aimed at identification of the susceptibility genes in simple and complex genetic disorders and concomitant with the completion of the Human Genome Project, she became interested in the functional genomics analysis of genes using zebrafish model. With expert advice from Paul Liu, Ph.D., and Shawn Burgess, Ph.D., she started the NHGRI Zebrafish Core and has been its director since 2005. Dr. Sood has learned and applied genetic, genomic and bioinformatics tools to her research ranging from genome-wide association studies to positional cloning to functional genomics analysis using animal models. She has participated in several collaborative research projects and published more than 50 papers in peer-reviewed journals.
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Last Updated: January 6, 2015