Lapalombella Lab

The Lapalombella Lab at the OSUCCC – James, led by cancer research expert and Principal Investigator Rosa Lapalombella, PhD, is dedicated to identifying novel epigenetic therapies for hematological malignancies. These include chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), Richter’s syndrome, sickle cell anemia and acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

These internationally recognized research experts are working toward two main goals:

  1. Translational therapies for CLL and Richter’s syndrome (for which there are no current therapies for the latter)
  2. Basic research in epigenetics to understand why a chronic (yet treatable) disease like CLL transforms into a difficult-to-treat lymphoma. 

Dedicated to cutting-edge research for developing therapies for leukemia patients, the Lapalombella Lab features world-renowned experts who are studying mechanisms at the cellular level that induce leukemia and lymphoma development, ultimately targeting new therapies using precision medicine and passion.

There is no routine blood cancer, and today, cancer is no longer solely defined by location or stage. Each patient is different, with unique genetic biomarkers driving his or her cancer, and the Lapalombella Lab uses unique expertise and skill to change, impact and improve people’s lives with innovation and compassion.


At the OSUCCC – James, the Lapalombella Lab is part of the Experimental Hematology Lab, and their mission is to understand and identify novel therapies for hematological malignancies arising from nongenetic influences on gene expression.

Further, these world-renowned experts are focusing on developing new therapeutic options for sickle cell anemia and Richter’s syndrome, leading the way in cutting-edge research that ultimately will improve the outcomes of patients diagnosed with complicated and often hard-to-treat forms of leukemia and lymphoma.

How We Do It

As part of the OSUCCC – James Experimental Hematology Lab, the Lapalombella Lab’s leader and principal investigator, Rosa Lapalombella, PhD, is using her team’s extensive experience and dedication to improve treatment options for patients in order to work toward a cancer-free world.

This internationally recognized team of scientists and researchers work together skillfully and collaboratively to develop unique therapies for CLL and its complications. In doing so, their goal is to understand better how epigenetics plays a role in developing these cancers and to identify a therapy for each kind of hematologic malignancy.

Who We Are

An integral part of the OSUCCC – James Experimental Hematology Lab – one of the largest leukemia research centers in the country – the Lapalombella Lab is led by research expert and Principal Investigator Rosa Lapalombella, PhD, and comprises 12 researchers across numerous medical and research disciplines.

This diverse team of experts includes talented scientists and researchers who show a passion and interest in science. The team works collectively, with a willingness to learn from one another, to make an impact in a field that saves lives.

Principal Investigator:

Rosa Lapalombella, PhD

Research Assistants:

Katie Williams, MS
Jordan Skinner
Casey Cempre
Larry Beaver
Hannah Phillips
Daniel Canfield

Graduate Research Assistants:

Matthew Cannon
Janek Walker
Steven Sher
Pu Zhang
Abigail Beer
James Cronin

Postdoctoral Fellows:

Lindsey Brinton, PhD

Undergraduate Research Assistants:

Francesca Savona
Mukul Govande

Breakthroughs and Discoveries

The OSUCCC – James Lapalombella Lab is dedicated to intensive research designed to discover translational therapies for CLL and Richter’s syndrome.

Additionally, these scientists and research experts also focus on sickle cell anemia, a complicated and difficult blood disorder mediated by a single-point gene mutation.

Because researchers have discovered there is a form of globin that is expressed in the fetus but not in an adult, scientists in the Lapalombella Lab are working toward restructuring the chromatin so that this form of globin can be expressed during adult life. If this is accomplished, these experts can find a way to improve and understand the re-expression, therefore progressing treatment for this painful disease.

Collaboration With Other Ohio State Labs and Research Teams: Grants and Drug Studies

When the Lapalombella Lab team looks for scientists and researchers to join their lab, they are looking for exceptionally strong team players. Candidates must show the same level of passion and interest in science as current team members, and they need to resolute about making an impact not only in research, but most importantly, in patients’ lives. 

This same enthusiasm for science and innovative ideas must exist among collaborative researchers who work with the Lapalombella Lab team. A willingness to work hard is paramount, as is coming to the team with a dedicated vision for discovery and success.

Principal Investigator Rosa Lapalombella, PhD, has published several papers, most recently on the topic of Bromodomain protein 4 in Cancer Discovery.

The team has also received R01 grants to study the therapeutic potential of targeting NAMPT in AML and the XPO1-mediated nuclear export process in CLL, as well as to identify new therapies for Richter’s syndrome. In addition, Dr Lapalombella is supported by an American Cancer Society scholar award to study the molecular events driving Richter’s. 

Dr. Lapalombella is also working with Dr. Robert Baiocchi, a world-recognized hematology expert and member of the OSUCCC – James Leukemia Research Program, on a large collaborative project after receiving funding from a P01 grant from the NIH and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to study the role of PRMT5 in mantle cell lymphoma. 

For more information on collaborations, please contact Michelle Grindley at 614-293-5594.


Contact Us

CCC Room 458
410 W. 12th Ave.
Columbus, OH 43210

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