Sophie Paczesny, MD, PhD

Sophie Paczesny, MD, PhD

Nora Letzter Professor of Pediatrics

Phone: 317-278-5487
Email: sophpacz@iu.edu
1044 W. Walnut Street, Room R4-425
Indianapolis, IN 46202


Areas of Interest

Pediatric hematology/oncology, particularly in HSCT, with my focus on translational research science and with the goal of converting bench discoveries to the bedside.


A Professor of the Blood Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Program at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Dr. Paczesny leads the Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) biomarker discovery and validation research. She received her MD and PhD from Paris University, France, where she completed her residency and fellowship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation. She joined first the Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program at the University of Michigan in 2006 where she has developed proteomics for the diagnosis of GVHD, a complication that occurs in approximately half of patients following allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation.  With her responsibilities at Indiana University and affiliations with the Simon Cancer Center, Wells Center for Pediatric Research, Department of Pediatrics, and Department of Immunology, and is pursuing her research of discovery and validation of biomarkers of complications post-transplantation as well as bring new targeted therapies to the clinic and explore novel pathways in GVHD.


1985-1989 B.S., Academy of Nancy-Metz, Mathematics and Life Sciences
1989-1995 M.D., University of Strasbourg
1998-1999 M.S., University of Paris VII
2000-2004 Ph.D., University of Paris VII

Honors & Awards

  • 1999 Second Prize at the Research Meeting of Avicenne Hospital, Paris XIII, France
  • 2000 Medaille d’Argent (silver medal), Paris University Hospitals Residency Program, France
  • 2000 Co-first Prize, Best Fellow Academic Work, France
  • 2001 8th National Symposium: Basic Aspects of Vaccines, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research Travel Award, United States
  • 2003 Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies-FOCIS Travel Award, United States
  • 2005 Marie Curie Action Travel Award, European Society of Hematology, Europe
  • 2006 Cancer Prize, Academy National of Medicine, Paris, France
  • 2006 Eric Archambaud Prize, French Bone Marrow Transplantation Society, Lyon, France
  • 2008 ASH 50th Annual Meeting Travel Award, San Francisco, CA, United States
  • 2008 Research Fellow Award for Clinical Investigation/Health Services, Ann Arbor, MI, United States
  • 2009 Faculty Award for Clinical Investigation/Health Services, Ann Arbor, MI, United States
  • 2010 ASBMT Annual Meeting Best Abstract Award, Orlando, FL, United States (one of the six best abstracts among 540 international abstracts submitted)
  • 2010 EBMT 36th Annual Meeting Best Abstract Award presented at the Presidential Symposium, Vienna, Austria (one of the six best abstracts among 1100 international abstracts submitted)
  • 2010 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting Abstract Reviewer
  • 2011 Amy Strelzer Manasevit Research Program 2011 Scholar
  • 2014 American Society for Clinical Investigation member


Research & Grants

Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is a major therapy for malignant diseases of the blood and bone marrow and the most potent form of immune therapy against these diseases through its graft-versus-leukemia/tumor (GVL/GVT) effect. However, the efficacy of allogeneic HSCT has been impeded by frequent and severe graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD) that is tightly linked to the GVL/GVT effect. The immunobiology of GVHD (both acute and chronic) and GVL responses are complex and cytokines and cellular effectors are critical. The Paczesny lab is focused on understanding the role of cytokines and cellular effectors in the biology of GVHD/GVL by discovering and investigating biomarkers in the blood and tissues of patients following allogeneic HSCT. Currently no laboratory tests exist to predict the risk of developing GVHD, responsiveness to treatment, or patient survival. The goal of the lab is to develop such tests integrating both proteomic and cellular biomarkers for the diagnosis and prognosis of GVHD. Dr. Paczesny’s research is supported by numerous awards from the National Marrow Donor Program through the Amy Strelzer Manasevit Scholars grant, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and the NIH.  Dr. Paczesny collaborates with many prominent scientists.  Her collaboration list includes investigators from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (Juliet Baker), Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Stephanie Lee, John Hansen, Paul Carpenter), Dana Farber Cancer Institute (Jerry Ritz), University of Michigan (Pavan Reddy), Necker, Paris, Boston Children’s (Christine Duncan) as well as those working on the NIH Consensus Committee.  With her extensive list of collaborators, Dr. Paczesny also partners with investigators within Indiana University such as Jamie Renbarger, Helmut Hanenberg, Sherif Farag, Jake Chen, and Xiaowen Liu.

Title: Translating Novel Drug-targetable Biomarkers to Treat Graft versus Host Disease
Sponsor: NIH/NCI R01
Role: Principal Investigator

Title: High Throughput Screening (HTS) to Discover Graft-Versus-Host Disease Inhibitors
Sponsor: NIH/NCI R01
Role: Principal Investigator

Title: Bridging Pediatric and Adult Biomarkers of Graft-Versus-Host-Disease
Sponsor: NIH/NICHD R01
Role: Principal Investigator

Title: Proteome of Chronic Graft Versus Host Disease
Sponsor: 200513 Amy Strelzer Manasevit Research Program, NMDP/Be the Match Foundation
Role: Principal Investigator

Title: Translating Novel Drug-targetable Biomarkers to Treat Graft versus Host Disease
Sponsor: Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
Role: Scholar

Title: Biomarkers of Sinusoidal Obstructive Syndrome in Children Undergoing Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation
Sponsor: NIH/NICHD U54 – Indiana University Center for Pediatric Pharmacology
Role: Project 2 Principal Investigator



Kitko CL, Levine JE, Storer BE, Chai X, Fox DA, Braun TM, Couriel DR, Martin PJ, Flowers ME, Hansen JA, Chang L, Conlon M, Fiema BJ, Morgan R, Pongtornpipat P, Lamiman K, Ferrara JL, Lee SJ, Paczesny S. Plasma CXCL9 elevations correlate with chronic GVHD diagnosis. Blood. 2014 Jan 30.

Vander Lugt MT, Braun TM, Hanash S, Ritz J, Ho VT, Antin JH, Zhang Q, Wong CH, Wang H, Chin A, Gomez A, Harris AC, Levine JE, Choi SW, Couriel D, Reddy P, Ferrara JL, Paczesny S. ST2 as a marker for risk of therapy-resistant graft-versus-host disease and death. N Engl J Med. 2013 Aug 8.

Levine JE, Logan BR, Wu J, Alousi AM, Bolaños-Meade J, Ferrara JL, Ho VT, Weisdorf DJ, Paczesny S. Acute graft-versus-host disease biomarkers measured during therapy can predict treatment outcomes: a Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network study. Blood. 2012 April 19

Harris AC, Ferrara JL, Braun TM, Holler E, Teshima T, Levine JE, Choi SW, Landfried K, Akashi K, Vander Lugt M, Couriel DR, Reddy P, Paczesny S. Plasma biomarkers of lower gastrointestinal and liver acute graft-versus-host disease. Blood. 2012 Mar 22;119(12):2960-3.2012 Jan 27.

Ferrara JL, Harris AC, Greenson JK, Braun TM, Holler E, Teshima T, Levine JE, Choi SW, Huber E, Landfried K, Akashi K, Vander Lugt MT, Reddy P, Chin A, Zhang Q, Hanash S, Paczesny S. Regenerating islet-derived 3-alpha is a biomarker of gastrointestinal graft-versus-host disease. Blood 2011, 118:6702-8

Magenau JM, Qin X, Tawara I, Rogers CE, Kitko C, Schlough M, Bickley D, Braun TM, Jang PS, Lowler KP, Jones DM, Choi SW, Reddy P, Mineishi S, Levine JE, Ferrara JL, Paczesny S. Frequency of CD4(+)CD25(hi)FOXP3(+) regulatory T cells has diagnostic and prognostic value as a biomarker for acute graft-versus-host-disease. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2010, 16:907-914

Paczesny S, Braun TM, Levine JE, Hogan J, Crawford J, Coffing B, Olsen, S, Choi SW, Wang H, Faca V, Pitteri S, Zhang Q, Chin A, Kitko C, Mineishi S, Yanik G, Peres E, Hanauer D, Wang Y, Reddy P, Hanash S, and Ferrara JLM. Elafin is a biomarker of graft versus host disease of the skin. Sci Transl Med 2010, 2(13): 13ra2.

Paczesny S, Levine JE, Braun TM and Ferrara JL. Plasma biomarkers in GVHD: A new era? Biol Blood Marrow Transplant, 2009 Jan; 15(1 Suppl):33-38.

Paczesny S, Krijanovski O, Braun TM, Choi S, Clouthier SG, Kuick R, Misek DE, Cooke KR, Kitko CL, Weyand A, Bickley D, Jones D, Whitfield J, Reddy P, Levine JE, Hanash SM ,Ferrara JL. A biomarker panel for acute graft versus host disease. Blood (plenary paper), 2009 Jan; 113:273-278.

Li YP, Paczesny S, Lauret E, Poirault S, Bordigoni P, Mekhloufi F, Hequet O, Bertrand Y, Ou-Yang JP, Stoltz JF, Miossec P, Eljaafari A. Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells License Adult CD34+ Hemopoietic Progenitor Cells to Differentiate into Regulatory Dendritic Cells through Activation of the Notch Pathway. Journal of Immunology, 2008 Feb 1; 180 (3): 1598-608.