Michelle Le Beau, Ph.D.


  • Arthur and Marian Edelstein Professor, Department of Medicine - Section of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Human Genetics, Ben May Department for Cancer Research, Committee on Cancer Biology, Committee on Genetics
  • Director, The University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center (UCCCC)
  • Director, Cancer Cytogenetics Laboratory


Ph.D., University of Illinois-Chicago, 1981

M.S., University of Illinois-Chicago, 1978

B.S., Purdue University, 1976


The University of Chicago
AMB H212Q, (MC 1140)
5841 South Maryland Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60637


Phone:  (773) 702-0795

Website (Cancer Research Center)

Website (Ben May)


Molecular Analysis of Recurring Chromosomal Abnormalities in Human Tumors; Identification of Cooperating Mutations and Genetic Pathways Leading to Transformation

Human tumors are characterized by recurring chromosomal abnormalities as well as molecular changes that lead to the activation of oncogenes, and loss of function of tumor suppressor genes.  Dr. Le Beau has been recognized for her work in identifying recurring cytogenetic abnormalities, in defining the clinical, morphological, and cytogenetic subsets of leukemia, in identifying the genetic pathways that lead to myeloid leukemias, and on the application of fluorescence in situ hybridization technology for clinical diagnostics and gene mapping.

Much of her work has focused on characterizing the cytogenetic, clinical, and morphologic features of therapy-related myeloid neoplasms (t-MN), an aggressive form of myelodysplastic syndrome or acute myeloid leukemia arising in patients who have been treated with cytotoxic therapy for a primary malignant disease, such as a solid tumor.  The contributions of the Le Beau laboratory include: 1) the recognition that abnormalities of chromosomes 5 and/or 7 are the hallmark of t-MN following alkylating agent therapy; 2) delineation of a 970 kb commonly deleted segment (CDS) of 5q, and preparation of a genomic contig and transcript map of this region; 3) determining that the myeloid leukemia gene acts by haploinsufficiency and proposing that t-MN associated with a del(5q) results from the simultaneous loss of multiple haploinsufficient genes on 5q; 4) identifying the first haploinsufficient myeloid leukemia suppressor gene within the CDS of 5q, EGR1; 5) determining that APC (5q22.2) is haploinsufficient in myeloid neoplasms with a del(5q), that Apc is essential for the maintenance and survival of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells in mice, and that haploinsufficiency results in a fatal macrocytic anemia, recapitulating characteristic features of t-MN with a del(5q); 6) demonstrating that haploinsufficiency of Egr1 and Apc cooperate to accelerate anemia onset; and 7) determining that loss of Tp53 in BM cells haploinsufficient for both Egr1 and Apc is permissive for the development of AML in mice, thereby establishing the first mouse model for t-MN with a del(5q).  Ongoing projects include the delineation of additional genes on chromosome 5 that cooperate with EGR1 and APC in the pathogenesis of t-MN, as well as the analysis of the synergistic cross-talk between the bone marrow microenvironment or “stem cell niche” and hematopoietic stem cells during normal blood cell development and in leukemogenesis. 

Research Papers in PubMed