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Elias Thomas Zambidis, M.D., Ph.D.

Headshot of Elias Thomas Zambidis
  • Associate Professor of Oncology

Languages: English, Greek


Bone Marrow Failure, Bone Marrow Transplant, General Pediatrics, Haploidentical Bone Marrow Transplant, Histiocytosis, Immune Dysregulation Disorders, Leukemia, Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (NHL), Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant, Pediatric Hematology Oncology, Pediatric Oncology, Stem Cell Transplants more

Research Interests

Stem Cell Biology; Regenerative Medicine; Pediatric Immune Disorders; Histiocytic Disorders; Bone Marrow Transplantation more

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The Johns Hopkins Hospital (Main Entrance)

Appointment Phone: 410-955-8751
1800 Orleans St.
The Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children's Center Building, 11th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21287 map
Fax: 410-955-0028


Dr. Zambidis is Associate Professor of Oncology and Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and a member of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. Dr. Zambidis’ clinical expertise is in the treatment of disorders of the immune system, histiocytic disorders, hematologic malignancies, blood and bone marrow transplantation (BMT), and regenerative medicine. His research interest focuses on advancing our understanding of pluripotent stem cells– the ‘master’ stem cells that can generate any new cell or tissue that the body needs to repair itself. Dr. Zambidis earned his M.D./Ph.D. in the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Rochester, Rochester, N.Y. He completed his Pediatrics Residency in the Department of Pediatrics, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, and his clinical/research fellowships in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and the National Cancer Institute at the NIH. Dr. Zambidis has been interested in the biology of stem cells since he came to Johns Hopkins, in 2001. As a Pediatric Hematology/Oncology fellow, he was one of the very first Hopkins investigators to work with human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), beginning shortly after they were made available to the biomedical research community, in 2002. Dr. Zambidis was awarded the first NIH K08 Clinician-Scientist Training Award specifically investigating the therapeutic potential of human pluripotent stem cells (2004). After joining the Hopkins faculty, in 2005, he developed an experimental model of the early formation process of human blood and blood vessels using human pluripotent stem cells.

The Zambidis laboratory at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering focuses on understanding the developmental biology of human hemato-vascular and human pluripotent stem cells. More recently, his group completed studies on highly efficient methods for generating nonintegrated, human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) lines from myeloid progenitors. His group has developed novel hiPSC-based vascular therapies for retinopathies, and more recently derived a new class of human pluripotent stem cells in a naïve ground state with new functionalities with even greater potency and stronger regenerative capacities. As a BMT physician-scientist, his long-term goal is to use hESC, hiPSC, and related pluripotent stem cell technologies to not only treat severe degenerative diseases, but also to elucidate the biological nature of cancer and aging. more


  • Associate Professor of Oncology
  • Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes



  • MD PhD; University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry (1998)


  • Pediatrics; Washington University School of Medicine -St Louis Children's Hospital (2001)


  • Pediatric Hematology-Oncology; Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (2004)

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Pediatrics (Pediatrics) (2015)

Additional Training

  • Diplomate, American Board of Pediatrics

Research & Publications

Research Summary

The Zambidis laboratory at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering focuses on the study of human developmental biology and the therapeutic applications of human stem cells. His group employs genetic manipulation and differentiation of human embryonic stem cells (hESC) and human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) to study the cellular and molecular mechanisms of human hematopoiesis, vasculogenesis, cardiogenesis, and retinal development. For example, Dr. Zambidis’ lab has made important contributions to understanding the developmental biology of human hemato-vascular stem cells. Using normal hESC and hematopoietic disease-affected hiPSC, his group first reported how early mesodermal progenitors and human hemangioblast (bi-potential progenitor of hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) and endothelium) may give rise to the entire human hematopoietic and vascular systems, and whether such progenitors can be derived and expanded from differentiating hiPSC. His group also completed studies on highly efficient methods for generating nonintegrated, human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) lines from myeloid progenitors. More recent efforts have focused on the derivation of a new class of human pluripotent stem cells in a more primitive naïve ground state than conventional hiPSC and with improved functionalities. His group has employed these novel human stem cells to develop hiPSC-based vascular therapies for ischemic retinopathies. These discoveries have wide impact in both vascular and ocular regenerative medicine, and for regenerating damaged blood vessels in stroke and diabetes. Other major area of focus include the determination of the shared molecular circuits that regulate both malignant transformation and the maintenance of pluripotency. Dr. Zambidis’ research efforts are synchronized with existing infrastructure of the Johns Hopkins bone marrow transplantation (BMT) program. As a BMT physician-scientist, his ultimate goal is to use hESC, hiPSC, and related pluripotent stem cell technologies to not only treat severe degenerative diseases, but also to elucidate the biological nature of cancer and aging.

Technology Expertise Keywords

Histiocytic Disorders, Stem Cell Transplantation (blood disorders)

Selected Publications

Park TS, Zimmerlin, L., Evans-Moses, R, Thomas, J, Huo, JS, Kanherkar, R, He, A, Ruzgar, N, Grebe, R, Bhutto, I, Barbato, M, Koldobskiy, MA, Lutty, G, Zambidis, ET. Vascular Progenitors Generated from Tankyrase Inhibitor-Regulated Naïve Diabetic Human iPSC Potentiate Efficient Revascularization of Ischemic Retina. Nature Com, 2020, 2020 Mar 5;11(1):1195. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-14764-5. PMC7058090.

Zimmerlin L, Park TS, Huo JS, Verma, Pather, S Talbot Jr. CC, Agarwal J, Steppan D, Peters A, Zang Y, Guo H, Pandiyan K, Zhong X, Guiterez G, Hampton C, Young C, Canto-Soler V, Friedman A, Baylin SB, Zambidis ET, Tankyrase inhibition promotes a stable human naïve pluripotent state with improved functionality. Development. 2016; 143(22): 4368-4380. PMC5201042.

Park TS, Bhutto I, Zimmerlin L, Huo JS, Nagaria P, Miller D, Rufaihah AJ, Talbot C, Aguilar J, Merges C, Reijo-Pera R, Cooke J, Feldman RA, Rassool F, Lutty G, Zambidis ET, Vascular progenitors from cord blood-derived iPSC possess augmented capacity to regenerate ischemic retinal vasculature. Circulation. 2014; 129(3):359-72. PMC4090244.

Burridge PW, Thompson S, Millrod MA, Weinberg S, Yuan X, Tung L, Zambidis ET, A universal system for highly efficient cardiac differentiation of human induced pluripotent stem cells that eliminates interline variability. PLoS One. 2011; 6(4): e18293. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0018293. PMC3072973. 

Zambidis ET, Park TS, Yu W, Tam A, Levine M, Yuan X, Pryzhkova M, Peault B, Expression of ACE (CD143) identifies and regulates primitive hemangioblasts derived from human pluripotent stem cells. Blood. 2008; 112: 3601-3614. PMC2572789

Contact for Research Inquiries

Miller Research Bldg
733 N Broadway
Room 755
Baltimore, MD 21205 map
Phone: 443-287-2949

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Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Cellular and Molecular Medicine

Activities & Honors


  • International Society of Stem Cell Research, 2006
  • American Society of Hematology, 2004
  • American Association of Pediatrics, 2001
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology, 2004 - 2008

Videos & Media

Play Video:

Elias Zambidis | Using Stem Cells to Study Cancer

Recent News Articles and Media Coverage

'Primitive' stem cells shown to regenerate blood vessels in the eye, EurekAlert!  (March 9, 2020)

What is fetal tissue research? And why is it important to medicine? NBC News (June 9, 2019)

The Case of a Man With Two Sets of DNA Raises More Questions, The New York Times (December 12, 2019)

Researchers turn back the clock on human embryonic stem cells, (December 14, 2016)

Lab-Grown, Virus-Free Stem Cells Repair Retinal Tissue in Mice, Johns Hopkins Medicine (January 23, 2014)

Converting blood cells to a stem cell state: an interview with Elias Zambidis, News-Medical (September 4, 2012)

Universal, Virus-Free Method to Turn Blood Cells into "Beating" Heart Cells, Johns Hopkins Medicine (April 8, 2011)

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