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Michael A. Bender, MD

Michael A. Bender, MD


On staff since June 1999

Academic Title: Associate Professor

Research Center: Center for Clinical and Translational Research

"Imagine being born with a chronic disease where, out of the blue, you suddenly have episodes of excruciating pain. Since you appear “normal,” many people do not believe you and accuse you of just wanting pain medicine. This situation is complicated by racial biases and difficulties accessing healthcare for this disease (which receives less attention and fewer research dollars than other diseases, even though it is more common). Treating sickle cell disease involves cutting-edge molecular and cell biology as well as confronting issues of access to healthcare and community education in an underserved population. I am honored to work with families affected by sickle cell disease."


Board Certification(s)
Pediatric Hematology-Oncology
Medical/Professional School
University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle
University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle
Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle
Clinical Interests

Hemoglobinopathies, newborn screening

Research Description

My research focuses on two main areas: regulation of the chromatin structure in vivo, using the beta-globin locus as a model; and the manipulation of the oxidation/reduction state in vivo to affect sickle cell disease.

I am working on multiple research projects, ranging from developing new techniques to analyze chromatin structure, to establishing a statewide collaborative to provide better support for patients, families, practitioners and community members affected by sickle cell disease. Several strategies have been used to delete multiple DNaseI hypersensitive sites (HSs) of the beta-globin locus control region (LCR). The LCR is essential for the activation of the locus. Loss of the LCR decreases but does not eliminate expression, but does not lead to a major change in chromatin structure. As this is different than predicted from analysis of a human with an LCR deletion, two approaches were pursued. The first was to extend the deletion further upstream of the LCR. The second was to identify and delete additional candidate regulatory regions from the endogenous locus in mice. Data from several systems has implicated HSs ?anking the locus as being important in the regulation of chromatin structure and expression of the locus. Several models have been generated about the role of these regions. The results of these studies have been published and demonstrate the inaccuracy of several prior models for globin gene regulation. I am using long-range DNase sensitivity and chromatin immunoprecipitation studies to further characterize the region through erythroid development and generate new models.

Research Focus Area

Translational Research, Blood Disorders

Awards and Honors

Award NameAward DescriptionAwarded ByAward Date
U.S. News Top DoctorU.S. News and World Report 2012
Outstanding Mentor Award - Ambulatory ClinicSeattle Children's HospitalJan. 1, 2009


A survey of perioperative management of sickle cell disease in North America.
Paediatric anaesthesia , 2010 Sep 29


Presentations TitleEventLocationDate
Grand RoundsUniveristy of Washington, Department of Anesthesiology Seattle, WAFeb. 25, 2009

Research Funding

Grant TitleGrantorAmountAward Date
Digital DNaseI mapping and footprinting of the mouse genomeNIH $89,413.00Jan. 1, 2009
Towards a Canine Model of Fanconi Anemia NIH / NHLBI $28,328.00Jan. 1, 2009
Washington State Sickle Cell ContractWashington State Department of Health $46,183.00Jan. 1, 2009
Newborn Screening ProgramWashington State Department of Health $3,299.00Jan. 1, 2009
Northwest Sickle Cell CollaborativeWashington State Department of Health $100,000.00Jan. 1, 2009
Maintenance of gene expression in the red cell lineage NIH/NHLBI $545,338.00Sept. 15
Function of Human & Mouse b-Globin Locus Control Regions NIH/NIDDK $378,285.00April 1, 1992

Primary Office

Odessa Brown Children's Clinic
OBCC - Suite 100
2101 E Yesler Way
Seattle, WA 98122

Additional Offices

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
FHCRC Box 358080 - MS D5-390
PO Box 19024
Seattle, WA 98109-1024

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