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Eric Pietras, PhD

University of Colorado School of Medicine
  • Assistant Professor of Medicine



See Eric Pietras' bibliographies linked below for a complete listing of publications.

Contact information

Anschutz Medical Campus
12700 East 19th Ave
Research Complex 2, Mail Stop F754
Aurora, CO  80045

Pietras Lab​

​Dr. Pietras earned his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at Knox College in 2001, followed by a two-year stint as a research technologist at the University of Chicago and PhD training under the mentorship of Dr. Genhong Cheng, PhD at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Pietras’ thesis work focused on the mechanisms leading to activation of localized and systemic inflammatory responses to viral and bacterial pathogen infections. Subsequently, he started his postdoctoral training in hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) biology at University of California, San Francisco with Dr. Emmanuelle Passegué. In 2015, he was recruited to his present faculty position at the University of Colorado.

In his free time Dr. Pietras is an avid photographer and hiker, and enjoys listening to and composing electronic music.

  • Knox College, BA, 2001
  • UCLA, PhD Microbiology, 2008​

​The mammalian blood system is a complex tissue that regulates multiple physiological processes including oxygen and nutrient delivery, wound clotting, and defense against infection and other physiological insults via the specialized cells of the immune system. All lineages of blood cells, including those of the immune system, are produced by rare hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) lodged in the bone marrow, which first generate the blood system during embryonic development and subsequently provide for lifelong blood homeostasis.

While much is known about the processes that shape the blood system during homeostasis, less is understood about how this complex tissue responds dynamically to stress conditions such as blood loss, injury or infection, as well as the identity of the signals that ‘awaken’ normally dormant HSCs to produce blood under these conditions. Dr. Pietras’ research focuses on understanding how inflammation, the physiological process initiated by these insults, shapes the blood system by impacting the fate decisions made by HSCs. He is also interested in the functional consequences, both for HSCs and the blood system at large, of long-term exposure to pro-inflammatory factors in the context of chronic inflammatory diseases and malignancy. The goal of his research is to understand how these factors may reprogram HSCs to make blood in a deregulated fashion that could affect disease severity and outcome, and to identify potential therapeutic targets that can restore normal HSC function in human patients.