Last Name


TitleAssistant Professor
InstitutionBaylor College of Medicine
DepartmentDepartment of Pediatrics
Address1102 Bates St., C1030
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    2015 - 2018ASH Scholar Award
    2016 - 2016Chao Physician-Scientist Award, BCM
    2016 - 2020K08, NIDDK

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    I am an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, board certified in Internal Medicine Hematology and Pediatric Hematology/Oncology; I obtained training specifically to care for non-malignant hematology patients. I am particularly interested in applying genomics and transcriptomics to the questions of fetal hemoglobin induction and clinical severity in SCD. I have expertise in whole exome sequencing (WES) analysis, having participated in the identification of variants associated with stroke, and lead the identification of variants associated with HbF response to hydroxyurea, and of variants associated with endogenous HbF levels in sickle cell patients. I am the PI for the Pharmacogenomics of Hydroxyurea in Sickle Cell Disease, or PharmHU, project, part of TOPMed (Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine). My analysis of rare variants associated with HbF levels has led to identification of FOXO3 as a regulator of HbF, and to clinical trial of metformin, a FOXO3 activator, as a novel HbF inducing agent. This bench to bed side story is a testament to the power of genomics, and the potential for unbiased genomics analysis to lead to treatments that may benefit individuals with hemoglobinopathies. I also collaborate with Dr. Gang Bao, a bioengineer at Rice University to develop CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing of hematopoietic stem cells from patients with SCD, and with Katherine King to investigate the effects of SCD pathophysiology, particularly chronic inflammation, on SCD bone marrow and engraftment potential of CD34+ cells. My laboratory currently provides training in hemoglobinopathies for two post-doctoral fellows and two pediatric hematology/oncology clinical fellows, one of whom is supported by the Baylor college of Medicine Hematology T32.

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    sickle cell disease
    whole exome sequencing

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    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
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    1. George PE, Bazo-Alvarez JC, Sheehan VA. A Retrospective Analysis of Sociodemographic and Hematologic Characteristics Associated With Achieving Optimal Hydroxyurea Therapy in Children With Sickle Cell Disease. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2018 Apr 20. PMID: 29683954.
      View in: PubMed
    2. Chang AK, Ginter Summarell CC, Birdie PT, Sheehan VA. Genetic modifiers of severity in sickle cell disease. Clin Hemorheol Microcirc. 2018; 68(2-3):147-164. PMID: 29614629.
      View in: PubMed
    3. Mwesigwa S, Moulds JM, Chen A, Flanagan J, Sheehan VA, George A, Hanchard NA. Whole-exome sequencing of sickle cell disease patients with hyperhemolysis syndrome suggests a role for rare variation in disease predisposition. Transfusion. 2018 Mar; 58(3):726-735. PMID: 29210071.
      View in: PubMed
    4. Paikari A, Sheehan VA. Fetal haemoglobin induction in sickle cell disease. Br J Haematol. 2018 01; 180(2):189-200. PMID: 29143315.
      View in: PubMed
    5. Moreno-Smith M, Lakoma A, Chen Z, Tao L, Scorsone KA, Schild L, Aviles-Padilla K, Nikzad R, Zhang Y, Chakraborty R, Molenaar JJ, Vasudevan S, Sheehan V, Kim ES, Paust S, Shohet JM, Barbieri E. p53 non-genotoxic activation and mTORC1 inhibition lead to effective combination for neuroblastoma therapy. Clin Cancer Res. 2017 Aug 18. PMID: 28821555.
      View in: PubMed
    6. Friedrisch JR, Sheehan V, Flanagan JM, Baldan A, Summarell CC, Bittar CM, Friedrisch BK, Wilke II, Ribeiro CB, Daudt LE, da Rocha Silla LM. The role of BCL11A and HMIP-2 polymorphisms on endogenous and hydroxyurea induced levels of fetal hemoglobin in sickle cell anemia patients from southern Brazil. Blood Cells Mol Dis. 2016 Nov; 62:32-37. PMID: 27838552.
      View in: PubMed
    7. Summarell CC, Sheehan VA. Original Research: Use of hydroxyurea and phlebotomy in pediatric patients with hemoglobin SC disease. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2016 Apr; 241(7):737-44. PMID: 26993671.
      View in: PubMed
    8. Sheehan VA, Crosby JR, Sabo A, Mortier NA, Howard TA, Muzny DM, Dugan-Perez S, Aygun B, Nottage KA, Boerwinkle E, Gibbs RA, Ware RE, Flanagan JM. Whole exome sequencing identifies novel genes for fetal hemoglobin response to hydroxyurea in children with sickle cell anemia. PLoS One. 2014; 9(10):e110740. PMID: 25360671; PMCID: PMC4215999.
    9. Sheehan VA, Weir A, Waters B. Hepatitis C and neutropenia. Curr Opin Hematol. 2014 Jan; 21(1):58-63. PMID: 24257097.
      View in: PubMed
    10. Sheehan VA, Luo Z, Flanagan JM, Howard TA, Thompson BW, Wang WC, Kutlar A, Ware RE. Genetic modifiers of sickle cell anemia in the BABY HUG cohort: influence on laboratory and clinical phenotypes. Am J Hematol. 2013 Jul; 88(7):571-6. PMID: 23606168.
      View in: PubMed
    11. Sheehan VA, Hansbury EN, Smeltzer MP, Fortner G, McCarville MB, Aygun B. Transcranial Doppler velocity and brain MRI/MRA changes in children with sickle cell anemia on chronic transfusions to prevent primary stroke. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2013 Sep; 60(9):1499-502. PMID: 23625812.
      View in: PubMed
    12. Flanagan JM, Sheehan V, Linder H, Howard TA, Wang YD, Hoppe CC, Aygun B, Adams RJ, Neale GA, Ware RE. Genetic mapping and exome sequencing identify 2 mutations associated with stroke protection in pediatric patients with sickle cell anemia. Blood. 2013 Apr 18; 121(16):3237-45. PMID: 23422753; PMCID: PMC3630835.
    13. Sheehan V, Weir A, Waters B. Severe neutropenia in patients with chronic hepatitis C: a benign condition. Acta Haematol. 2013; 129(2):96-100. PMID: 23171914.
      View in: PubMed
    14. Azari LM, Sheehan VS, Sachdev JC, Jones TS. Dantrolene sodium for the treatment of aldesleukin-induced rigors in a melanoma patient. Ann Pharmacother. 2012 May; 46(5):e11. PMID: 22510667.
      View in: PubMed
    15. McDougal VV, Guarino LA. DNA and ATP binding activities of the baculovirus DNA helicase P143. J Virol. 2001 Aug; 75(15):7206-9. PMID: 11435604; PMCID: PMC114452.
    16. McDougal VV, Guarino LA. The Autographa californica nuclear polyhedrosis virus p143 gene encodes a DNA helicase. J Virol. 2000 Jun; 74(11):5273-9. PMID: 10799604; PMCID: PMC110882.
    17. McDougal VV, Guarino LA. Autographa californica nuclear polyhedrosis virus DNA polymerase: measurements of processivity and strand displacement. J Virol. 1999 Jun; 73(6):4908-18. PMID: 10233952; PMCID: PMC112534.
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