Nyla Heerema, PhD
Dr. Heerema is American College of Medical Genetics Board-certified in Medical Genetics with a Cytogenetics Subspecialty and has many years of practice in both research and clinical cytogenetics. She is the director of the Clinical Cancer Cytogenetics Laboratory at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, which analyzes cytogenetics on over 4000 specimens per year. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) testing is an integral part of these services with over 14,000 FISH tests performed per year, using various probes and types of tissue specimens.
Dr. Heerema's research interests are in the cytogenetics of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and those of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), an adult leukemia. She is particularly interested in the clinical importance of the many aberrations found in these leukemias. She is the chair-person for Cytogenetics for the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), ensuring that all cytogenetic studies are carried out appropriately in COG. She reviews all COG ALL cytogenetics for patients registered in the eastern US, eastern Canada and Europe, approximately 1500 patients a year, enabling accurate risk stratification for these patients. She has also done extensive research on the cytogenetics of pediatric ALL. Dr. Heerema's interest in the cytogenetics of CLL has resulted in many insights into the significance of various cytogenetic aberrations, both in prognosis and in response to various treatments. She also has contributed to the identification of different types of aberrations in CLL. She was a pioneer is using stimulants for CLL cytogenetic analyses, which changed the landscape of cytogenetics in this disease. She is a member of the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology Cytogenetics Review Committee and the Leukemia and the Myeloma Correlative Sciences Committees. As a member of the CLL Resource Consortium (CRC), she is responsible for all CLL cytogenetics at OSUWMC. Dr. Heerema's research laboratory functions as a central laboratory for several clinical studies in CLL. It also serves as a resource for OSU investigators requiring various cytogenetic testing for their research, including cytogenetics of various non-human species.
American Board of Medical Genetics, Clinical Cytogenetics
American College of Medical Genetics, Founding Fellow
Academic and Medical Appointments
2001-Present Professor, Director of Cytogenetics, Department of Pathology, The Ohio State University, Columbus Ohio.
2013-Present Member of The Ohio State University Graduate Faculty, Department of Pathology, The Ohio State University, Columbus Ohio.
Education and Training
1978-1981 Postdoctoral Fellow in Medical and Molecular Genetics; Subspecialty, Cytogenetics; mentor, Catherine G. Palmer, Ph.D., Indiana University
1963-1967 Ph.D., Genetics, granted through Department of Zoology. Research and teaching assistantship, Zoology Department, Iowa University, Iowa City, IA.
1959-1963 B.A., Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, Central College, Pella, IA