Chris Severyn, MD, PhD, is a physician-scientist with a special interest in hematopoiesis, bone marrow failure, and infectious complications in hematology-oncology and hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) patients. He received his MD and PhD in Biochemistry/Molecular Bioology from Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), where he studied the transcriptional regulation of a gene involved in iron metabolism. He carried out his pediatrics residency at Duke University and then joined as clinical faculty in the bone marrow transplant unit at Duke Children’s Hospital. He subsequently completed his fellowship in pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University. He is currently an Instructor of Pediatrics at Stanford University with the Division of Hematology/Oncology/Stem Cell Transplant and Regenerative Medicine. His research focuses on (1) origins of microbial infections from the gut microbiota, (2) microbial factors that may affect hematopoietic reconstitution at the immune-microbial interface, and (3) understanding clinical interventions that alter the microbiome to improve outcomes.

Clinical Focus

  • Heme / Onc / Stem Cell Transplantation (BMT)
  • Pediatrics

Honors & Awards

  • Pete and Arline Harmen Fellow through the Alan Krensky, MD, Endowed Clinical Fellowship, Stanford Maternal & Children’s Health Research Institute (M-CHRI) Clinical Trainee Award (2018 - 2020)
  • Stanford Pediatric nonmalignant Hematology and Stem Cell Biology Training Grant, NHLBI (2018 - 2020)
  • Institute for Pediatric Research Duke University Medical Center, Duke University Medical Center (2015 - 2016)
  • Lefkowitz Society, Duke University (2014-2016)
  • Duke Pediatrics Residency, Medical Student Teaching Award, Duke University Medical Center (2013-2014)
  • NIH Travel Award: Keystone Symposia on Dynamics of Eukaryotic Transcription during Development, Awarded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) (2010)
  • Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA for Individual Predoctoral MD-PhD Fellows (F30), National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) (2009 -2012)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Member, American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology (ASPHO) (2018 - Present)
  • Member, American Society of Hematology (ASH) (2017 - Present)
  • Board Certified in General Pediatrics, American Board of Pediatrics (2016 - Present)
  • Member, American Academy of Pediatrics (2009 - Present)
  • Member, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) (2008 - 2010)

Professional Education

  • Fellowship: Stanford University Pediatric Hematology Oncology Fellowship (2020) CA
  • Board Certification: American Board of Pediatrics, Pediatrics (2016)
  • Residency: Duke University Medical Center Pediatrics Residency Program (2016) NC
  • MD, Oregon Health & Science University, Medicine (2013)
  • PhD, Oregon Health & Science University, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (2010)
  • BA, University of California, Berkeley, Molecular & Cell Biology: Immunology (2002)

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

My research focuses on the (1) origins of microbial infections from the gut microbiota, (2) microbial factors that may affect hematopoietic reconstitution at the immune-microbial interface, and (3) understanding clinical interventions that alter the microbiome to improve outcomes.

Clinical Trials

  • Gut Decontamination In Pediatric Allogeneic Hematopoietic Not Recruiting

    This research study is for participants who are undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) and are at risk for developing acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). GVHD is a complication of HSCT in which immune cells from the donor cause inflammation and injury to tissues and organs of the HSCT recipient. Vancomycin-polymyxin B (commonly called "vancopoly") is an oral antibiotic that is given to people undergoing allogeneic HSCT as a preventive measure for acute GVHD. This research study is studying the effects of vancopoly on the microorganisms living in the intestine during and after stem cell transplantation.

    Stanford is currently not accepting patients for this trial.

    View full details

Graduate and Fellowship Programs

  • Pediatric Hem/Onc (Fellowship Program)

All Publications

  • GUT DECONTAMINATION ALTERS THE INTESTINAL MICROBIOTA DURING ALLOGENIC BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT Severyn, C., London, W., Kao, P., Silverstein, S., Li, M., Verrill, K., Ritz, J., Bhatt, A., Whangbo, J. WILEY. 2020: S11–S12
  • Longitudinal Changes in the Intestinal Microbiome Composition Following Gut Decontamination in Pediatric Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Patients: A Pilot Study Severyn, C., London, W. B., Kao, P., Silverstein, S., Li, M., Kim, S., Verrill, K., Ritz, J., Bhatt, A. S., Whangbo, J. AMER SOC HEMATOLOGY. 2019
  • Reduction in Mortality after Umbilical Cord Blood Transplantation in Children Over a 20-Year Period (1995-2014) BIOLOGY OF BLOOD AND MARROW TRANSPLANTATION Spees, L. P., Martin, P. L., Kurtzberg, J., Stokhuyzen, A., McGill, L., Prasad, V. K., Driscoll, T. A., Parikh, S. H., Paget, K. M., Vinesett, R., Severyn, C., Sung, A. D., Proia, A. D., Jenkins, K., Arshad, M., Steinbach, W. J., Seed, P. C., Kelly, M. S. 2019; 25 (4): 756–63
  • Gut Colonization Preceding Mucosal Barrier Injury Bloodstream Infection in Pediatric Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Recipients. Biology of blood and marrow transplantation : journal of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation Kelly, M. S., Ward, D. V., Severyn, C. J., Arshad, M. n., Heston, S. M., Jenkins, K. n., Martin, P. L., McGill, L. n., Stokhuyzen, A. n., Bhattarai, S. K., Bucci, V. n., Seed, P. C. 2019


    The gastrointestinal tract is the predicted reservoir for most bloodstream infections (BSIs) after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Whole-genome sequencing and comparative genomics have the potential to improve our understanding of the dynamics of gut colonization that precede BSI in HSCT recipients.Within a prospective cohort study of children (<18 years) undergoing HSCT, 9 subjects met criteria for mucosal barrier injury BSI. We performed whole-genome sequencing of the blood culture isolate and weekly fecal samples preceding the BSI to compare the genetic similarity of BSI isolates to fecal strains. We evaluated temporal associations between antibiotic exposures and the abundances of BSI strains in the gut microbiota and correlated detection of antibiotic resistance genes with the phenotypic antibiotic resistance of these strains.Median age was 2.6 years, and 78% were male. BSIs were caused by Escherichia coli (n=5), Enterococcus faecium (n=2), Enterobacter cloacae (n=1), and Rothia mucilaginosa (n=1). In the 6 BSI episodes with evaluable comparative genomics, the fecal strains were identical to the blood culture isolate (>99.99% genetic similarity). Gut domination by these strains preceded only 4 of 7 E. coli or E. faecium BSIs by a median (range) of 17 (6-21) days. Increasing abundances of the resulting BSI strains in the gut microbiota were frequently associated with specific antibiotic exposures. E. cloacae and R. mucilaginosa were not highly abundant in fecal samples preceding BSIs caused by these species. The detection of antibiotic resistance genes for beta-lactam antibiotics and vancomycin predicted phenotypic resistance in BSI strains.Bacterial strains causing mucosal barrier injury BSI in pediatric HSCT recipients were observed in the gut microbiota prior to BSI onset, and changes in the abundances of these strains within the gut preceded most BSI episodes. However, frequent sampling of the gut microbiota and sampling of other ecological niches is likely to be necessary to effectively predict BSI in HSCT recipients.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.bbmt.2019.07.019

    View details for PubMedID 31326608

  • Microbiota modification in hematology: still at the bench or ready for the bedside? Blood advances Severyn, C. J., Brewster, R. n., Andermann, T. M. 2019; 3 (21): 3461–72


    Growing evidence suggests that human microbiota likely influence diverse processes including hematopoiesis, chemotherapy metabolism, and efficacy, as well as overall survival in patients with hematologic malignancies and other cancers. Both host genetic susceptibility and host-microbiota interactions may impact cancer risk and response to treatment; however, microbiota have the potential to be uniquely modifiable and accessible targets for treatment. Here, we focus on strategies to modify microbiota composition and function in patients with cancer. First, we evaluate the use of fecal microbiota transplant to restore microbial equilibrium following perturbation by antibiotics and chemotherapy, and as a treatment of complications of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), such as graft-versus-host disease and colonization with multidrug-resistant organisms. We then address the potential use of both probiotics and dietary prebiotic compounds in targeted modulation of the microbiota intended to improve outcomes in hematologic diseases. With each type of therapy, we highlight the role that abnormal, or dysbiotic, microbiota play in disease, treatment efficacy, and toxicity and evaluate their potential promise as emerging strategies for microbiota manipulation in patients with hematologic malignancies and in those undergoing HSCT.

    View details for DOI 10.1182/bloodadvances.2019000365

    View details for PubMedID 31714965

  • In Translation: With probiotics, resistance is not always futile Cell Host & Microbe Severyn, C. J., Bhatt, A. S. 2018; 24: 334-336
  • Conserved proximal promoter elements control repulsive guidance molecule c/hemojuvelin (Hfe2) gene transcription in skeletal muscle GENOMICS Severyn, C. J., Rotwein, P. 2010; 96 (6): 342-351


    Repulsive guidance molecule c (RGMc; gene symbol: Hfe2) plays a critical role in iron metabolism. Inactivating mutations cause juvenile hemochromatosis, a severe iron overload disorder. Understanding mechanisms controlling RGMc biosynthesis has been hampered by minimal information about the RGMc gene. Here we define the structure, examine the evolution, and establish mechanisms of regulation of the mouse RGMc gene. RGMc is a 4-exon gene that undergoes alternative RNA splicing to yield 3 mRNAs with 5' different untranslated regions. Gene transcription is induced during myoblast differentiation, producing all 3 mRNAs. We identify 3 critical promoter elements responsible for transcriptional activation in skeletal muscle, comprising paired E-boxes, a putative Stat and/or Ets element, and a MEF2 site, and muscle transcription factors myogenin and MEF2C stimulate RGMc promoter function in non-muscle cells. As these elements are conserved in RGMc genes from multiple species, our results suggest that RGMc has been a muscle-enriched gene throughout its evolutionary history.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ygeno.2010.09.001

    View details for PubMedID 20858542

  • Regulation and evolutionary origins of repulsive guidance molecule C / hemojuvelin expression : a muscle-enriched gene involved in iron metabolism Severyn, C. J. Oregon Health & Science University (Dissertation). Portland, OR. 2010
  • Molecular biology, genetics and biochemistry of the repulsive guidance molecule family BIOCHEMICAL JOURNAL Severyn, C. J., Shinde, U., Rotwein, P. 2009; 422: 393-403


    RGMs (repulsive guidance molecules) comprise a recently discovered family of GPI (glycosylphosphatidylinositol)-linked cell-membrane-associated proteins found in most vertebrate species. The three proteins, RGMa, RGMb and RGMc, products of distinct single-copy genes that arose early in vertebrate evolution, are approximately 40-50% identical to each other in primary amino acid sequence, and share similarities in predicted protein domains and overall structure, as inferred by ab initio molecular modelling; yet the respective proteins appear to undergo distinct biosynthetic and processing steps, whose regulation has not been characterized to date. Each RGM also displays a discrete tissue-specific pattern of gene and protein expression, and each is proposed to have unique biological functions, ranging from axonal guidance during development (RGMa) to regulation of systemic iron metabolism (RGMc). All three RGM proteins appear capable of binding selected BMPs (bone morphogenetic proteins), and interactions with BMPs mediate at least some of the biological effects of RGMc on iron metabolism, but to date no role for BMPs has been defined in the actions of RGMa or RGMb. RGMa and RGMc have been shown to bind to the transmembrane protein neogenin, which acts as a critical receptor to mediate the biological effects of RGMa on repulsive axonal guidance and on neuronal survival, but its role in the actions of RGMc remains to be elucidated. Similarly, the full spectrum of biological functions of the three RGMs has not been completely characterized yet, and will remain an active topic of ongoing investigation.

    View details for DOI 10.1042/BJ20090978

    View details for PubMedID 19698085