Sam Milanovich, MD, Lab

 Milanovich Lab


Resources | Contact Us | Lab Projects | Lab Members | Lab News

Primary Research Group

Secondary Research Groups


Dr. Milanovich Bio

Sam Milanovich

  • Associate scientist in the Children's Health and Cancer Biology Research Centers
  • Assistant professor at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics
  • Bachelor of Arts in biology, minor in psychology at Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD
  • Medical degree at University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Science, Grand Forks, ND
  • Post-doctoral fellowship at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Blood Center of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI

Primary Research Focus

Sam Milanovich, MD, and his lab’s team focus on studying the genetic and epigenetic regulation of normal blood cell development and how mutations on these processes lead to leukemic transformation. The goal is to define mechanisms that lead to the formation of leukemia stem cells.

Behind the research

Defining critical oncogenic molecular mechanisms and pathways in leukemia stem cells will improve understanding of leukemogenesis, and why some patients are cured by conventional therapies while others relapse. These understandings will help Dr. Milanovich’s team to identify distinct subsets of patients who may benefit from different therapeutic approaches. This information can ultimately be used when designing novel therapies to specifically target leukemia stem cells while limiting toxicities to normal blood development, ultimately improving outcomes for pediatric leukemia patients.

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) comprise the most common childhood cancers. Despite recent advances in therapy, acute leukemia remains a major cause of pediatric morbidity and mortality. Leukemia arises when normally developing hematopoietic precursors acquire leukemogenic mutations that transform them from normal hematopoietic stem cells or progenitors into leukemia stem cells.

Leukemia stem cells generate a heterogeneous, genetically diverse population of tumor cells that make up the bulk of the clinically detected, disease-causing tumor. These stem cells are characterized by unlimited self-renewal and have many biological differences from the bulk (non-stem cell) leukemia cells. These differences may cause leukemia stem cells to be more resistant to chemotherapy than the bulk tumor cells. Resistance of leukemia stem cells to conventional treatment explains why many cancers relapse months or years after therapy initially appears to have eradicated all detectable disease.

The Milanovich Lab utilizes a variety of methods to study molecular genetics in leukemia patient samples, leukemia cell lines and mouse models of normal blood and leukemia development.

View Samuel Milanovich's publications here.  
Meet members of the Milanovich lab here.  
Contact Us Lab Projects
Phone: (605) 312-6409
  • Investigating transcriptional networks in hematopoiesis and acute leukemia

 Positions Available

Join a dedicated team of researchers and help shape the future of cancer treatments. See open positions here.