kevin pawlikAssociate Professor

Research Areas
Sickle cell disease

Research Interests

My research interests are part of a broader effort by the Townes lab to cure sickle cell disease (SCD) using gene/cell therapy approaches. For proof-of-concept studies, we (Ryan, Pawlik and Townes) developed a mouse model for SCD in which we knocked out the mouse alpha-and beta-globin genes and replaced them with human alpha-and gamma-beta A/S-globin genes; we and others have subsequently cured these mice using various approaches and they continue to be widely used in the field (available from The Jackson Laboratory, Stock No: 013071, Townes model). We (Pawlik and Townes) also developed a polycistronic lentiviral vector for "hit and run" reprogramming of differentiated cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) in order to modifygenes in pluripotent cells and then differentiate them into cell types of interest (available from Addgene, ID 21627, pKP332, hOCT4-2A-hSOX2-2A-hKLF4).

In current studies, CD34-positive hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are isolated from human SCD (HBB SS) patient blood; the disease-causing T nucleotide mutation (valine aa) is corrected to the wild-type A nucleotide (glutamic acid aa) using CRISPR/Cas9-enhanced gene targeting; and corrected HSCs are introduced into murine recipients via bone marrow transplantation (BMT) to effect production of wild-type HBB AA and/or trait HBB AS cell progeny. Additionally, we have used a CRISPR/Cas9-based approach in Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) patient-derived iPSCs to correct the disease-causing JAK3 C > T nucleotide substitution. My interests also include methodologies to determine CRISPR/Cas9 off-targets in order to minimize unintended genome modifications.


Graduate School
Ph.D., University of Alabama at Birmingham


Shelby Biomedical Research Building
Room 702
1825 University Blvd.
Birmingham, AL 35294-2182

(205) 410-6861


Committed to exploring new frontiers in basic and translational research.

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics is an integral part of the vibrant biomedical research community at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). UAB ranks among the top public institutions of higher education in terms of research and training awards. Research conducted by the faculty, staff, and students of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics is currently supported by more than $4.3 million per year in extramural, investigator-initiated grants.


The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics carries out cutting-edge basic and translational research. Research strengths in the department includes cancer biology, chromatin and epigenetic signaling, metabolism and signaling, regulation of gene expression, structural biology, DNA synthesis and repair, and disease mechanisms.


Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics are trained to carry out hypothesis-driven research using advanced research techniques. This training will prepare our graduates for a career in not just biomedical research, but also in other diverse fields that require critical thinking. Our faculty also proudly trains professional (MD, DDS, & DO) students, as well as undergraduate students at UAB.

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