Janis L. Abkowitz, MD

Janis L. Abkowitz, MD
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Janis L. Abkowitz, MD

  • Section Head, Hematology, Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutch
  • Professor, Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutch
  • Professor, Division of Hematology and Oncology, University of Washington School of Medicine
  • Adjunct Professor, Genome Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine
  • Clement A. Finch, MD Endowed Professorship in Hematology, UW Medicine

Medical Oncology


“I enjoy getting to know my patients and their families, solving difficult diagnostic problems and designing personalized treatment strategies.”

— Dr. Abkowitz

What do you want patients to know about you?

My passion for combining science with clinical medicine drives the work I do every day — as a doctor, researcher and educator. When you come to Fred Hutch for care, it’s important to me to be attentive not only to your medical needs but to who you are as a person. Many of my patients have chronic diseases, which means I get to develop long-standing relationships with them and their families. I enjoy teaching them about their disease so they become a partner in their health care decisions.

What is your approach to caring for a patient?

I’ve had the opportunity to work abroad in many different countries — including eastern Congo, Kashmir, Thailand, Papua New Guinea and Guatemala — and to travel with my family to many more, including Madagascar, Kyrgyzstan, China and Sri Lanka. These experiences have shaped what it means to me to provide high-quality, appropriate care to everyone, including people who come from different backgrounds than mine and who may have different views of illness as well as varying perspectives on life and death. I bring a sensitivity to and appreciation for differences in personal priorities, religion and culture to my relationships with patients.

Provider Background

Specialty: Medical Oncology, Hematology

Area of clinical practice

Hematologic malignancies, non-malignant hematology

Blood cancers

I’ve been caring for people with a wide spectrum of blood cancers and other blood-related problems since 1983. In that time, there have been major developments in our ability to both diagnose and treat blood disorders. For example, there have been huge advances in how we molecularly characterize a disease, or how we detect chromosomal and DNA abnormalities associated with the disease. This has translated into more effective targeted therapies in general, and more appropriate therapies for individual patients, because we understand more about their particular disease. Fred Hutch is on the leading edge of these advances with both our laboratory research and our clinical trials. My specialty is working with people who have cytopenias, or low blood counts, and bone marrow failure or dysregulation, which can cause too few or too many blood cells. These diseases include myelodysplastic syndromes (bone marrow problems leading to low levels of blood cells in your bloodstream) and myeloproliferative diseases (bone marrow problems leading to high levels of blood cells in your bloodstream), particularly polycythemia vera and essential thrombocytosis. My laboratory research focuses on the molecular and cellular events that control red blood cell differentiation (the process where cells become specialized in order to perform different functions), especially how these cells grow and how their differentiation fails in aplastic anemia and myelodysplasia.

Diseases Treated

Aplastic Anemia

Blood Disorders

Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

Myelodysplastic Syndrome


Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria

Autoimmune Diseases

Bone Marrow Failure

Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia

Myeloproliferative Neoplasms

Monocloncal Gammopathy



Education, Experience and Certifications

Undergraduate Degree
Harvard University

Medical Degree
Harvard Medical School

Beth Israel Hospital, Internal Medicine

University of Washington, Hematology

Board Certification
Medical Oncology, 1983; Hematology, 1982; Internal Medicine, 1980, American Board of Internal Medicine

Member, Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, 2017–2021; Elected to the National Academy of Medicine, 2013; President, American Society of Hematology, 2013; Internship, Beth Israel Medical Center


Seattle Met’s 2013 and 2014 Top Doctors award

Pioneer Award, Diamond Blackfan Anemia Foundation, 2018


All news
Be the Match connected a Seattle man with donor in Germany Two years later, he traveled there to thank her in person for saving his life November 6, 2023

Clinical Trials

We make promising new treatments available to you through studies called clinical trials led by Fred Hutch doctors. Many of these trials at Fred Hutch have led to FDA-approved treatments and have improved standards of care globally. Together, you and your doctor can decide if a study is right for you.

View Clinical Trials


Many of our Fred Hutch doctors conduct ongoing research to improve standards of patient care. Their work is evaluated by other doctors and selected for publication to the United States National Library of Medicine, the largest medical library in the world. See scientific papers this Fred Hutch provider has written.

View Dr. Abkowitz's Publications

Your Care Team

At Fred Hutch, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes doctors, a patient care coordinator, a registered nurse, an advanced practice provider and others, based on your needs. You also have access to experts like nutritionists, social workers, acupuncturists, psychiatrists and more who specialize in supporting people with cancer or blood disorders.


Fred Hutch accepts most national private health insurance plans as well as Medicare. We also accept Medicaid for people from Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. We are working to ensure that everyone, no matter what their financial situation, has access to the care they need.

For the Media

The Media Relations team at Fred Hutch is available to assist members of the news media who would like to arrange interviews with providers.

Email media@fredhutch.org or call 206.667.2210