Hematology is the study of diseases related to the blood. All blood cells – red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs), and platelets – are produced in the bone marrow. Before they mature, or differentiate, into RBCs, WBCs, or platelets, these cells start life as hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs).

Red blood cells, also known as erythrocytes, are responsible for carrying oxygen using a protein known as hemoglobin. They are created in the bone marrow through a process of differentiation called erythropoiesis, and once mature, they are released into the bloodstream. If this process is altered or disrupted, the flawed erythroid maturation leads to a lack of mature erythrocytes, causing chronic anemia and a variety of other problems throughout the body.