Our laboratory has two distinct research focuses:
- Basic science studies of hemostasis and vascular biology with a focus on the physiological function of Tissue Factor Pathway Inhibitor (TFPI)
- Clinical and translational research studies of iron metabolism in blood donors
The blood vessel contains several anticoagulant proteins that prevent the formation of blood clots. The work in our laboratory is focused on one of these proteins called tissue factor pathway inhibitor (TFPI). Humans without TFPI have not been identified and genetically altered mice that do not make TFPI die during embryonic development demonstrating that TFPI has critically important physiological functions. TFPI is a serine protease inhibitor that exerts anticoagulant activity during the very early stages of blood coagulation. Our laboratory uses a wide variety of biochemical, cellular (tissue culture) and animal models to define and characterize the physiological functions of TFPI. These include studies of the biochemical mechanisms that allow TFPI to inhibit blood coagulation proteases and associate with the surface of blood vessels and platelets, characterization and funtional assessment of different alternatively spliced forms of TFPI and the development of new mouse models to examine the function of TFPI in vivo. The results of these studies will shed new light on a wide range of human bleeding disorders, such as hemophilia, and diseases that are associated or caused by intravascular blood clots, such as deep venous thrombosis, heart attack, stroke and vascular dementia.
Blood donation removes a large amount of iron from the blood donor. Since blood donation is allowed every 56 days in the United States, repeated donation produces iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia in many donors. Thus, blood donors are a unique population of healthy individuals for study of dietary iron absorbtion, hemoglobin production and the adverse consequences of iron deficiency. We have found that some donors can donate blood repeatedly over many years and not develop iron deficiency anemia suggesting that they are able to absorb dietary iron more efficiently that average. We perform a variety of studies to define their behavioral, biochemical and genetic characteristics that allow them to donate so frequently and are leading a multi-institutional study to identify the best ways to prevent development of iron deficiency in blood donors. In addition, we direct the Wisconsin Hub of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute's Recipient Epidemiology and Donor Evaluation Study (REDS-III). REDS-III is a multi-institutional group of investigators who perform a number of studies to ensure the safety and availability of blood products in the United States.
Susan Maroney, DVM, PhD
Research Scientist II
Paul Ellery, PhD
Jeremy Wood, PhD
Senior Research Coordinator
Asst. Research Technologist
Asst. Research Coordinator
Asst. Research Coordinator
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