NHF funds a broad range of research programs that seek to increase our understanding of the science behind bleeding disorders, how they affect people's lives, and pathways to better treatments and cures.
Preclinical Development of Nuclease-Free Gene Editing for Lifeling Treatment of Bleeding Disorders
Identification of a Potential Novel Role for Factor IX Using a Zebrafish Model
The Epitopes Recognized in the Early Immunue Response to Factor VIII
Increasing the efficacy of prophylactic infused FIX in hemophilia B patients by manipulating its binding to collagen IV
Protein Engineering of Plasminogen Activator 1 to Develop Novel Regulators of the Fibrinolytic and Hemostatic Pathways
Dr. Laura Haynes received her PhD in biochemistry from the University of Vermont where she studied how flow conditions throughout the vasculature affect thrombin generation, as well as the role of the platelet membrane in modulating the structure/function of the platelet associated prothrombinase complex. Dr. Haynes is currently a research fellow with Dr. David Ginsburg at the University of Michigan. During her JGP fellowship, she will use phage-display technology coupled with high throughput DNA sequencing to make an exhaustive index of the mutations in plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) that prolong its half-life while not being deleterious in the inhibition of its canonical targets urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) and tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA). In doing so, she hopes to identify a PAI-1 variant that can downregulate the fibrinolytic process. Dr. Haynes will also implement similar technology to engineer a PAI-1 variant that inhibits activated protein C (APC), thereby prolonging thrombin generation. She hopes that this research will lead to potential therapeutic agents to treat hemophilia and other bleeding disorders.
Identifying novel hemostatic regulation through species-specific studies using zebrafish
Dr. Kari Lavik is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan in the laboratory of Dr. Jordan Shavit. She received a B.A. in biology from Case Western Reserve University, and her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from The University of Toledo. Her graduate work focused on the study of cancer motility and metastasis through which she became interested in using zebrafish as a model for human disease. In February of 2017, Dr. Lavik joined the Shavit Laboratory in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Michigan to use zebrafish for the study of bleeding and clotting disorders. For her 2018 JGP fellowship project, she will model hemophilia in the zebrafish, looking for novel species-specific regulators of hemostasis. By delving deeper into the genetic mechanisms that underlie the intrinsic pathway in zebrafish, Dr. Lavik will look for novel gene interactions that can be therapeutically targeted in patients with hemophilia.
Identification, Characterization and Therapeutic Targeting of Key Molecular Markers and Pathways Implicated in the Development of Hemophilic Arthropathy
Dr. Esther Cooke received her Ph.D. from the Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine at the University of Leeds, U.K., where she studied the role of fibrinogen phosphorylation in thrombosis. Dr. Cooke is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Annette von Drygalski, at the University of California San Diego, and in collaboration with the laboratory of Dr. Laurent Mosnier at the Scripps Research Institute. Dr. Cook's JGP Fellowship project will focus on pathological mechanisms associated with joint bleeding, re-bleeding, and the development of hemophilic arthropathy. Dr. Cooke will perform comprehensive gene expression analyses to explore key molecular markers and pathways that drive soft tissue inflammation and vascular changes in joints after bleeding. In this way, she hopes to identify new therapeutic targets and develop novel treatment strategies to down-regulate these processes, thereby reducing re-bleeding tendency and slowing the progression of hemophilic arthropathy.
Development of Hematopoietic CRISPR/Cas9 Gene Activation for Hemophilia Therapy
Dr. Satish Nandakumar is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Vijay Sankaran at the Boston Children's Hospital. Previously, he did his graduate work at the St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. In his JGP Fellowship project, Dr. Nandakumar aims to develop a novel gene therapy approach for hemophilia that involves activation of the endogenous factor VIII or IX genes within hematopoietic stem cells by taking advantage of the CRISPR/Cas9 gene activation system. This work has the potential to benefit patients with mild hemophilia mutations.
Dissecting the Roles of Non-muscle Myosin IIA in May-Hegglin Platelet Disorders
Structural Biology of Blood Coagulation Proteins and Their Complexes
Analysis of Blood Clot Structure and Function in the Presence and Absence of von Willebrand Factor
Dr. Megan Rost is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan. She received a B.S in biochemistry and biotechnology from Michigan State University, and her Ph.D. in molecular and developmental biology at the University of Cincinnati - Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Her graduate work focused on understanding vascular endothelial development using zebrafish as a model organism. In July 2015, she joined the lab of Dr. Jordan Shavit in the Department of Pediatrics and Hematology/Oncology at University of Michigan. For her 2016 JGP research fellowship project, she will be using the zebrafish model to analyze blood clot structure and function in the presence and absence of von Willebrand Factor. In studying this, Dr. Rost will be elucidating how arterial thrombus formation occurs in the absence of VWF, aiding in uncovering possible new therapeutic targets for VWD treatment.
Role of Protein Disulfide Isomerase in Prothrombin Activation
Mechanisms of Flow-regulated VWF-platelet Adhesion at Different Length Scales
Klaus Bonazza received his Ph.D. in chemistry from Vienna University of Technology. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Boston Children's Hospital and appointed at Harvard Medical School, mentored by Dr. Timothy Springer. His field of interest is the ultra-large concatemeric protein von Willebrand factor (VWF), which accounts for the adaptability of hemostasis to different flow conditions in the blood vessels.
At moderate, physiological flow VWF has a packed, "bird nest's" shape whereas strong elongational flow conditions, occurring downstream of vascular restrictions or injuries, induce a transition to a threat-like, elongated state. On top of this overall unpacking, tensile forces, which are exerted on the chain and transmitted by its A1 domain, cause local conformational changes which activate binding of thrombocyte receptor Glycoprotein Ib (GPIbα) to initiate coagulation. With his JGP fellowship award, Dr. Bonazza will pioneer a new method to obtain structural insights into force dependent VWF unpacking, A1 deformation and GPIbα binding based on hydrogendeuterium exchange under elongational flow conditions.
Understanding the Loss of Perivascular Tissue Factor during Angiogenesis in Hemophilia
Dr. Laura Sommerville graduated cum laude from Messiah College and then obtained her MS and PhD degrees in cellular and molecular biology from Temple University. Her graduate work and doctoral dissertation produced several awards and publications in peer reviewed publications. She has been a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Maureane Hoffman at Duke University since July 2014. Dr. Sommerville's 2015 JGP research fellowship award project is on understanding the loss of perivascular tissue factor during angiogenesis in hemophilia.
A Multi-System Evaluation of von Willebrand Factor Function in Type I von Willebrand Disease Mutations
Dr. Christopher Ng was a pediatric hematology/oncology fellow at the University of Colorado - Anschutz Medical Campus. Dr. Ng attended medical school at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California and completed his pediatrics residency at the University of Washington/Seattle Children's Hospital. Dr. Ng received the NHF-Baxalta Clinical Fellowship in 2013. Dr. Ng's 2015 JGP research fellowship award project focused on a multi-system evaluation of von Willebrand factor function in Type 1 von Willebrand Disease mutations.
Mechanisms and Therapeutic Strategies Targeting TAFI-mediated Vascular Remodeling in Hemophilic Arthropathy
Dr. Tine Wyseure obtained her Master’s degree in Drug Discovery and Development, and earned her Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Leuven, Belgium. Since 2015, she has been a research associate in the lab of Dr. Laurent Mosnier at The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego. Dr. Wyseure’s 2016 JGP research fellowship award project is focused on investigating the effects of impaired TAFI activation in hemophilia on the progression of hemophilic joint disease. The lack of active TAFI worsens joint bleeding and chronic inflammation and drives the striking development of fragile blood vessels in diseased joints. In search of the missing link, Dr. Wyseure has discovered a novel paradigm on how the formation of new blood vessels is controlled by TAFI and suggests that patients with hemophilia may lack this control switch, causing the formation of unstable and leaky blood vessels.
Mechanoregulation of von Willebrand Factor Inhibition and Activation
Molecular Basis of Procofactor to Cofactor Activation in FVIII
Dr. Parthasarathy's research will tackle two important biological issues in coagulation - namely how procofactor FVIII converts to the active cofactor form (FVIIIa) and binds to IX and X, and the location of FVIII in generating the active Xase complex. Results from this study will provide molecular and biochemical insights into the role of FVIIIa in regulating hemostasis and further elucidate the interactions between coagulation complexes. Dr. Parthasarathy obtained his Masters in Biotechnology from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India and received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Kansas in 2011. He has been a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Dr. Rodney Camire at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia since July 2011. This award has been made possible through a generous donation from Hemophilia of Georgia, Inc.