Marilyn Jo Telen, MD

Professor of Medicine
Wellcome Clinical Professor of Medicine in Honor of R. Wayne Rundles, M.D., in the School of Medicine
Associate Professor of Pathology
Member of the Duke Cancer Institute
Affiliate, Duke Global Health Institute
Campus mail 333 Med Sci Res Bldg, Durham, NC 27710
Phone (919) 684-5378
Email address

Dr. Telen is recognized as an expert in the biochemistry and molecular genetics of blood group antigens and the pathophysiological mechanisms of vaso-occlusion in sickle cell disease. She is the Director of the Duke Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center.

Dr. Telen's laboratory focuses on structure/function analysis of membrane proteins expressed by erythroid cells, as well as the role of these proteins in non-erythroid cells. Proteins are also studied in transfectant systems, and research focuses especially on adhesion receptors. The goals of this work are (1) to understand the mechanism and role of red cell adhesion to leukocytes and endothelium in sickle cell disease; (2) to understand the signaling mechanisms leading to activation (and inactivation) of red cell adhesion molecules; (3) to understand the molecular basis of blood group antigen expression, and (4) to understand the interactions of erythroid membrane proteins with other cells and with extracellular matrix..

Recent investigations have focused on the role of signaling pathways in the upregulation of sickle red cell adhesion. Present studies include (1) investigation of beta-adrenergic signaling pathway responsible for activation of B-CAM/LU and LW adhesion receptors; (2) understanding how nitric oxide and ATP downregulate sickle red cell adhesion; (3) studying the effect of these processes in animal models.

Dr. Telen is also involved in a large multicenter study looking for genetic polymorphisms that affect clinical outcomes in sickle cell disease, as well as a multi-center study investigating the mechanisms and treatment of pulmonary hypertension in sickle cell disease.

Key Words:

Adhesion molecules
Erythrocyte membrane
Sickle cell disease
Transfusion medicine
Genetic polymorphisms

Education and Training

  • Fellowship, Hematology/ Oncology, Duke University School of Medicine, 1980 - 1983
  • Resident, Medicine, State University of New York at Buffalo, 1977 - 1980
  • Intern, Medicine, State University of New York at Buffalo, 1977 - 1978
  • M.D., New York University, 1977


Zekavat, SM, Ruotsalainen, S, Handsaker, RE, Alver, M, Bloom, J, Poterba, T, Seed, C, Ernst, J, Chaffin, M, Engreitz, J, Peloso, GM, Manichaikul, A, Yang, C, Ryan, KA, Fu, M, Johnson, WC, Tsai, M, Budoff, M, Ramachandran, VS, Cupples, LA, Rotter, JI, Rich, SS, Post, W, Mitchell, BD, Correa, A, Metspalu, A, Wilson, JG, Salomaa, V, Kellis, M, Daly, MJ, Neale, BM, McCarroll, S, Surakka, I, Esko, T, Ganna, A, Ripatti, S, Kathiresan, S, and Natarajan, P. "Deep coverage whole genome sequences and plasma lipoprotein(a) in individuals of European and African ancestries(Published online)." Nature Communications 9, no. 1 (December 2018).

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Adam, SS, Flahiff, CM, Kamble, S, Telen, MJ, Reed, SD, and De Castro, LM. "Depression, quality of life, and medical resource utilization in sickle cell disease." Blood advances 1, no. 23 (October 12, 2017): 1983-1992.

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Jacob, SA, Novelli, EM, Isenberg, JS, Garrett, ME, Chu, Y, Soldano, K, Ataga, KI, Telen, MJ, Ashley-Koch, A, Gladwin, MT, Zhang, Y, and Kato, GJ. "Thrombospondin-1 gene polymorphism is associated with estimated pulmonary artery pressure in patients with sickle cell anemia." American journal of hematology 92, no. 3 (March 2017): E31-E34. (Letter)

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Telen, MJ. "Developing new pharmacotherapeutic approaches to treating sickle-cell disease." ISBT science series 12, no. 1 (February 2017): 239-247.

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Jacob, SA, Novelli, EM, Isenberg, JS, Garrett, ME, Chu, Y, Soldano, KL, Ataga, KI, Telen, MJ, Ashley-Koch, AE, Zhang, Y, and Kato, GJ. "Thrombospondin-1 Polymorphisms Are Associated with Chronic Kidney Disease in Sickle Cell Anemia." December 2, 2016.


Xu, JZ, Garrett, ME, Soldano, KL, Chen, ST, Ashley-Koch, AE, and Telen, MJ. "Factors Related to the Progression of Sickle Cell Disease Nephropathy." December 2, 2016.


Anderson, BR, Garrett, ME, Soldano, KL, Orringer, EP, Eckman, JR, Francescatto, L, Davis, EE, Gladwin, MT, Gordeuk, VR, Telen, MJ, and Ashley-Koch, AE. "GWAS Meta-Analysis of Glomerular Filtration Rate in Three Cohorts of Sickle Cell Disease Patients and In Vivo Functional Analysis Reveals Potential Nephropathy Candidate Genes." December 2, 2016.


Telen, MJ, Batchvarova, M, Shan, S, Bovee-Geurts, PH, Zennadi, R, Leitgeb, A, Brock, R, and Lindgren, M. "Sevuparin binds to multiple adhesive ligands and reduces sickle red blood cell-induced vaso-occlusion." British journal of haematology 175, no. 5 (December 2016): 935-948.

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Telen, MJ. "Beyond hydroxyurea: new and old drugs in the pipeline for sickle cell disease." Blood 127, no. 7 (February 2016): 810-819. (Review)

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Doss, JF, Jonassaint, JC, Garrett, ME, Ashley-Koch, AE, Telen, MJ, and Chi, J-T. "Phase 1 Study of a Sulforaphane-Containing Broccoli Sprout Homogenate for Sickle Cell Disease." Plos One 11, no. 4 (January 2016): e0152895-null.

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