Marilyn Jo Telen, MD

Professor of Medicine
Wellcome Clinical Distinguished Professor of Medicine in Honor of R. Wayne Rundles, M.D.
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 - Buffalo, 1977 - 1980
  • Intern, Medicine, State University of New York - Buffalo, 1977 - 1978
  • M.D., New York University, 1977


Kachroo, Priyadarshini, Julian Hecker, Bo L. Chawes, Tarunveer S. Ahluwalia, Michael H. Cho, Dandi Qiao, Rachel S. Kelly, et al. “Whole Genome Sequencing Identifies CRISPLD2 as a Lung Function Gene in Children With Asthma.” In Chest, 156:1068–79, 2019.

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Xu, Julia Z., Meghan Foe, Wilaslak Tanongsaksakul, Thidarat Suksangpleng, Supachai Ekwattanakit, Suchada Riolueang, Marilyn J. Telen, Bonnie N. Kaiser, and Vip Viprakasit. “Identification of Optimal Thalassemia Screening Strategies for Migrant Populations in Thailand: A Mixed-Methods Approach.” In Blood, 134:2112–2112. American Society of Hematology, 2019.

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Kalfa, Theodosia A., Frans A. Kuypers, Marilyn J. Telen, Punam Malik, Diamantis G. Konstantinidis, Jeremy H. Estepp, Hyon J. Kim, et al. “Phase 1 Single (SAD) and Multiple Ascending Dose (MAD) Studies of the Safety, Tolerability, Pharmacokinetics (PK) and Pharmacodynamics (PD) of FT-4202, an Allosteric Activator of Pyruvate Kinase-R, in Healthy and Sickle Cell Disease Subjects.” In Blood, 134:616–616. American Society of Hematology, 2019.

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McMahon, Timothy J., Siqing Shan, Daniel A. Riccio, Milena Batchvarova, Hongmei Zhu, Marilyn J. Telen, and Rahima Zennadi. “Nitric oxide loading reduces sickle red cell adhesion and vaso-occlusion in vivo.” Blood Adv 3, no. 17 (September 10, 2019): 2586–97.

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Oyedeji, Charity, John Joseph Strouse, Regina D. Crawford, Melanie E. Garrett, Allison E. Ashley-Koch, and Marilyn J. Telen. “A multi-institutional comparison of younger and older adults with sickle cell disease.” Am J Hematol 94, no. 4 (April 2019): E115–17.

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Telen, Marilyn J., Punam Malik, and Gregory M. Vercellotti. “Therapeutic strategies for sickle cell disease: towards a multi-agent approach.” Nat Rev Drug Discov 18, no. 2 (February 2019): 139–58.

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Bundy, Joseph L., Blair R. Anderson, Ludmila Francescatto, Melanie E. Garrett, Karen L. Soldano, Marilyn J. Telen, Erica E. Davis, and Allison E. Ashley-Koch. “RNA sequencing of isolated cell populations expressing human APOL1 G2 risk variant reveals molecular correlates of sickle cell nephropathy in zebrafish podocytes.” In Plos One, 14:e0217042, 2019.

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Xu, Julia Z., Melanie E. Garrett, Karen L. Soldano, Sean T. Chen, Clary B. Clish, Allison E. Ashley-Koch, and Marilyn J. Telen. “Clinical and metabolomic risk factors associated with rapid renal function decline in sickle cell disease.” Am J Hematol 93, no. 12 (December 2018): 1451–60.

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Xu, Julia Z., Wilaslak Tanongsaksakul, Thidarat Suksangpleng, Supachai Ekwattanakit, Suchada Riolueang, Bonnie N. Kaiser, Nathan M. Thielman, Marilyn J. Telen, and Vip Viprakasit. “Knowledge, Cultural, and Structural Barriers to Thalassemia Screening in Migrant Populations in Thailand.” In Blood, 132:2228–2228. American Society of Hematology, 2018.

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Ilboudo, Yann, Pablo Bartolucci, Melanie E. Garrett, Allison Ashley-Koch, Marilyn Telen, Carlo Brugnara, Frédéric Galactéros, and Guillaume Lettre. “A common functional PIEZO1 deletion allele associates with red blood cell density in sickle cell disease patients.” Am J Hematol 93, no. 11 (November 2018): E362–65.

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