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


Klings, Elizabeth S., Roberto F. Machado, Claudia R. Morris, Victor R. Gordeuk, Gregory J. Kato, Kenneth I. Ataga, Oswaldo Castro, et al. “Reply: Practice guideline for pulmonary hypertension in sickle cell: direct evidence needed before universal adoption.” Am J Respir Crit Care Med 190, no. 2 (July 15, 2014): 238–40.

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Elmariah, Hany, Melanie E. Garrett, Laura M. De Castro, Jude C. Jonassaint, Kenneth I. Ataga, James R. Eckman, Allison E. Ashley-Koch, and Marilyn J. Telen. “Factors associated with survival in a contemporary adult sickle cell disease cohort.” Am J Hematol 89, no. 5 (May 2014): 530–35.

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Klings, Elizabeth S., Roberto F. Machado, Robyn J. Barst, Claudia R. Morris, Kamal K. Mubarak, Victor R. Gordeuk, Gregory J. Kato, et al. “An official American Thoracic Society clinical practice guideline: diagnosis, risk stratification, and management of pulmonary hypertension of sickle cell disease.” Am J Respir Crit Care Med 189, no. 6 (March 15, 2014): 727–40.

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Telen, M. J. “Cellular adhesion and the endothelium: E-selectin, L-selectin, and pan-selectin inhibitors.” Hematology/Oncology Clinics of North America 28, no. 2 (2014): 341–54.


Wun, Ted, Lori Styles, Laura DeCastro, Marilyn J. Telen, Frans Kuypers, Anthony Cheung, William Kramer, et al. “Phase 1 study of the E-selectin inhibitor GMI 1070 in patients with sickle cell anemia.” Plos One 9, no. 7 (2014): e101301.

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Telen, Marilyn J. “Teaching evidence-based medicine in the former Soviet Union: lessons learned.” Trans Am Clin Climatol Assoc 125 (2014): 88–102.


Telen, Marilyn J., Ted Wun, Timothy L. McCavit, Laura M. De Castro, Lakshmanan Krishnamurti, Sophie Lanzkron, Lewis L. Hsu, et al. “GMI 1070: Reduction In Time To Resolution Of Vaso-Occlusive Crisis and Decreased Opioid Use In a Prospective, Randomized, Multi-Center Double Blind, Adaptive Phase 2 Study In Sickle Cell Disease.” In Blood, 122:776–776. American Society of Hematology, 2013.

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De Castro, Laura M., Ted Wun, Sophie Lanzkron, Wally R. Smith, Kathryn L. Hassell, Abdullah Kutlar, Kim Smith-Whitley, Seungshin Rhee, Marilyn J. Telen, and Helen Thackray. “Effects Of GMI 1070, a Pan-Selectin Inhibitor, On Pain Intensity and Opioid Utilization In Sickle Cell Disease.” In Blood, 122:775–775. American Society of Hematology, 2013.

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Anderson, Blair R., Erica E. Davis, Marilyn J. Telen, and Allison E. Ashley-Koch. “In Vivo Modeling Of Genetic Mechanisms Associated With Sickle Cell Disease Nephropathy.” In Blood, 122:2224–2224. American Society of Hematology, 2013.

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