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


Batchvarova, Milena, Siqing Shan, Rahima Zennadi, Maria Lindgren, Anna Leitgeb, Pirkko Sulila Tamsen, and Marilyn J. Telen. “Sevuparin Reduces Adhesion Of Both Sickle Red Cells and Leukocytes To Endothelial Cells In Vitro and Inhibits Vaso-Occlusion In Vivo.” In Blood, 122:182–182. American Society of Hematology, 2013.

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Galarneau, Geneviève, Sean Coady, Melanie E. Garrett, Neal Jeffries, Mona Puggal, Dina Paltoo, Karen Soldano, et al. “Gene-centric association study of acute chest syndrome and painful crisis in sickle cell disease patients.” Blood 122, no. 3 (July 18, 2013): 434–42.

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Dampier, Carlton D., Wally R. Smith, Carrie G. Wager, Hae-Young Kim, Margaret C. Bell, Scott T. Miller, Debra L. Weiner, et al. “IMPROVE trial: a randomized controlled trial of patient-controlled analgesia for sickle cell painful episodes: rationale, design challenges, initial experience, and recommendations for future studies.” Clin Trials 10, no. 2 (April 2013): 319–31.

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Terman, David S., Benjamin L. Viglianti, Rahima Zennadi, Diane Fels, Richard J. Boruta, Hong Yuan, Mathew R. Dreher, et al. “Sickle erythrocytes target cytotoxics to hypoxic tumor microvessels and potentiate a tumoricidal response.” Plos One 8, no. 1 (2013): e52543.

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De Castro, Laura M., Rahima Zennadi, Jude C. Jonassaint, Milena Batchvarova, and Marilyn J. Telen. “Effect of propranolol as antiadhesive therapy in sickle cell disease.” Clinical and Translational Science 5, no. 6 (December 2012): 437–44.

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Magnani, John L., Frans A. Kuypers, John T. Patton, Sandra K. Larkin, Lori Styles, Laura M. DeCastro, Marilyn J. Telen, Ted Wun, and Helen Thackray. “Pan-Selectin Antagonist GMI-1070 Affects Biomarkers of Adhesion, Activation and the Coagulation Cascade in Sickle Cell Adults At Steady State.” In Blood, 120:87–87. American Society of Hematology, 2012.

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Shah, Nirmish, Courtney Thornburg, Marilyn J. Telen, and Thomas L. Ortel. “Characterization of the hypercoagulable state in patients with sickle cell disease.” Thromb Res 130, no. 5 (November 2012): e241–45.

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Crawford, Regina D., Lindsey Kalhagen, Endi Wang, and Marilyn J. Telen. “Kikuchi-Fugimoto's disease in sickle cell disease: report of 2 cases.” J Natl Med Assoc 104, no. 9–10 (September 2012): 459–62.

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Bae, Harold T., Clinton T. Baldwin, Paola Sebastiani, Marilyn J. Telen, Allison Ashley-Koch, Melanie Garrett, W Craig Hooper, et al. “Meta-analysis of 2040 sickle cell anemia patients: BCL11A and HBS1L-MYB are the major modifiers of HbF in African Americans.” Blood 120, no. 9 (August 30, 2012): 1961–62.

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LaMonte, Gregory, Nisha Philip, Joseph Reardon, Joshua R. Lacsina, William Majoros, Lesley Chapman, Courtney D. Thornburg, et al. “Translocation of sickle cell erythrocyte microRNAs into Plasmodium falciparum inhibits parasite translation and contributes to malaria resistance.” Cell Host Microbe 12, no. 2 (August 16, 2012): 187–99.

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