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


Shaked, N. T., L. L. Satterwhite, M. J. Telen, G. A. Truskey, and A. Wax. “Dynamic quantitative microscopy and nanoscopy of red blood cells in sickle cell disease.” In Progress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging  Proceedings of Spie, Vol. 8227, 2012.

Full Text

Zennadi, Rahima, Erin J. Whalen, Erik J. Soderblom, Susan C. Alexander, J Will Thompson, Laura G. Dubois, M Arthur Moseley, and Marilyn J. Telen. “Erythrocyte plasma membrane-bound ERK1/2 activation promotes ICAM-4-mediated sickle red cell adhesion to endothelium.” Blood 119, no. 5 (February 2, 2012): 1217–27.

Full Text

Satterwhite, L. L., N. T. Shaked, D. D. Cyr, M. J. Telen, G. A. Truskey, and A. Wax. “Novel optical signature for sickle cell trait red blood cells.” Frontiers in Optics, Fio 2012, January 1, 2012.

Full Text

Milton, Jacqueline N., Paola Sebastiani, Nadia Solovieff, Stephen W. Hartley, Pallav Bhatnagar, Dan E. Arking, Daniel A. Dworkis, et al. “A genome-wide association study of total bilirubin and cholelithiasis risk in sickle cell anemia.” Plos One 7, no. 4 (2012): e34741.

Full Text

Dampier, Carlton D., Wally R. Smith, Hae-Young Kim, Carrie Greene Wager, Margaret C. Bell, Caterina P. Minniti, Jeffrey Keefer, et al. “Opioid patient controlled analgesia use during the initial experience with the IMPROVE PCA trial: a phase III analgesic trial for hospitalized sickle cell patients with painful episodes.” Am J Hematol 86, no. 12 (December 2011): E70–73.

Full Text

Bae, Harold T., Clinton T. Baldwin, Mark T. Gladwin, Allison E. Ashley-Koch, Melanie Garrett, Karen Soldano, James G. Taylor, et al. “An Elevated Tricuspid Regurgitant Jet Velocity in Sickle Cell Disease Is Associated with Polymorphisms in Genes Impacting Innate Immunity.” In Blood, 118:240–240. AMER SOC HEMATOLOGY, 2011.


Barber, Latorya A., Karen Soldano, Melanie Garrett, Eugene P. Orringer, James R. Eckman, Marilyn J. Telen, and Allison E. Ashley-Koch. “Inflammatory Polymorphisms Link the Risk of Acute Chest Syndrome with Asthma in Adults with Sickle Cell Disease.” In Blood, 118:493–493. AMER SOC HEMATOLOGY, 2011.


Boateng, Lydia A., Rahima Zennadi, and Marilyn J. Telen. “Sickle Red Blood Cell Induced Adhesion of Neutrophils to Endothelial Cells and Biologic Correlates of Leukocyte Activation.” In Blood, 118:1055–1055. American Society of Hematology, 2011.

Full Text