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


Ashley-Koch, Allison E., Emmanuel C. Okocha, Melanie E. Garrett, Karen Soldano, Laura M. De Castro, Jude C. Jonassaint, Eugene P. Orringer, James R. Eckman, and Marilyn J. Telen. “MYH9 and APOL1 are both associated with sickle cell disease nephropathy.” Br J Haematol 155, no. 3 (November 2011): 386–94.

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Zhu, Hongmei, Rahima Zennadi, Bruce X. Xu, Jerry P. Eu, Jordan A. Torok, Marilyn J. Telen, and Timothy J. McMahon. “Impaired adenosine-5'-triphosphate release from red blood cells promotes their adhesion to endothelial cells: a mechanism of hypoxemia after transfusion.” Critical Care Medicine 39, no. 11 (November 2011): 2478–86.

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Kamble, S., M. J. Telen, M. A. Dinan, C. A. Grussemeyer, and S. D. Reed. “Erratum: Costs and length of stay for patients with and without sickle cell disease after hysterectomy, appendectomy, or knee replacement.” American Journal of Hematology 86, no. 10 (October 1, 2011): 903.

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Dinan, M. A., C. H. Chou, B. G. Hammill, F. L. Graham, K. A. Schulman, M. J. Telen, and S. D. Reed. “Erratum: Outcomes of inpatients with and without sickle cell disease after high-volume surgical procedures.” American Journal of Hematology 86, no. 10 (October 1, 2011): 906–8.

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Burnette, Angela D., Shahid M. Nimjee, Milena Batchvarova, Rahima Zennadi, Marilyn J. Telen, Jun-Ichi Nishimura, and Bruce A. Sullenger. “RNA aptamer therapy for vaso-occlusion in sickle cell disease.” Nucleic Acid Ther 21, no. 4 (August 2011): 275–83.

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Shah, Nirmish, Marilyn J. Telen, and Thomas L. Ortel. “Comparison of thrombin generation of sickle cell patients in crisis and steady state using the thrombin generation assay (TGA).” Haemophilia 17, no. 3 (May 1, 2011): 557–557.


Shaked, Natan T., Lisa L. Satterwhite, Marilyn J. Telen, George A. Truskey, and Adam Wax. “Quantitative microscopy and nanoscopy of sickle red blood cells performed by wide field digital interferometry.” J Biomed Opt 16, no. 3 (March 2011): 030506.

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Wang, Winfred, Carlo Brugnara, Cathie Snyder, Lynn Wynn, Zora Rogers, Karen Kalinyak, Clark Brown, et al. “The effects of hydroxycarbamide and magnesium on haemoglobin SC disease: results of the multi-centre CHAMPS trial.” Br J Haematol 152, no. 6 (March 2011): 771–76.

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Zhu, H., R. Zennadi, B. Xu, J. P. Eu, J. Torok, M. J. Telen, and T. J. McMahon. “Red Blood Cell Release Of ATP Prevents Endothelial Adhesion: Implications For Post-Transfusion Lung Dysfunction.” American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 183 (January 1, 2011).


Zennadi, Rahima, and Marilyn J. Telen. “Atypical Activation of Plasma Membrane-Bound ERK1/2 Is Associated with Regulation of Sickle Red Cell Adhesion to Endothelium.” In Blood, 116:122–122. AMER SOC HEMATOLOGY, 2010.