Areas of Interest
Thrombosis, the culprit in heart attack, ischemic stroke, and trauma-induced coagulopathy, is one of the leading causes of disability and death. Currently, all approved antithrombotic drugs target the final pathway of blood clotting, which affects normal hemostasis. Distinguishing the different mechanistic modulators in the tissue factor pathway (responsible for hemostasis and thrombosis) and the contact activation pathway (involved in thrombosis but not hemostasis) holds promise for enabling the identification of drug targets which possess strong antithrombotic—but few hemostatic—effects. Polyphosphate (polyP) is a linear chain of orthophosphate that has been found in all organisms. The lengths of these polymers vary from 60-100 (in platelet dense granules) to thousands (in bacteria). PolyP functions in cell survival and metabolism, and is a potent prothrombotic and proinflammatory modulator of blood clotting, depending upon its length and location. Exploring the functionality of polyP in coagulation would potentially reveal novel antithrombotic or anti-inflammatory drug targets in humans. My work in the Morrissey laboratory focuses on exploring the contribution of polyP with different sizes in contact pathway initiation, the localization as well as the expression of polyP in human blood cells.
Thesis Mentor: James Morrissey