Marilyn Jo Telen
Marilyn Jo Telen

Marilyn Jo Telen

Wellcome Clinical Distinguished Professor of Medicine in Honor of R. Wayne Rundles, M.D.


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


Wellcome Clinical Distinguished Professor of Medicine in Honor of R. Wayne Rundles, M.D. in the School of Medicine

2001 School of Medicine

Professor of Medicine in the School of Medicine

1995 School of Medicine

Associate Professor of Pathology in the School of Medicine

1996 School of Medicine

Member of the Duke Cancer Institute in the School of Medicine

1980 School of Medicine

Affiliate, Duke Global Health Institute in the University Institutes and Centers

2018 University Institutes and Centers


M.D. 1977

1977 New York University


1978 State University of New York, Buffalo

Resident, MEDICINE

1980 State University of New York, Buffalo


1983 Duke University, School of Medicine

Publications, Grants & Awards

Offices & Contact

333 Med Sci Res Bldg
Durham, NC
Duke Box 2615
Durham, NC