We are broadly interested in the molecular mechanisms of blood diseases and the development of novel therapeutics to treat them. We take a multidisciplinary approach, using a combination of cell biological, biochemical, biophysical techniques, as well as genetic mice models.

One focus is the mechanism of platelet physiology. Platelets are blood cells in the circulation that mediate blood clotting and many important functions. We study the molecular mechanisms in the platelet in the context of cardiovascular diseases and hematological disorders, and translate our findings to novel diagnostics and therapeutics:

  1. Hemostasis and Thrombosis
  2. Platelet functional disorders
  3. Thrombocytopenia
  4. Platelet transfusion
  5. Platelets and infection

Another focus is the dynamic regulation and activation of plasma proteins. Blood plasma contains many large, dynamic proteins that are linked to diseases. We aim to understand how they interact with one another in the context of disease settings and to develop new antibody or inhibitory agents as potential therapeutics.

Nick Arce
Graduate student, Emory MSP Program
B.S., 2017, Georgia Institute of Technology

Wenchun Chen
Postdoc fellow
Ph.D., 2014, University of Würzburg (Germany)

Sarah Laughlin-Toth
Postdoc fellow
Ph.D., 2016, Georgia State University
Fun Fact: enjoy kickboxing

Emily Legan
Graduate student, Emory BCDB program
B.S., 2017, Marquette University

Edward Quach
Graduate student, Emory BCDB program
B.S., 2014, Muhlenberg College

Kayleigh Voos
Research specialist / Lab manager
B.S., 2016, Appalachian State University

Yingchun Wang
Research Assistant Professor
M.D., 1985, Nantong Medical College; Ph.D., 1999, Suzhou University

Deng W, Voos KM, Colucci JK, Legan ER, Ortlund EA, Lollar P, Li R. Delimiting the autoinhibitory module of von Willebrand factor. J. Thromb. Haemost. Epub ahead of print Pubmed


Quach ME, Chen W, Li R. Mechanisms of platelet clearance and translation to improve platelet storage. Blood 131: 1512-1521, 2018 

Chen W, Druzak SA, Wang Y, Josephson CD, Hoffmeister KM, Ware J, Li R. Refrigeration-induced binding of von Willebrand factor facilitates fast clearance of refrigerated platelets Arterioscler. Thromb. Vasc. Biol. 37: 2271-2279, 2017 


Quach ME, Dragovich MA, Chen W, Syed AK, Cao W, Liang X, Deng W, De Meyer SF, Zhu G, Peng J, Ni H, Bennett CM, Hou M, Ware J, Deckmyn H, Zhang XF, Li R. Fc-independent immune thrombocytopenia via mechanomolecular signaling in platelets. Blood 131: 787-796, 2018 with a commentary in Blood 131: 713-714 Inside Blood Commentary


Deng W, Wang Y, Druzak SA, Healey JF, Syed AK, Lollar P, Li R. A discontinuous autoinhibitory module masks the A1 domain of von Willebrand factor. J. Thromb. Haemost. 15: 1867-1877, 2017 


W. Deng, Y. Xu, W. Chen, D. S. Paul, A. K. Syed, M. A. Dragovich, X. Liang, P. Zakas, M. C. Berndt, J. Di Paola, J. Ware, F. Lanza, C. B. Doering, W. Bergmeier, X. F. Zhang, R. Li. Platelet clearance via shear-induced unfolding of a membrane mechanoreceptor. Nat. Commun. 7: 12863, 2016


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Shi-zhong Luo (postdoc): Professor and Deputy Dean, School of Life Sciences, Beijing University of Chemical Technology 

Sankaranarayanan Srinivasan (student): Principal Scientist, Intas Pharmaceuticals 

Xi Mo (student): Principal Investigator, Institute of Translational Medicine, Shanghai Children’s Medical Center 

Wenjun Yang (postdoc): Associate Investigator, Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Rong Yan (student): Associate Investigator, Jiangsu Institute of Hematology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University

Chen Liu (postdoc): Research Associate, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Liang Zhou (postdoc): Postdoc, Institute for Biomedical Sciences, Georgia State University

Xin Liang (postdoc): Associate Professor, East China University of Science and Technology 

Wei Deng (postdoc): Instructor, Emory University School of Medicine 

Joshua Strauss (Assistant Scientist): Staff Scientist, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences 

NIH R01HL082808 “Structure and function of platelet glycoprotein Ib-IX-V complex”

NIH R01HL123984 “GPIbalpha shedding and platelet clearance”

NIH R01HL143794 “Conformational activation of von Willebrand factor”