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, BS (Graduate student, Emory MSP Program)
Education: BS, 2017, Georgia Institute of Technology

Wenchun Chen, PhD (Postdoctoral fellow)
Education: PhD, 2014, University of Würzburg (Germany)

Emily Legan, BS (Graduate student, Emory BCDB program)
Education: BS, 2017, Marquette University

Yingchun Wang, MD, PhD (Assistant Professor, Research)
Education: MD, 1985, Nantong Medical College; PhD, 1999, Suzhou University

Moriah Wilson, BS (Research Specialist)
Education: BS, 2019, Rice University

Ally Su (Undergraduate Researcher)

Education: Class of 2022, Emory University 


Nathan Jacob (Undergraduate Researcher) 

Education: Class of 2022, Emory University 

Tania Sarker, MBBS, MPH (Fellow, Transfusion Medicine) 

Education: MBBS, 2006, Medical College Baroda (India); MPH, 2008, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

79. Arce NA, Cao W, Brown AK, Legan ER, Wilson MS, Xu ER, Berndt MC, Emsley J, Zhang XF, Li R. Activation of von Willebrand factor via mechanical unfolding of its discontinuous autoinhibitory module. Nat. Commun. in press.

77. Quach ME, Li R. Structure-function of platelet glycoprotein Ib-IX. J. Thromb. Haemost. 18: 3131-3134, 2020. PMID: 32735697.

74. Wang Y, Chen W, Zhang W, Lee-Sundlov MM, Casari C, Berndt MC, Lanza F, Bergmeier W, Hoffmeister KM, Zhang XF, Li R. Desialylation of O-glycans on glycoprotein Ibα drives receptor signaling and platelet clearance.  106: 220-229, 2021. PMID: 31974202.

67. Chen W, Voos KM, Josephson CD, Li R. Short-acting anti-VWF aptamer improves the recovery, survival, and hemostatic functions of refrigerated platelets. Arterioscler. Thromb. Vasc. Biol. 39: 2028-2037, 2019 with an editorial in Arterioscler. Thromb. Vasc. Biol. 39: 1893-1895. PMID: 31315441

65. Zhang XF, Zhang W, Quach ME, Deng W, Li R. Force-regulated refolding of the mechanosensory domain in the platelet glycoprotein Ib-IX complex. Biophys. J. 116: 1960-1969, 2019.

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

54. 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


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Edward Quach (student): Postdoc, Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School

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): Deputy Director, Institute of Pediatric Translational Medicine, Shanghai Children’s Medical Center; Professor, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine

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): Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

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

NIH R01HL143794 “Conformational activation of von Willebrand factor”

NIH R21HL146299 “Cryo-ET structural studies of platelets”