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Di Paola Lab

Welcome to the website for the Di Paola Laboratory at the University of Colorado at Denver Anschutz Medical Campus.

Defects in platelet binding, aggregation and granule release all lead to human bleeding disorders, and research in the Di Paola lab is focused on better understanding, diagnosing and treating these defects. Specifically our research is focused on the role of platelets and von Willebrand factor (VWF) in thrombosis and hemostasis.

Platelets recognize injured blood vessel walls and adhere to areas of damage. The process of platelet binding and aggregation is highly regulated such that the platelets rapidly stem the flow of blood at the site of vessel injury while not causing vessel occlusion. In addition, upon binding and activation, platelets release granule contents that include clotting proteins and numerous growth factors that are involved in tissue growth and wound healing. Thus platelets play a central role in blood vessel repair and have both physical and biochemical properties that are essential for normal hemostasis.

VWF is present in platelets and endothelial cells. Our current studies of VWF mutations are primarily focused on identifying genetic factors that give rise to the clinical variability seen in the patients with von Willebrand Disease (VWD) and to develop assays to better characterize and understand this bleeding disorder.

Association and linkage analysis, along with next generation sequence strategies, are being used to study families with VWD, Gray Platelet Syndrome and other congenital bleeding disorders. Also, in collaboration with the Neeves lab at the Colorado School of Mines, we are testing a state of the art microscopy system to further examine platelet function under different flow rates and to characterize the effects of shear on platelet binding and aggregation in normal individuals and those with bleeding disorders.

By applying both genetic and biochemical approaches we hope to expand our scope of understanding of platelet development and function, and to be better able to diagnose and treat related bleeding disorders.

Additional information regarding specific research projects in the Di Paola lab can be found by clicking on the following links (please check back for active links while this site is under construction):

  • Genetic Studies of von Willebrand Disease
  • Biochemical characterization of von Willebrand Factor
  • Microfluidic assessment of platelet function
  • Gray Platelet Syndrome
  • Fibrinogen disorders