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Karen-Sue Carlson, MD, PhD

Karen-Sue Carlson, MD, PhD

Assistant Investigator

Assistant Professor
Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Hematology and Oncology 
The Medical College of Wisconsin


Post-Graduate Clinical and Research Training
Postdoctoral Fellowship: The Rockefeller University (Mentor: Dr. Sidney Strickland)
Internal Medicine Internship: New York Presbyterian, Weill-Cornell Medical Center
Internal Medicine Residency: New York Presbyterian, Weill-Cornell Medical Center
Hematology/Oncology Fellowship: New York Presbyterian, Weill-Cornell Medical Center

MD/PhD Dual Degree program; Ph.D. from department of Biomolecular Chemistry (Mentor: Dr. Bradford Schwartz)
M.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison

B.A. Chemistry; B.A. Music
Southern Methodist University

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Karen-Sue Carlson, MD, PhD

Assistant Investigator

  • Research Interests

    The bone marrow hematopoietic (blood forming) microenvironment is complex. It includes: 1) blood forming cells; 2) support (stromal) cells; and 3) soluble support molecules, all of which are organized within a physical support framework of extracellular matrix (ECM). In many types of blood cancers, the ECM accumulates and turns into scar tissue, i.e. fibrosis. Disease progression versus response to treatment frequently correlates with worsening or improvement of fibrosis, respectively. Despite the well-described dynamic ECM changes in many diseases of abnormal blood cell production, it is not known whether bone marrow ECM dysregulation is itself sufficient to change blood cell production.

    The central hypothesis of my research is that bone marrow ECM homeostasis is a microenvironment-dependant hematopoietic regulatory mechanism. To test this hypothesis, we are focusing on the canonical ECM protein family, the laminins. Using a mouse model of inducible laminin deficiency, we are able to determine how loss of a specific ECM component changes the structure and composition of the hematopoietic niche and blood cell production in the otherwise unperturbed adult bone marrow. We are expanding this work to include quantification of the ECM structure and content changes that occur in the bone marrow of patients with hematopoietic disorders.

    My long-term goal is to apply these findings to human diseases of abnormal blood cell production. In doing so, we will gain new knowledge about disease evolution and pathology that will facilitate development of novel treatments for bone marrow failure syndromes and hematopoietic malignancies.

  • Grant Support

    Bone Marrow Failure in Mice Deficient for the Extracellular Matrix Component, Laminin-gamma1
    Source: NHLBI (NIH)
    Role: Principal Investigator
    Dates: April 1, 2015 - March 31, 2020

    Aplastic Anemia and the Bone Marrow Hematopoietic Niche
    Source: Froedtert Hospital Foundation; Aplastic Anemia Cancer Research Fund.
    Role: Principal Investigator
    Dates: October 1, 2015 – September 30, 2016

  • Lab

    British Fields
    Research Technologist

  • Publications
    • Laura Michaelis, Ahmad Hanif, Parameswaran Hari, Ehab Atallah, Karen-Sue Carlson, and Marcelo Pasquini. Safety of Ruxolitinib Therapy Prior to Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation for Myeloproliferative Neoplasms. Bone Marrow Transplantation. (In press; online January 4, 2016)
    • Atallah E, Carlson Karen Sue, Schiffer Charles. Should all adults with acute lymphocytic leukemia receive allogeneic stem cell transplantation in first remission? International Journal of Hematologic Oncology; 3(5): 325-334, October, 2014. (10.2217)
    • Ebenezer, G*, Carlson, K*; Donovan D, Cobham M, Chuang E, Moore A, Cigler T, Ward M, Lane M, Ramnarain A, Vahdat, L, Polydefkis, M. Ixabepilone-induced mitochondria and sensory axon loss in breast cancer patients. Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology; 1(9): 639-639, September 2014. * Co-authorship. (PMID: 25493278)
    • Chapin J, Carlson K, Christos PJ, Desancho MT. Risk Factors and Treatment Strategies in Patients with Retinal Vascular Occlusions. Clin Appl Thromb Hemost. 2013 Dec 11. (PMID 24335246)
    • Carlson Karen-Sue B, Guzman Monica L. Is Minimal Residual Disease Monitoring Clinically Relevant in Adults with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia? Current Hematologic Malignancy Reports. 8(2):109-15, June 2013. (PMID: 23563936)
    • Ritchie EK, Feldman EJ, Christos PJ, Rohan SD, Lagassa CB, Ippoliti C, Scandura JM, Carlson K, Roboz GJ. Decitabine in patients with newly diagnosed and relapsed acute myeloid leukemia. Leukemia and Lymphoma. 54(9); 2013 Feb 7. (PMID: 23270581)
    • Carlson K, Ocean A. Peripheral Neuropathy with Microtubule-targeting Agents: Occurrence and Management Approach. Clinical Breast Cancer. 11(2): 73-81, April 2011. (PMID: 21569993)
    • Carlson K, Singh P, Feaster M, Ramnarain A, Pavlides C, Chen ZL, Yu WM, Feltri ML, Strickland S. Mesenchymal Stem Cells Facilitate Axon Sorting, Myelination, and Functional Recovery in Paralyzed Mice Deficient in Schwann Cell-Derived Laminin. GLIA. 59(2);267-77, Feb 2011. (PMID: 21125647; PMCID: PMC3118468)
    • Mallik A, Carlson KB, DeSancho MT. A Patient with “Spontaneous” Heparin-induced Thrombocytopenia and Thrombosis after Undergoing Knee Replacement. Blood Coagulation and Fibrinolysis. Blood Coagulation and Fibrinolysis. 22(1):73-5, January 2011. (PMID: 21076280)
    • Carlson KS, DeSancho MT. Hematological issues in critically ill patients with cancer. Crit Care Clin. 26(1): 107-132, January 2010. (PMID: 19944278)
    • Barker-Carlson K, Lawrence D, Schwartz B. Acyl-enzyme complexes between tissue type plasminogen activator and neuroserpin are short lived in vitro. J. Biol. Chem. 277:46852 – 46857; Nov 2002. (PMID: 12228252)
    • Carlson, K. Acute Leukemia. Editors: JB Hall, GA Schmidt, JP Kress. Principles of Critical Care, 4th Edition. 865-871, June, 2015. McGraw Hill Publishing; ISBN-13: 978-0071738811, ISBN-10: 007173819.

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