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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 focus of my laboratory is the development and malignant transformation of the hematopoietic niche.

    We are trying to identify mechanisms that direct the development and maintenance of bone marrow niche, and to determine how these mechanisms are dysregulated by hematopoietic malignancy.

    The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is an important regulator of the bone marrow niche and blood cell production. We are interested in determining the cellular and molecular factors that regulate the development, maintenance and repair of  sympathetic nerve fibers in the bone marrow.  

    This is an important question to answer, because bone marrow malignancies such as acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and myelofibrosis (MF) cause a sympathetic neuropathy in the bone marrow that accelerates the malignant disease process.  

    We hope that by identifying factors that regulate the health of bone marrow nerve fibers, we will identify novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of AML and MF.

  • 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

    Kristin Komnick
    Assistant Research Technologist

  • Publications


    1. 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; 2002 Dec 6;277(49):46852-7. PubMed PMID: 12228252.
    2. 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; 2011 Jan;22(1):73-5. PMID: 21076280.
    3. 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; 2011 Feb;59(2):267-77. PMID: 21125647.
    4. 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. 2013 Sep;54(9):2003-7. PMID: 23270581.
    5. 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; 2014 Sep;1(9):639-49. PMID: 25493278.  
    6. Chapin J, Carlson K, Christos PJ, Desancho MT.  Risk Factors and Treatment Strategies in Patients with Retinal Vascular Occlusions.  Clin Appl Thromb Hemost.  2015 Oct;21(7):672-7. PMID: 24335246.
    7. Hanif A, Hari P, Atallah E, Carlson KS, Pasquini, and M Michaelis L.  Safety of Ruxolitinib Therapy Prior to Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation for Myeloproliferative Neoplasms. Bone Marrow Transplantation; 2016 Apr;51(4):617-8. PMID: 26726940.
    8. Carlson KS, Nguyen LT, Schwartz K, Lawrence DA, Schwartz B.  Neuroserpin Differentiates Between Forms of Tissue Type plasminogen Activator via pH Dependent Deacylation.  Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience; 2016;10:154. PMID: 27378851.
    9. van Mens T, Liang H, Basu S, Hernandez I, Zogg M, May J, Yang Q, Zhan M, Sood R, Foeckler J, Kalloway S, Carlson KS, and Weiler H. Variable penetrance of thrombosis in adult mice after tissue-selective and temporally controlled Thrombomodulin gene inactivation.  Blood Advances. 2017 Jun 27;1(15):1148-1158.  PMID: 28920104. 
    10. Kanate AS, Hari PN, Pasquini MC, Visotcky A, Ahn KW, Boyd J, Guru Murthy GS, Rizzo JD, Saber W, Drobyski W, Michaelis L, Atallah E, Carlson KS, D'Souza A, Fenske TS, Cumpston A, Bunner P, Craig M, Horowitz MM, Hamadani M. Biol Recipient Immune-Modulation with Atorvastatin for Acute Graft-Versus-Host Disease Prophylaxis Following Allogeneic Transplantation.  Blood Marrow Transplant. 2017 Aug;23(8):1295-1302. PMID: 28412518.
    11. Levin A, Kleman A, Rein L, Tarima S, Michaelis LC, Carlson KS, Hamadani M, Fenske TS, Hari P, Atallah E, Dhakal B. Early Mortality in Patients with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia Treated in Teaching versus Non-teaching Hospitals: A Large Database Analysis. Am J Hematol. 2017 Sep;92(9):E563-E565. PMID: 28631379.
    12. Schneidewend R, Hosking P, Brazauskas R, Peterson J, Beaudin C, Michaelis L, Atallah E, Hari P, Carlson K.  Early fluorescence in situ hybridization assessment during acute myeloid leukemia induction chemotherapy. Acta Haematologica. 2018 Mar;139(3):171-175. PMID: 29597188.
    13. Izaguirre-Carbonell J, Christiansen L, Burns R, Schmitz J, Li C, Mokry RL, Blumen T, Zheng Y, Shen J, Carlson KS, Rao S, Wang D, Zhu N.  Critical role of jumonji domain of JMJD1C in MLL-rearranged leukemia.  Blood Advances.  2019 May 14;3(9):1499-1511. PMID: 31076406.
    14. Yang C, Siebert JR, Burns R, Gerbec ZJ, Bonacci B, Rymaszewski A, Rau M, Riese  M, Rao S, Carlson KS, Routes JM, Verbsky  JM, Thakar MS, Malarkannan S.  Heterogeneity of Human Bone Marrow and Blood Natural Killer Cells Defined by Single-cell Transcriptome.  Nature Communications.  2019 Sep 2;10(1):3931. PMID: 31477722.
    15. Basu S, Liang HP, Hernandez H, Zogg M, Fields B, May J, Ogoti Y, Wyseure T, Mosnier LO, Burns RT, Carlson K, Weiler H.  Role of Thrombomodulin expression on hematopoietic stem cells. Journal of Thrombosis and Hemostasis.  Accepted for Publication October 10, 2019.


    1. Barker-Carlson K.  Characterization of the interactions between neuroserpin and tissue-type plasminogen activator.  Ph.D. Dissertation.  University of Wisconsin-Madison.  September 2002.
    2. Carlson KS, DeSancho MT.  Hematological issues in critically ill patients with cancer.  Crit Care Clin. 2010 Jan;26(1):107-32. PMID: 19944278.
    3. Carlson K, Ocean A.  Peripheral Neuropathy with Microtubule-targeting Agents: Occurrence and Management Approach.  Clinical Breast Cancer.  2011 Apr;11(2):73-81. PMID: 21569993. 
    4. Carlson Karen-Sue B, Guzman Monica L.  Is Minimal Residual Disease Monitoring Clinically Relevant in Adults with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia?  Current Hematologic Malignancy Reports.  2013 Jun;8(2):109-15. PMID: 23563936.
    5. 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.  International Journal of Hematologic Oncology; 3(5): 325-334, October, 2014. (10.2217)
    6. 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. 
    7. Tang J, Zhu N, Rao S, Carlson K.  Stem Cell Damage During Chemotherapy—Can we do better?.  Best Practices & Research Clinical Haematology.  2019 Mar;32(1):31-39. PMID: 30927973  
  • Other



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