About the Branch
The Molecular Medicine Branch primarily conducts research on fundamental mechanisms related to the nitrate/nitrite/NO pathways in humans and animal models and to the function of erythropoietin.
For many years, the primary focus of our research has been on the genetic diseases of hemoglobin, including sickle cell anemia and thalassemia. More recently, the Branch has broadened its research to include other diseases of the erythroid lineage, as well as a variety of vascular conditions in which regulation of blood flow via NO and other signaling molecules could have important therapeutic consequences. Most of the work is laboratory-based, but Branch members are also active investigators in several clinical protocols. Such clinical studies are paired with matching laboratory programs and relate to a number of areas, including: (1) understanding factors affecting sickle hemoglobin polymerization, (2) studying the importance of nitrite and nitrate reduction in blood clotting and muscle blood flow, (3) analyzing the effects of erythropoietin and other signaling molecules in erythroid and non-erythroid cells, including how these processes affect glucose metabolism and obesity and, most recently, (4) determining the mechanism by which NO is generated in the eye by the reductive pathways to affect various functions including retinal blood and intra-ocular fluid flow.
The purpose of our research is to improve nutritional concepts and to develop therapies for one or more human diseases.
Our research will help the public by improving medical understanding and therapies.