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Erica Sparkenbaugh, PhD

Assistant Professor

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology

Specialty Areas

Mouse models of sickle cell disease, drug-induced liver injury, and endotoxemia. 

Education and Experience

BS Cum Laude: Allegheny College, 2005PhD (Pharmacology and Toxicology): Michigan State University, 2011Postdoctoral Fellowship: University of North Carolina, 2011-2016Research Associate: University of North Carolina, 2016-2019; Assistant Professor of Medicine: University of North Carolina 2019-present. 

Research and Clinical Interests

The broad goal in my laboratory is to investigate crosstalk between coagulation and inflammation in animal models of disease. My primary interest is sickle cell disease, a blood disorder caused by a hemoglobin mutation that results in sickling of red blood cells. The primary complications of sickle cell disease are anemia and vaso-occlusive crisis (VOC), as well as chronic inflammation and coagulation activation. VOC is caused by the formation of multicellular aggregates between neutrophils, platelets, sickle red blood cells and the endothelium that is due, in part, to thrombin-dependent activation of protease activated receptor 1 (PAR-1).  We are currently investigating how biased agonism of PAR1 with activated protein C (APC) can beneficially influence vaso-occlusive crisis and other pathologies in sickle cell disease. We use a variety of tools, such as transgenic mice, clinically relevant pharmacologic inhibitors, and molecular and cellular biology techniques to study the role of coagulation proteases and protease activated receptors in health and disease.

Selected Bibliography

Sparkenbaugh EM, Chen C, Brzoska T, Nguyen J, Wang S, Vercellotti G, Key NS, Sundd P, Belcher J, and Palwinski R. Thrombin-mediated activation of PAR-1 contributes to microvascular stasis in mouse models of sickle cell disease. Blood. 2020. DOI: 10.1182/bloo,2019003543. 

Sparkenbaugh EM, Chantrathammachart P, Chandarajoti K, Mackman N, Key NS, and Pawlinski R. Blood. 127(10): 1371. 2016. 

Sparkenbaugh EM, Chantrathammachart P, Mickelson J, van Ryn J, Hebbell R, Monroe DM, Mackman N, Key NS, Pawlinski R. Blood. 123(11): 1747. 2014. 

View Publications

Erica Sparkenbaugh, PhD