Versiti - Karen Sue Carlson, MD, PhD | Versiti Blood Research Institute

Karen-Sue Carlson, MD, PhD

Karen Sue Karen Sue profile

Karen Sue Carlson, MD, PhD

Associate Investigator (adjunct)

Stem Cell Biology

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

Associate Investigator (adjunct)
Blood Research Institute Versiti


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

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.

Schwann Cells in Hematopoiesis (R03 HL155174-01)
Source:                       NHLBI
Role:                           Principal Investigator
Dates:                         12/1/2020 – 11/30/2022
Direct Funds:              $100,000 (total for two years)

Leukemia Research
Source:                       Paulette Kroll Leukemia Research Fund (MCW)
Role:                           Principal Investigator
Dates:                         6/13/2019 ongoing
Direct Funds:              $4,885.00

Neural Regulation of AML
Source:                       Scott Garrett Leukemia Research Foundation (Froedtert Hospital)
Role:                           Principal Investigator
Dates:                         12/10/ 2019 – 12/31/2020
Direct Funds:              $88,000 (total for 1 years)


Bone Marrow Failure in Mice Deficient for the Extracellular Matrix Component, Laminin-gamma1 (1K08HL127187)
Source:                       NIH
Role:                           Principal Investigator
Dates:                         4/1/ 2015 – 3/31/2020

Kristin Komnick
Research Technologist I

Link to Full List of Publications (MyNCBI)


  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. PMID: 12228252
  2. Mallik A, Carlson KB, DeSancho MT.  A Patient with “Spontaneous” Heparin-induced Thrombocytopenia and Thrombosis after Undergoing Knee Replacement. Blood Coagul
    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. Leuk 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. Ann Clin Trans Neurol. 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 PN, Atallah E, Carlson K-SB, Pasquini MC, Michaelis LC. Safety of Ruxolitinib Therapy Prior to Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation for Myeloproliferative Neoplasms. Bone Marrow Transplant. 2016 Apr;51(4):617-8. PMID: 26726940
  8. Carlson K-SB, Nguyen L, Schwartz K, Lawrence DA, Schwartz BS.  Neuroserpin Differentiates Between Forms of Tissue Type plasminogen Activator via pH Dependent Deacylation. Front
    Cell Neurosci. 2016 Jun;10:154. PMID: 27378851
  9. van Mens TE, Liang H-PH, Basu S, Hernandez I, Zogg M, May J, Zhan M, Yang Q, Foeckler J, Kalloway S, Sood R, Carlson KS, Weiler H. Variable phenotypic penetrance of thrombosis in adult mice after tissue-selective and temporally controlled Thbd gene inactivation.  Blood Adv. 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. Recipient Immune-Modulation with Atorvastatin for Acute Graft-Versus-Host Disease Prophylaxis Following Allogeneic Transplantation. Biol 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 Haematol. 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 Adv. 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.  Nat Commun.  2019 Sep 2;10(1):3931. PMID: 31477722
  15. Fields B, DeLaForest A, Zogg M, May J, Hagen C, Komnick K, Wieser J, Lundberg A, Weiler H, Battle M, Carlson KThe Adult Murine Intestine is Dependent on Constitutive Laminin-γ1 Synthesis. Sci Rep. 2019 Dec 17;9(1):19303. PMID: 31848396
  16. 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. J Thromb Haemost. 2020 Jan;18(1):123-135. PMID: 31628891
  17. Wang W, Auer P, Zhang T, Spellman S, Carlson K, Nazha A, Bolon Y-T, Saber W. Impact of Epigenomic Hypermethylation at TP53 on Allogenic Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation Outcomes for Myelodysplastic Syndromes. Transplant Cell Ther. 2021 Aug; 27(8):659.e1. PMID: 33992829
  18. Khan M, Roddy JT, Hernandez JR, Bursch K, Bal N, Carlson KS, Bergl PA. Revisiting biochemisty: severe euglycemic ketoacidosis in the setting of IDH-inhibitor therapy for AML. Br J Haematol. 2021 Jun 7. Online ahead of print. PMID: 34101165.
  19. Dhakal B, Wang T, Kuxhausen M, Zhu F, Taylor C, Spellman SR, Verneris MR, Hsu K, Fleischhauer K, Lee SJ, Bolon Y-T, Carlson KS, Nazha A, Saber W. Prognostic impact of serum CXC chemokine ligands 4 and 7 on myelodysplastic syndromes post allogenic hematopoietic cell trasplant. Leuk Lymphoma. 2021 Jan; 62(1): 229. PMID: 32924688.


  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  
  8. Carlson KS-B, Morris J, Cross LP, Rao S. (2021) Stem Cell Biology in Bone Marrow Transplantation. In: Chandy M., Radhakrishnan V.S., Sukumaran R. (eds) Contemporary Bone Marrow Transplantation. Organ and Tissue Transplantation. Springer, Cham.
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