Researcher | Research Overview
Welcome to the Italiano Lab. Our research uses cell and molecular biology methods to address problems in megakaryocyte and platelet biology. The lab’s research focuses primarily on how blood platelets, which function as the band-aids of the bloodstream, are produced from megakaryocyte precursor cells. Specifically, the lab uses mouse megakaryocyte and human culture systems to study platelet production in vitro. Our primary methods include fluorescence microscopy, live cell imaging, molecular biology, biochemistry, electron microscopy, bioengineering, and knockout mice. Where possible, we attempt to study the dynamics of proteins in living megakaryocytes or reconstitute cellular process with cell extracts. Our lab has demonstrated that platelet formation follows a defined set of morphogenetic shape changes driven by forces derived from both microtubules and actin filaments. Current focuses include understanding the molecular signals that trigger platelet production, using biologically inspired engineering to establish how the bone marrow microenvironment influences platelet production, understanding how the cytoskeleton powers platelet production. We also have a major interest in understanding the non-hemostatic roles of platelets in health and disease. This includes establishing how platelets regulate new blood vessel growth, immunity, cancer, wound healing, and potentially aging..
Researcher | Research Background
Joseph Italiano is an Associate Professor who holds academic appointments at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He was awarded his Ph.D. in Cell Biology from Florida State University, under the supervision of Thomas Roberts. His thesis focused on how filament assembly and bundling contribute towards cell crawling in amoeboid sperm of Ascaris. Since then, Dr. Italiano transitioned into hematology-based research with John Hartwig at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he first began studying the cytoskeletal mechanisms of blood platelet formation, which remains a focus of his work as a Principal Investigator at the Boston Children's Hospital