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Karin M. Hoffmeister, MD
Associate Biologist, Brigham and Women's Hospital
Lecturer on Medicine, Part-time, Harvard Medical School

Brigham and Women's Hospital
Department of Medicine
Translational Medicine
75 Francis Street
Boston, MA 02115

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Research Narrative:

Karin Hoffmeister received her M.D. from RWTH Aachen University, Germany. She was a resident and research fellow in Internal Medicine/Cardiology at RWTH Aachen University. Karin Hoffmeister has trained as a postdoctoral fellow at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Her awards and honors include the 2003 American Heart Association Scientist Development Award; the 2004 Brigham and Women’s Hospital Young Investigator In Medicine Award (William Randolph Hearst Foundation); the 2005 Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical sciences Award. She is also the recipient of the 2007/08 Harvard Medical School Young Mentor Award and the 2007 AMA-WPC Physician Mentor Recognition Program Award. Her research is funded by the NIH.

Platelets are specialized subcellular fragments generated by megakaryocytes. They are essential for hemostasis and wound healing. However, very little is known on how platelet homeostasis is regulated and maintained. The general theme of our research is to better understand the role of carbohydrates in platelet function, survival and interaction with other blood cells. Glycan biosynthesis in nucleated cells is a highly regulated process involving several hundred glycosyltransferases. Correct glycan biosynthesis depends on the correct architecture and topology of the ER and Golgi apparatus. During maturation, differentiation and inflammation programmed remodeling of cell surface glycans takes place by the regulated expression of specific glycosyltransferases to regulate different biological processes.

  • We characterize Golgi glycosyltransferase enzymes expressed in platelets, their possible extracellular targets and their delivery mechanism(s) from megakaryocytes to platelets. We also investigate the role of extracellular platelet glycan remodeling in platelet survival, function and interaction between platelets and/or with other blood cells.
  • We study platelet clearance mechanisms, with focus on carbohydrate-lectin mediated platelet clearance.

Technical University of Aachen, 1993, MD