Bruce Alan Sullenger headshot
Principal Investigator
Joseph W. and Dorothy W. Beard Distinguished Professor of Experimental Surgery
Professor in Surgery
Director of the Duke Center for Translational Research
Professor of Cell Biology
Professor of Neurosurgery
Professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology
Member of the Duke Cancer Institute
Contact Information

Office: 421 Medical Sciences Building Durham, NC 27710

Phone: 919-684-6375


The Cardiovascular Biology Laboratory, under the direction of Bruce Sullenger, is focused on multidisciplinary translational research approaches to the study of blood coagulation, inflammation, and atherogenesis at the molecular level. Novel anti-coagulation approaches developed within the program are presently undergoing pre-clinical and clinical evaluation. Ongoing studies are aimed at exploring molecular therapeutic approaches in the treatment of cardiovascular disease.

The lab strives to develop novel, safe, and effective nucleic acid therapeutics. The lab currently focuses on two areas:

RNA and DNA Repair by Targeted Trans-Splicing

  • RNA repair: Using spliceosome-mediated or group I ribozyme-directed approaches
  • DNA repair: Using the group II mobile intron 

Goals for each approach

  • Evaluate and enhance activity in mammalian cell lines, primary cells, and animal models
  • Apply to clinically relevant targets such as beta-globin (sickle cell anemia, beta-thalassemia), p53 (cancer), mitochondrial genome (certain muscular/neurologic conditions), CCR5 (HIV)
  • Uncover factors influencing trans-splicing and reactions specific to the group II mobile intron 
Illustration of spliceosome-directed therapeutic RNA trans-splicing


Illustration of ribozyme-directed therapeutic RNA trans-splicing

RNA Ligands To Block or Alter Target Protein Functions

  • In-vitro selection and combinatorial chemistry
  • Cell cycle modulator
  • Immune response modulator
  • Anticoagulation
  • For targeted delivery of siRNAs

The SELEX Process

Illustration of the SELEX process

Publications and Funded Projects

View Dr. Sullenger's profile to see his publications and funded projects.

Lab Members

Jens Lohrmann, MD

David Boczkowski, MS
Associate in Research

Kristin Bompiani
Graduate Student

Angela Burnette

Jonathan Kotula
Graduate Student

Jun-ichi Nishimura, MD, PhD

Elizabeth Pratico, PhD
Post-doctoral fellow

Parth Ray, PhD
Post-doctoral fellow

Jacoba (Coby) Slagter-Jager, PhD
Post-doctoral Fellow

Becky Smock
Graduate Student

David Snyder
Laboratory Research Analyst

Johannes Urban, PhD
Post-doctoral fellow

Kristi Viles, PhD
Post-doctoral Fellow
Phone: 919-684-4864

Jialiang Wayg, PhD
Post-doctoral fellow

Jianxin Zhang, MD

Support Staff

  • Judy Hall
  • Recia Higgins
  • Phil Mitchell