Craig Morrell, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Craig Morrell, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Contact Information

Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute
601 Elmwood Avenue
Rochester, NY 14642

Fax: (585) 276-1530
Office: (585) 276-7693
Lab: (585) 276-7722
Administrative: (585) 276-7698

Lab Information

Craig Morrell Research Lab

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Professional Bio

Dr. Morrell earned his undergraduate degree from Brown University in 1995. He then graduated from Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2000 before beginning a comparative pathology fellowship at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. While at Hopkins Dr. Morrell concurrently completed a PhD in the laboratory of Dr. Charles Lowenstein in 2005 where he investigated molecular mechanisms of nitric oxide inhibition of platelet degranulation and received a K08 award. Dr. Morrell then established his own independent laboratory in the Department of Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology at Hopkins from 2005-2009, before moving to the University of Rochester's Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute.

His current research interests include mechanisms of glutamate regulation of platelet activation and how platelets modulate and drive the immune response using transplant rejection and cerebral malaria models.

Research Bio

Platelets have two major functions: hemostastis/thrombosis and an immune regulatory function. In our lab we actively study both important platelet functions.

Pathways of Platelet Activation and Thrombosis: We have discovered that platelets express ionotropic glutamate receptors including the AMPA and KA receptors. When stimulated platelets release glutamate that can mediate membrane depolarization, increase GPCR signaling, and thus make platelet activation and thrombosis more efficient. We have also recently discovered that platelet glutamate receptor signaling drives COX activation and the elaboration of thromboxane, contributing to a pro-thrombotic and pro-inflammatory vascular environment. This work was published in JEM and Circulation Research. Based on these finding we have a R01 award to better defining glutamate mediated pathways of platelet activation. We are also in the initial stages of establishing a small clinical study to investigate the use of glutamate receptor antagonists as anti-thrombotic agents.

Immune Regulatory Role of Platelets: Platelets have an important immune regulatory role that is not well defined. We have two main projects related to this key platelet function; the role of platelets in transplant rejection and the pathogenesis of cerebral malaria.
We have established a skin transplant model to study platelet interactions with endothelial cells and leukocytes in transplant rejection. We have found that platelets accelerate vascular damage and leukocyte trafficking across transplant endothelium in response to alloantibody that was published in Circulation Research. This work is funded by a R01 award and is being expanded to more closely examine platelet interactions with T-cells and the role of platelet derived chemokines in transplant rejection.
Our lab is also actively studying the role of platelets in cerebral malaria. Cerebral malaria is a complication of severe malaria, primarily in children, that has a vascular inflammation based pathogenesis. Using the mouse model we have established an important role for platelets and the platelet derived chemokine Platelet Factor 4 (PF4/CXCL4) in the development of experimental cerebral malaria. We are now dissecting the molecular signaling events between platelets and monocytes that promote the cerebral immune response. We are also exploring the role of platelets in stimulating the acute phase response very early in infection and how this may assist in clearing infected red blood cells.

Awards & Honors (Local)

Kenneth M. Brinkous Young Investigators Prize in Thrombosis Research | Atherosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular 2008
Deans Gift, A monetary research award given to new investigators of outstanding potential | The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine 2006
Travel Scholarship | American Society of Clinical Investigation Annual Meeting 2005
Travel Scholarship | Keystone Symposia, Cellular Biology of Atherosclerosis 2005
Young Investigator Award, Basic Science | Johns Hopkins Department of Pathology Young Investigators Day 2004
Cheif Fellow, Comparative Pathology | Johns Hopkins University Department of Comparatrive Medicine 2003 - 2004
Young Investigators Award, First Place, Experimental Disease | American College of Veterinary Pathologists Annual Meeting 2003
Pathology Award-Excellence in Pathology | Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine 2000

Recent Journal Articles

Showing the 5 most recent journal articles. 21 available »

2009 Sep 11
Sun H, Swaim A, Herrera JE, Becker D, Becker L, Srivastava K, Thompson LE, Shero MR, Perez-Tamayo A, Suktitpat B, Mathias R, Contractor A, Faraday N, Morrell CN. "Platelet kainate receptor signaling promotes thrombosis by stimulating cyclooxygenase activation." Circulation research. 2009 Sep 11; 105(6):595-603. Epub 2009 Aug 13.
2009 Mar 10
Jeong Y, Chaupin DF, Matsushita K, Yamakuchi M, Cameron SJ, Morrell CN, Lowenstein CJ. "Aldosterone activates endothelial exocytosis." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2009 Mar 10; 106(10):3782-7. Epub 2009 Feb 17.
Steele, B.M.; Harper, M.T.; Macaulaya, I.C.; Morrell, C.N.; Perez-Tamayo, A.; Foya, M.; Habas, R.; Poole, A.W.; Fitzgerald, D.W.; Maguire, P.B. "Canonical Wnt signaling negatively regulates platelet function". Proceedings National Academy of Science. 2009; 106(47): 19836-19841.
Shi, C.; Parker, AR.; Hua, L.; Morrell, CN.; Lee, SC.; Bandaru, V.; Dumler, JS.; Wu, TC.; Eshleman, JR. "Anti-gene padlocks eliminate Escherichia coli based on their genotype." Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. 2008; 61(2): 262-272.
Morrell, CN.; Sun, H.; Mason, EA.; Martin, TV.; Swaim, AM.; Gozen, O.; Beique, JC.; Ampagoomian, D.; Sprengel, R.; Rothstein, JD.; Faraday, N.; Huganir, RL.; Lowenstein, CJ. "Glutamate Mediates Through the AMPA Receptor". Journal of Experimental Medicine. 2008; 205(3): 575-584.

Current Appointments

Associate Professor - Department of Medicine, Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute (SMD) - Primary


PhD | Pathobiology | The Johns Hopkins U Sch Medicine2005
DVM | Veterinary Medicine | Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine2000
Sc.B | Biology | Brown University1995

Post-Doctoral Training & Residency

Department of Comparative Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 2005
Department of Pathology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 2005