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Joel L. Moake

Joel MoakeSenior Research Scientist and
Associate Director, J.W. Cox Laboratory for Biomedical Engineering, Rice University
Professor of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine

Moake Laboratory

M.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (1967)
B.A., Johns Hopkins University (1964)

Bio Sketch

Dr. Joel Moake specializes in fundamental studies of platelet function. His group was the first to describe basic mechanisms of platelet adhesion and aggregation under high shear stress; systemic platelet aggregation in the most extreme platelet clumping disorder, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP); and renal platelet thrombosis in a common cause of acute kidney failure, the hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS).

Dr. Moake’s laboratories focus on the molecular events associated with TTP and HUS —especially, the interaction between the adhesive multimeric protein, von Willebrand factor (VWF), and the VWFcleaving metalloprotease enzyme, ADAMTS-13. His long-term goal is to translate basic research observations obtained in the study of these severe, paradigm platelet clumping disorders into the development of novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of common, localized thrombotic processes that are characteristic of heart attacks and strokes.

In recognition of his research accomplishments, Dr. Moake is an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. He has been listed in Best Doctors in America from 1995 to present day, and is one of a small number of physician-members of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Research Statement

Working in collaboration with colleagues from the Texas Medical Center, Dr. Moake has shown that flow conditions play an important role in determining platelet reactions. The shear stress field associated with flow in blood vessels can lead to stimulation, functional alterations, and lysis of platelets. Also, it is clear that both the rates and the extent of response of platelets to various agonists depend heavily on the shear field. Thus, studies in carefully controlled, known shear fields are particularly significant in elucidating the mechanics and kinetics of platelet reactions.

Dr. Moake's Laboratory has developed several controlled-shear reactors for studying platelet reactions. A rotational viscometer is fitted with fiber-optic probes that make it possible to monitor optical events indicative of platelet aggregation, secretion, and increase in intracellular calcium ion concentrations. Studies in these reactors use a variety of specific inhibitors and pathologic platelets with specific deficiencies to elucidate the mechanisms of platelet reactions. One long-term result of the work will be the development of improved anti-thrombotic agents.