Department of Biological Sciences

Dodge Hall Rm 375
118 Library Dr
Rochester, MI 48309-4479
(location map)
(248) 370-3550
fax: (248) 370-4225

Westrick

Randal Westrick 

Randal J. Westrick
Assistant Professor, Ph.D.
305 DH
(248) 370-3577
Lab location: 304 DH & 307 DH
Lab phone (248) 370-4243
rjwestrick@oakland.edu 

Courses:

  •  BIO 3400 Genetics
  •  BIO 7010 Biological and Biomedical Scientific Communication

Genetics of cardiovascular disease

Research in Professor Westrick’s laboratory focuses on one of the most important medical issues spanning the fields of cardiology, hematology/oncology and vascular biology: understanding and preventing the development of pathologic intravascular blood clot formation (also known as thrombosis). Diseases resulting in thrombosis are responsible for approximately 40% of deaths in the United States. Although susceptibility to thrombosis is estimated to be 60% heritable, at least two thirds of the genetic risk for both venous and arterial thrombosis remains to be elucidated. Professor Westrick’s lab uses mouse models and Next Gen sequencing approaches to identify and study the genetic determinants of thrombosis susceptibility. This includes whole genome high throughput screening approaches as well as the development of new transgenic mice by conventional approaches or by TALENs (Transcription Activator-like Effector Nucleases)/CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats)

The current focus is on characterizing genes isolated from a sensitized whole genome ENU mutagenesis screen for thrombosis in the mouse. His work recently identified a missense mutation in Actr2 that acts as a thrombosis suppressor. Actr2 encodes a major component of the ARP2/3 complex, which is involved in the control of cell shape and the generation of lamellipodia that are central to platelet attachment and spreading, and suggests that alterations in platelet cytoskeletal function may be protective in the setting of severe thrombosis. Mutants from 7 additional suppressors are also being identified and studied.

Current Research Support

  • National Institutes of Health NIH R15: Identification of the genetic regulators of Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor-1. Grant number: 1R15HL133907

  • American Heart Association Innovative Research Grant: Mouse ENU mutagenesis screen for atherothrombosis modifier genes. Grant Number: 17IRG33460238

  • National Institutes of Health NIH R01: Thrombosuppressive mechanisms of an ARP2 mutant discovered through a mouse ENU mutagenesis screen. Grant number: 1R01HL135035

  • National Institutes of Health NIH R01: Characterization of an isoform specific anticoagulant function of TFPI-alpha. Grant number: R01HL068835

  • AHA-OU Summer Undergraduate Research Program. Grant Number: 19UFEL34450138

Selected Publications

Westrick, R.J., K. Tomberg, E.N. Kotnik, A.C. Cleuren, D.R. Siemieniak, G. Zhu, T.L. Saunders and D. Ginsburg. (2018). Whole exome sequencing of ENU-induced thrombosis modifier mutations in the mouse. PLoS Genetics. 14(9):e1007658.

Westrick, R.J., K. Tomberg, A.E. Siebert, G. Zhu, M.E. Winn, S.L. Dobies, S.L. Manning SL, M.A. Brake, A.C. Cleuren, L.M. Hobbs, L.M. Mishack, A.J. Johnston, E. Kotnik, D.R. Siemieniak, J. Xu, J.Z. Li, T.L. Saunders, D. Ginsburg. (2017). Sensitized mutagenesis screen in Factor V Leiden mice identifies thrombosis suppressor loci. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 114(36):9659-9664.

Westrick, R.J., K. Tomberg, R. Khoriaty, H.E. Fairfield, L.G. Reinholdt, G.L. Brodsky, P. Davizon-Castillo, D. Ginsburg and J. Di Paola. (2016). Spontaneous 8bp deletion in Nbeal2 recapitulates the gray platelet syndrome in mice. PloS One 11:0150852.

Westrick, R.J. and B.J. van Vlijmen. (2016). Backseat drivers: passenger mutations take control of experimental phenotypes. Journal of Thrombosis and Nemostasis 14(8):1615-7.