Department of Biological Sciences

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


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



  •          BIO 340 Genetics
  •          BIO 341 Genetics Laboratory
  •          BIO 673 Biological Communiction II

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.

Selected Publications:

Westrick RJ, Mohlke KL, Korepta LM, Yang AY, Zhu G, Manning SL, Dougherty KM and Ginsburg D. (2010) A spontaneous Irs1 passenger mutation linked to a gene- targeted SerpinB2 allele. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 107: 16904-9.

Westrick RJ, Ginsburg D. (2009) Modifier genes for disorders of thrombosis and hemostasis.  Journal of Thrombosis and Hemostasis. 7 Suppl 1: 132-5.

Westrick RJ, Winn ME, Eitzman DT. (2007)  Murine models of vascular thrombosis.  Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular  Biology  27: 2079-93.