Morrissey Lab, University of Michigan

Morrissey Lab

Latest News

  • 1/2024 Congratulations to Josepha for receiving the  Aminoff Endowment award from the UMich Biological Chemistry department!
  • 9/2023 Congratulations to Josepha for receiving the  Anthony and Lillian Lu Award from the UMich Biological Chemistry department!
  • 5/2023 Josepha was awarded the JTH Editor’s award for her paper “Antithrombotic potential of a single-domain antibody enhancing the activated protein C-cofactor activity of protein S”
  • 2/2023 Jim was selected as a finalist for Science2Startup and will be participating in the symposium in May
  • 10/2022 Josepha received the 2022 Biological Sciences Thesis Prize from the National Academy of Pharmacy of France
  • 3/2022 Fabienne defended her thesis and was awarded her PhD and is ready to start her job at ClearView Healthcare Partners

Click here to see more news from the Morrissey Lab

About the Lab

The research conducted in our laboratory focuses on understanding how cells regulate blood clotting in health and disease. The blood clotting system is activated when an enzyme (a specific plasma serine protease known as factor VIIa) binds to a particular integral membrane protein (known as tissue factor, or TF) on cell surfaces. The TF-VIIa-membrane complex triggers the blood clotting cascade by activating two plasma serine protease zymogens (factor IX and factor X) via limited proteolysis.

Thrombosis is the formation of unwanted blood clots inside arteries and veins, which represents the leading cause of disability and death in the world. Tissue factor is the protein that triggers thrombosis in many–possibly most–disease settings. For this reason, it is critically important to understand how the initiation of coagulation is controlled via tissue factor and factor VIIa.

Our studies are funded by research grants from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute,the American Heart Association and other funding agencies.

We are currently focusing on the following research questions:

  • How do the serine proteases of the blood clotting system assemble together with specific regulatory proteins on cell surfaces and other membrane surfaces?
  • Why are membranes required for efficient proteolysis by these enzymes? What role do specific phospholipid types play in modulating the activity of blood clotting proteases?
  • We recently discovered that inorganic polyphosphate secreted from activated platelets is a potent modulator of blood clotting and fibrinolysis. What’s the mechanism by which polyphosphate does this?
  • As a spinoff from this basic research, we are also working to develop:
    • Improved diagnostic tests for identifying persons at risk of thrombotic disease.
    • Improved hemostatic agents to treat bleeding, including traumatic and surgical bleeding3