Vascular Biology Center Core Faculty

 Julia E. Brittain, PhD.

Julia E. Brittain, PhD.

Professor of Cell Biology & Anatomy

Phone: (706) 721-4874
Fax: (706) 721-9799
Office: CB-3210B / Lab: CB-3307

Research Interests

Our lab focuses on understanding the role of the red blood cell in vascular pathology.

To this end, a large part of the laboratory’s efforts are directed at understanding and targeting the pathology associated with sickle cell disease (SCD). In SCD, mutated hemoglobin causes red blood cells to deform and to become very fragile. The red blood cells from patients with sickle cell disease are also adhesive and will adhere to factors that line blood vessels. This adhesion likely contributes to, if not outright causes, the vaso-occlusive pain that patients with sickle cell disease experience. Brittain Lab 

We currently have project ongoing to understand the role of very immature red blood cells and their role in vaso-occlusion and inflammation in patients with sickle cell disease.   We believe that these immature red blood cells are likely among one of many activators of monocytes in patients. This activation leads to increased inflammation, both chronic and acute.

We also hypothesize that the red blood cell plays a significant role in morbidity and mortality in patients in renal failure on dialysis. A large study is underway in the lab beginning to understand this role, and how it influence graft failure in the patients.

Overall, we believe that red blood cells are underappreciated contributors to impaired blood flow, white blood cell activation and inflammation in a host of human disease. My lab works to appreciate those roles.

Post-doctoral fellowship inquiries are being accepted. Please send CV to

Active Grant Support

5 R01 DK093734-01 (Brittain, J)
“Red Blood Cell Pathology In Hemodialysis”
Major Goal(s):  The goal of this study is to elucidate the role of RBC adhesion and phosphatidylserine exposure in the cardiovascular complications of hemodialysis patients.
04/01/12 – 03/31/2017
$217,500 Annual Direct Costs
Role:  Principal Investigator

5 R21 HL1026350-02 (Brittain, J)
“A Novel Mechanism of Coagulation in Sickle Cell Disease”
Major Goal(s): The goal of this study is to investigate how the stress reticulocyte influences monocyte tissue factor expression in sickle cell disease.
01/10/2011 – 12/31/2013
$125,000 Direct Costs (year 2)
Role:  Principal Investigator


Journal Articles
PubMed search for Brittain JE