Dr. Nieman is a Professor of Pharmacology and Vice Dean for Graduate Education at Case Western Reserve University, School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Nieman’s research program seeks to define the assembly of receptor complexes and determine how they work together at the molecular level to mediate physiological responses. Since 2007, his laboratory has focused on identifying the key factors that determine the efficiency of thrombin signaling through protease activated receptor 4 (PAR4) on platelets and other cells. Dr. Nieman’s lab has used a range of approaches from biochemistry and structural biology to mouse models to address these questions.
Initial studies determined the molecular interactions between PAR4 and thrombin and how they influence the kinetics of PAR4 cleavage. These were followed by cell biology studies aimed to determine how PAR1 enhances the rate of PAR4 cleavage by thrombin and that PAR1-PAR4 heterodimers are required for this PAR1-assisted PAR4 cleavage. Most recently, his lab has used structural mass spectrometry to identify the ligand binding site and an essential role for ECL3 in PAR4 activation. This connected a polymorphism in ECL3, P310L, to reduced PAR4 signaling and a 15% relative risk reduction in venous thromboembolism (VTE) for individuals carrying the Leu allele.
Dr. Nieman has held leadership positions in both scientific and education-based committees for ASPET Division of Pharmacology Education, the American Heart Association, and American Society for Hematology. He has served on grant review study sections for the American Heart Association and the NIH. Dr. Nieman’s path has been indirect and non-traditional, which has impacted his approach to building his research program and his own career development. He brings this unique perspective to both mentoring and maintaining his national and international collaborations in research and graduate education curriculum development.