2023 Sol Sherry Distinguished Lecturer - Joseph E. Italiano, Jr., PhD

Joseph Italiano

Joseph E. Italiano, Jr., PhD

Boston’s Children Hospital
Boston, MA


Joseph Italiano is an Associate Professor who holds academic appointments in the Vascular Biology Program at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He was awarded his PhD in Cell Biology in 1997 from Florida State University under the supervision of Thomas Roberts. His thesis focused on how filament assembly and bundling contribute to cell crawling in amoeboid sperm of Ascaris. Dr. Italiano transitioned into postdoctoral hematology-based research with John Hartwig at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he first began studying the cytoskeletal mechanisms of blood platelet formation, which remains a focus of his work as a Principal Investigator at Boston Children's Hospital.

The major objective of Dr. Italiano’s laboratory is to elucidate mechanisms of platelet production and platelet functions beyond hemostasis and thereby help develop treatments for thrombocytopenia and platelet-associated diseases.

One of his major achievements is the discovery of novel cytoskeletal mechanisms by which blood platelets are produced. Using live-cell video microscopy, he demonstrated that megakaryocytes produce platelets through intermediate extensions known as proplatelets. In addition, he has defined the cytoskeletal-based mechanisms by which platelets are formed, establishing roles for microtubules, actin filaments, septins, as well as the membrane skeleton. In addition to platelet production, his lab has focused on defining mechanisms by which several drugs cause thrombocytopenia and on the functions of platelets related to cancer, immunity and angiogenesis.

Dr. Italiano's research has also involved translating new megakaryocyte biology into medicine, including co-founding two biotechnology companies, Platelet Biogenesis (now Stellular Bio) and Spry Bio.