Ion transport across biological membranes plays a crucial role in several physiological and pathological processes. My research has been focused on the study of the transport systems mediating transport of Na and K across the membrane of erythrocytes. My studies have addressed the issue of how these transporters induce cellular dehydration in sickle cell disease and whether we can use the knowledge gained from the study of these systems to develop new therapeutic approaches for sickle cell anemia. This approach is relevant to the pathogenesis and potential therapy of this disease because it is known that dehydration of sickle erythrocytes promotes sickling and may have a major role in the vascular complications of this disease.
My clinical laboratory-based research has been focused on the use of hematological parameters to assess the balance between iron availability and erythropoiesis. We have described the appearance of functional iron deficiency in normal subjects treated with recombinant human erythropoietin (r-HuEPO) based on the particular flow cytometric characteristics of erythrocytes and reticulocytes. We have shown the clinical value of reticulocyte parameters in the setting of r-HuEPO use and in the diagnosis of iron deficiency in children.