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Thomas D Coates, MD
Professor of Pediatrics
Section Head of Hematology
Director of Sickle/Hemoglobinopathy Program
CHL Mail Stop 54 Off Campus Los Angeles
+1 323 361 2352


I primarily work in two areas of basic and translational research: 1) the role of inflammation in the genesis of vascular disease in sickle cell disease; 2) the detection and management of transfusion related iron overload. Our research employs various engineering-intensive methodologies (MRI, laser Doppler flow, digital image analysis, signal processing) to explore the basic mechanisms of sickle cell disease and to measure the effect of various treatment modalities. We use direct measures of microvascular blood flow to monitor the process of vasoocclusion and relate it to simultaneous measures of autonomic nervous system function. These methodologies translate in measurements that can be used to follow patients clinically. In collaboration with members of the Cardiology, Pulmonology, and Radiology Departments at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Physiology/Biophysics at the Keck School of Medicine, we devised methods to measure the sickling process in human sickle cell subjects and relate these measurements to clinical factors that modulate disease severity.


Shout-It-Now: A Mobile HCT Model Employing Technology and Edutainment in South Africa. J Int Assoc Provid AIDS Care. 2017 Sep/Oct; 16(5):506-511. View in: PubMed

Graph Lasso-Based Test for Evaluating Functional Brain Connectivity in Sickle Cell Disease. Brain Connect. 2017 Sep; 7(7):443-453. View in: PubMed

Individuals with sickle cell disease have a significantly greater vasoconstriction response to thermal pain than controls and have significant vasoconstriction in response to anticipation of pain. Am J Hematol. 2017 Jul 13. View in: PubMed

Ultra-short echo time images quantify high liver iron. Magn Reson Med. 2017 Jun 22. View in: PubMed

Emergency department utilization by Californians with sickle cell disease, 2005-2014. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2017 Jun; 64(6). View in: PubMed

How we manage iron overload in sickle cell patients. Br J Haematol. 2017 Jun; 177(5):703-716. View in: PubMed

Empirical model of human blood transverse relaxation at 3?T improves MRI T2 oximetry. Magn Reson Med. 2017 Jun; 77(6):2364-2371. View in: PubMed

Learning to Live With HIV in the Rural Townships: A Photovoice Study of Men Who Have Sex With Men Living With HIV in Mpumalanga, South Africa. J Assoc Nurses AIDS Care. 2017 May - Jun; 28(3):408-421. View in: PubMed

Transplantation in thalassemia: Revisiting the Pesaro risk factors 25 years later. Am J Hematol. 2017 May; 92(5):411-413. View in: PubMed

The effect of hypnosis on pain and peripheral blood flow in sickle-cell disease: a pilot study. J Pain Res. 2017; 10:1635-1644. View in: PubMed

Hemoglobin and mean platelet volume predicts diffuse T1-MRI white matter volume decrease in sickle cell disease patients. Neuroimage Clin. 2017; 15:239-246. View in: PubMed

Biophysical markers of the peripheral vasoconstriction response to pain in sickle cell disease. PLoS One. 2017; 12(5):e0178353. View in: PubMed

Unchanneling cardiac iron in humans. Blood. 2016 Sep 22; 128(12):1538-40. View in: PubMed

Determinants of resting cerebral blood flow in sickle cell disease. Am J Hematol. 2016 Sep; 91(9):912-7. View in: PubMed

From Mosquitos to Humans: Genetic Evolution of Zika Virus. Cell Host Microbe. 2016 May 11; 19(5):561-5. View in: PubMed

Management of iron overload in hemoglobinopathies: what is the appropriate target iron level? Ann N Y Acad Sci. Management of iron overload in hemoglobinopathies: what is the appropriate target iron level? Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2016 Mar; 1368(1):95-106. View in: PubMed

Iron and oxidative stress in cardiomyopathy in thalassemia. Free Radic Biol Med. 2015 Nov; 88(Pt A):3-9. View in: PubMed

Early Cardiac Iron Overload in a Child on Treatment of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Pediatrics. 2015 Sep; 136(3):e697-700. View in: PubMed

Chronic transfusion therapy improves but does not normalize systemic and pulmonary vasculopathy in sickle cell disease. Blood. 2015 Aug 06; 126(6):703-10. View in: PubMed

Autonomic responses to cold face stimulation in sickle cell disease: a time-varying model analysis. Physiol Rep. 2015 Jul 14; 3(7). View in: PubMed

Iron toxicity and its possible association with treatment of Cancer: lessons from hemoglobinopathies and rare, transfusion-dependent anemias. Free Radic Biol Med. 2015 Feb; 79:343-51. View in: PubMed

A significant proportion of thalassemia major patients have adrenal insufficiency detectable on provocative testing. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2015 Jan; 37(1):54-9. View in: PubMed

Prediabetes, elevated iron and all-cause mortality: a cohort study. BMJ Open. 2014 Dec 11; 4(12):e006491. View in: PubMed

The impact of chelation therapy on survival in transfusional iron overload: a meta-analysis of myelodysplastic syndrome. Br J Haematol. 2014 Dec; 167(5):720-3. View in: PubMed

Population based surveillance in sickle cell disease: methods, findings and implications from the California registry and surveillance system in hemoglobinopathies project (RuSH). Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2014 Dec; 61(12):2271-6. View in: PubMed

Project HOPE: online social network changes in an HIV prevention randomized controlled trial for African American and Latino men who have sex with men. Am J Public Health. 2014 Sep; 104(9):1707-12. View in: PubMed

Variance of pain prevalence and associated severity during the transfusion cycle of adult thalassaemia patients. Br J Haematol. 2014 Sep; 166(5):797-800. View in: PubMed

Physiology and pathophysiology of iron in hemoglobin-associated diseases. Free Radic Biol Med. 2014 Jul; 72:23-40. View in: PubMed

Cardiac iron overload in sickle-cell disease. Am J Hematol. 2014 Jul; 89(7):678-83. View in: PubMed

Diagnosis and treatment of pediatric acquired aplastic anemia (AAA): an initial survey of the North American Pediatric Aplastic Anemia Consortium (NAPAAC). Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2014 May; 61(5):869-74. View in: PubMed

Transfusion complications in thalassemia patients: a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CME). Transfusion. 2014 Apr; 54(4):972-81; quiz 971. View in: PubMed

Ferritin trends do not predict changes in total body iron in patients with transfusional iron overload. Am J Hematol. 2014 Apr; 89(4):391-4. View in: PubMed

Moving the bar to the right place: positioning interventions in HIV prevention. AIDS Behav. 2014 Apr; 18(4):634-7. View in: PubMed

Bad liver and a broken heart. Blood. 2014 Mar 06; 123(10):1434-6. View in: PubMed

Effects of a community intervention on HIV prevention behaviors among men who experienced childhood sexual or physical abuse in four African settings: findings from NIMH Project Accept (HPTN 043). PLoS One. 2014; 9(6):e99643. View in: PubMed

Tissue iron evaluation in chronically transfused children shows significant levels of iron loading at a very young age. Am J Hematol. 2013 Nov; 88(11):E283-5. View in: PubMed

Mobile VCT: reaching men and young people in urban and rural South African pilot studies (NIMH Project Accept, HPTN 043). AIDS Behav. 2013 Nov; 17(9):2946-53. View in: PubMed

Social networking technologies as an emerging tool for HIV prevention: a cluster randomized trial. Ann Intern Med. 2013 Sep 03; 159(5):318-24. View in: PubMed

Abbreviated HIV counselling and testing and enhanced referral to care in Uganda: a factorial randomised controlled trial. Lancet Glob Health. 2013 Sep; 1(3):e137-45. View in: PubMed

Sexual risk and HIV prevention behaviours among African-American and Latino MSM social networking users. Int J STD AIDS. 2013 Aug; 24(8):643-9. View in: PubMed

ß-globin gene transfer to human bone marrow for sickle cell disease. J Clin Invest. 2013 Jul 01. View in: PubMed

Human T cell lymphotropic virus type 1 infection among U. S. thalassemia patients. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2013 Jul; 29(7):1006-9. View in: PubMed

Moderno love: sexual role-based identities and HIV/STI prevention among men who have sex with men in Lima, Peru. AIDS Behav. 2013 May; 17(4):1313-28. View in: PubMed

Patients with sickle cell anemia on simple chronic transfusion protocol show sex differences for hemodynamic and hematologic responses to transfusion. Transfusion. 2013 May; 53(5):1059-68. View in: PubMed

Systematic review of transition from adolescent to adult care in patients with sickle cell disease. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2013 Apr; 35(3):165-9. View in: PubMed

Pain in thalassaemia: the effects of age on pain frequency and severity. Br J Haematol. 2013 Mar; 160(5):680-7. View in: PubMed

Exercise performance in thalassemia major: correlation with cardiac iron burden. Am J Hematol. 2013 Mar; 88(3):193-7. View in: PubMed

Comparison of biventricular dimensions and function between pediatric sickle-cell disease and thalassemia major patients without cardiac iron. Am J Hematol. 2013 Mar; 88(3):213-8. View in: PubMed

Autonomic nervous system dysfunction: implication in sickle cell disease. C R Biol. 2013 Mar; 336(3):142-7. View in: PubMed

Low-shear red blood cell oxygen transport effectiveness is adversely affected by transfusion and further worsened by deoxygenation in sickle cell disease patients on chronic transfusion therapy. Transfusion. 2013 Feb; 53(2):297-305. View in: PubMed

Increased leucocyte apoptosis in transfused ß-thalassaemia patients. Br J Haematol. 2013 Feb; 160(3):399-403. View in: PubMed

The relationship between online social networking and sexual risk behaviors among men who have sex with men (MSM). PLoS One. 2013; 8(5):e62271. View in: PubMed

Estimation of HIV incidence in a large, community-based, randomized clinical trial: NIMH project accept (HIV Prevention Trials Network 043). PLoS One. 2013; 8(7):e68349. View in: PubMed

Development of methods for cross-sectional HIV incidence estimation in a large, community randomized trial. PLoS One. 2013; 8(11):e78818. View in: PubMed

Successes and challenges of HIV prevention in men who have sex with men. Lancet. 2012 Jul 28; 380(9839):388-99. View in: PubMed

Chelation use and iron burden in North American and British thalassemia patients: a report from the Thalassemia Longitudinal Cohort. Blood. 2012 Mar 22; 119(12):2746-53. View in: PubMed

Potential for false positive HIV test results with the serial rapid HIV testing algorithm. BMC Res Notes. 2012 Mar 19; 5:154. View in: PubMed

Pancreatic iron and glucose dysregulation in thalassemia major. Am J Hematol. 2012 Feb; 87(2):155-60. View in: PubMed

Electrocardiographic consequences of cardiac iron overload in thalassemia major. Am J Hematol. 2012 Feb; 87(2):139-44. View in: PubMed

Pituitary iron and volume predict hypogonadism in transfusional iron overload. Am J Hematol. 2012 Feb; 87(2):167-71. View in: PubMed

Sickle cell disease in California: sociodemographic predictors of emergency department utilization. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2012 Jan; 58(1):66-73. View in: PubMed

Treating thalassemia major-related iron overload: the role of deferiprone. J Blood Med. 2012; 3:119-29. View in: PubMed

Is it time to SWiTCH to composite primary endpoints? Pediatr Blood Cancer. Is it time to SWiTCH to composite primary endpoints? Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2011 Dec 01; 57(6):906-7. View in: PubMed

Pulmonary function in thalassaemia major and its correlation with body iron stores. Br J Haematol. 2011 Oct; 155(1):102-5. View in: PubMed

HIV surveillance in a large, community-based study: results from the pilot study of Project Accept (HIV Prevention Trials Network 043). BMC Infect Dis. 2011 Sep 24; 11:251. View in: PubMed

Peripheral vasoconstriction and abnormal parasympathetic response to sighs and transient hypoxia in sickle cell disease. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2011 Aug 15; 184(4):474-81. View in: PubMed

Long-term safety and efficacy of deferasirox (Exjade) for up to 5 years in transfusional iron-overloaded patients with sickle cell disease. Br J Haematol. 2011 Aug; 154(3):387-97. View in: PubMed

Community-based intervention to increase HIV testing and case detection in people aged 16-32 years in Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and Thailand (NIMH Project Accept, HPTN 043): a randomised study. Lancet Infect Dis. 2011 Jul; 11(7):525-32. View in: PubMed

Relationship between labile plasma iron, liver iron concentration and cardiac response in a deferasirox monotherapy trial. Haematologica. 2011 Jul; 96(7):1055-8. View in: PubMed

Effect of a community popular opinion leader HIV/STI intervention on stigma in urban, coastal Peru. AIDS Behav. 2011 Jul; 15(5):930-7. View in: PubMed

Quantitative computed tomography assessment of transfusional iron overload. Br J Haematol. 2011 Jun; 153(6):780-5. View in: PubMed

Looking to the future: South African men and women negotiating HIV risk and relationship intimacy. Cult Health Sex. 2011 May; 13(5):589-602. View in: PubMed

Linkage to HIV care and survival following inpatient HIV counseling and testing. AIDS Behav. 2011 May; 15(4):751-60. View in: PubMed

Iron chelation adherence to deferoxamine and deferasirox in thalassemia. Am J Hematol. 2011 May; 86(5):433-6. View in: PubMed

Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis in children with chronic granulomatous disease. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2011 Mar; 56(3):460-2. View in: PubMed

Sickle-cell disease in California: a population-based description of emergency department utilization. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2011 Mar; 56(3):413-9. View in: PubMed

Revisiting the relationship between vitamin D deficiency, cardiac iron and cardiac function in thalassemia major. Eur J Haematol. 2011 Feb; 86(2):176-7. View in: PubMed

Iron chelation in thalassemia: time to reconsider our comfort zones. Expert Rev Hematol. 2011 Feb; 4(1):17-26. View in: PubMed

So what if blood is thicker than water? Blood. So what if blood is thicker than water? Blood. 2011 Jan 20; 117(3):745-6. View in: PubMed

Missed opportunities for HIV testing and late-stage diagnosis among HIV-infected patients in Uganda. PLoS One. 2011; 6(7):e21794. View in: PubMed

Pancreatic iron loading in chronically transfused sickle cell disease is lower than in thalassaemia major. Br J Haematol. 2011 Jan; 152(2):229-33. View in: PubMed

HIV-related stigma, social norms, and HIV testing in Soweto and Vulindlela, South Africa: National Institutes of Mental Health Project Accept (HPTN 043). J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2010 Dec 15; 55(5):620-4. View in: PubMed

Combining two orally active iron chelators for thalassemia. Ann Hematol. 2010 Nov; 89(11):1177-8. View in: PubMed

Follow-up report on the 2-year cardiac data from a deferasirox monotherapy trial. Am J Hematol. 2010 Oct; 85(10):818-9. View in: PubMed

Use of non-occupational post-exposure prophylaxis does not lead to an increase in high risk sex behaviors in men who have sex with men participating in the EXPLORE trial. AIDS Behav. 2010 Oct; 14(5):1182-9. View in: PubMed

Predicting pituitary iron and endocrine dysfunction. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2010 Aug; 1202:123-8. View in: PubMed

The effect of deferasirox on cardiac iron in thalassemia major: impact of total body iron stores. Blood. 2010 Jul 29; 116(4):537-43. View in: PubMed

Pain as an emergent issue in thalassemia. Am J Hematol. 2010 May; 85(5):367-70. View in: PubMed

Time-varying analysis of autonomic control in response to spontaneous sighs in sickle cell anemia. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2010; 2010:1626-9. View in: PubMed

Serum ferritin level changes in children with sickle cell disease on chronic blood transfusion are nonlinear and are associated with iron load and liver injury. Blood. 2009 Nov 19; 114(21):4632-8. View in: PubMed

Pancreatic iron loading predicts cardiac iron loading in thalassemia major. Blood. 2009 Nov 05; 114(19):4021-6. View in: PubMed

Hemoglobin H-constant spring in North America: an alpha thalassemia with frequent complications. Am J Hematol. 2009 Nov; 84(11):759-61. View in: PubMed

Patterns of hepatic iron distribution in patients with chronically transfused thalassemia and sickle cell disease. Am J Hematol. 2009 Aug; 84(8):480-3. View in: PubMed

Analysis of HIV type 1 gp41 and enfuvirtide susceptibility among men in the United States who were HIV infected prior to availability of HIV entry inhibitors. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2009 Jul; 25(7):701-5. View in: PubMed

Nutritional deficiencies in iron overloaded patients with hemoglobinopathies. Am J Hematol. 2009 Jun; 84(6):344-8. View in: PubMed

The cost of health care for children and adults with sickle cell disease. Am J Hematol. 2009 Jun; 84(6):323-7. View in: PubMed

Pulmonary hypertension does not affect the autonomic nervous system dysfunction of sickle cell disease. Am J Hematol. 2009 May; 84(5):311-2. View in: PubMed

Test and tell: correlates and consequences of testing and disclosure of HIV status in South Africa (HPTN 043 Project Accept). J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2009 Feb 01; 50(2):215-22. View in: PubMed

Spleen R2 and R2* in iron-overloaded patients with sickle cell disease and thalassemia major. J Magn Reson Imaging. 2009 Feb; 29(2):357-64. View in: PubMed


Longitudinal analysis of heart and liver iron in thalassemia major. Blood. 2008 Oct 01; 112(7):2973-8. View in: PubMed

Magnetic resonance detection of kidney iron deposition in sickle cell disease: a marker of chronic hemolysis. J Magn Reson Imaging. 2008 Sep; 28(3):698-704. View in: PubMed

Fracture prevalence and relationship to endocrinopathy in iron overloaded patients with sickle cell disease and thalassemia. Bone. 2008 Jul; 43(1):162-8. View in: PubMed

Inflammation and oxidant-stress in beta-thalassemia patients treated with iron chelators deferasirox (ICL670) or deferoxamine: an ancillary study of the Novartis CICL670A0107 trial. Haematologica. 2008 Jun; 93(6):817-25. View in: PubMed

Vitamin D deficiency, cardiac iron and cardiac function in thalassaemia major. Br J Haematol. 2008 Jun; 141(6):891-4. View in: PubMed

Onset of cardiac iron loading in pediatric patients with thalassemia major. Haematologica. 2008 Jun; 93(6):917-20. View in: PubMed

Outcomes, utilization, and costs among thalassemia and sickle cell disease patients receiving deferoxamine therapy in the United States. Am J Hematol. 2008 Apr; 83(4):263-70. View in: PubMed

Atrial dysfunction as a marker of iron cardiotoxicity in thalassemia major. Haematologica. 2008 Feb; 93(2):311-2. View in: PubMed

Abnormal cardiac autonomic control in sickle cell disease following transient hypoxia. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2008; 2008:1996-9. View in: PubMed

Analgesic Response to Morphine in Children with Sickle Cell Disease: A Pilot Study. J Pain Manag. 2008; 2(1):179-190. View in: PubMed

Patient-reported outcomes of deferasirox (Exjade, ICL670) versus deferoxamine in sickle cell disease patients with transfusional hemosiderosis. Substudy of a randomized open-label phase II trial. Acta Haematol. 2008; 119(3):133-41. View in: PubMed

Consequences and costs of noncompliance with iron chelation therapy in patients with transfusion-dependent thalassemia: a literature review. Transfusion. 2007 Oct; 47(10):1919-29. View in: PubMed

Antiretroviral drug resistance, HIV-1 tropism, and HIV-1 subtype among men who have sex with men with recent HIV-1 infection. AIDS. 2007 May 31; 21(9):1165-74. View in: PubMed

Prospective evaluation of patient-reported outcomes during treatment with deferasirox or deferoxamine for iron overload in patients with beta-thalassemia. Clin Ther. 2007 May; 29(5):909-17. View in: PubMed

Implementation and evaluation of an HIV/STD intervention in Peru. Eval Program Plann. 2007 Feb; 30(1):82-93. View in: PubMed

A randomised comparison of deferasirox versus deferoxamine for the treatment of transfusional iron overload in sickle cell disease. Br J Haematol. 2007 Feb; 136(3):501-8. View in: PubMed

Cost effectiveness of once-daily oral chelation therapy with deferasirox versus infusional deferoxamine in transfusion-dependent thalassaemia patients: US healthcare system perspective. Pharmacoeconomics. 2007; 25(4):329-42. View in: PubMed

Prevalence and incidence of pharyngeal gonorrhea in a longitudinal sample of men who have sex with men: the EXPLORE study. Clin Infect Dis. 2006 Nov 15; 43(10):1284-9. View in: PubMed

Factors associated with self-efficacy for condom use and sexual negotiation among South african youth. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2006 Oct 01; 43(2):226-33. View in: PubMed

MRI detects myocardial iron in the human heart. Magn Reson Med. 2006 Sep; 56(3):681-6. View in: PubMed

Spectral imaging microscopy web sites and data. Cytometry A. 2006 Aug 01; 69(8):863-71. View in: PubMed

A phase 3 study of deferasirox (ICL670), a once-daily oral iron chelator, in patients with beta-thalassemia. Blood. 2006 May 01; 107(9):3455-62. View in: PubMed

Secretory phospholipase A2 levels in patients with sickle cell disease and acute chest syndrome. Hemoglobin. 2006; 30(2):165-70. View in: PubMed

Improved R2* measurements in myocardial iron overload. J Magn Reson Imaging. 2006 Jan; 23(1):9-16. View in: PubMed

Cobalamin C disease presenting with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis. Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2005 Dec; 22(8):717-21. View in: PubMed

Fetal haemoglobin augmentation in E/beta(0) thalassaemia: clinical and haematological outcome. Br J Haematol. 2005 Nov; 131(3):378-88. View in: PubMed

Mechanisms of tissue-iron relaxivity: nuclear magnetic resonance studies of human liver biopsy specimens. Magn Reson Med. 2005 Nov; 54(5):1185-93. View in: PubMed

MRI R2 and R2* mapping accurately estimates hepatic iron concentration in transfusion-dependent thalassemia and sickle cell disease patients. Blood. 2005 Aug 15; 106(4):1460-5. View in: PubMed

Cardiac iron determines cardiac T2*, T2, and T1 in the gerbil model of iron cardiomyopathy. Circulation. 2005 Jul 26; 112(4):535-43. View in: PubMed

Physiology and pathophysiology of iron cardiomyopathy in thalassemia. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2005; 1054:386-95. View in: PubMed

Single and combination drug therapy for fetal hemoglobin augmentation in hemoglobin E-beta 0-thalassemia: Considerations for treatment. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2005; 1054:250-6. View in: PubMed

Safety of purified poloxamer 188 in sickle cell disease: phase I study of a non-ionic surfactant in the management of acute chest syndrome. Hemoglobin. 2004 May; 28(2):85-102. View in: PubMed

Myocardial iron loading in transfusion-dependent thalassemia and sickle cell disease. Blood. 2004 Mar 01; 103(5):1934-6. View in: PubMed

Placenta growth factor activates monocytes and correlates with sickle cell disease severity. Blood. 2003 Aug 15; 102(4):1506-14. View in: PubMed

Classification of simple stimuli based on detected nerve activity. IEEE Eng Med Biol Mag. 2003 Jan-Feb; 22(1):64-76. View in: PubMed

A practical approach to neutrophil disorders. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2002 Oct; 49(5):929-71, viii. View in: PubMed

A case of neutropenia with transient absence of neutrophil chemotaxis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2002 May; 88(5):445-50. View in: PubMed

Predictors of cerebral blood flow in patients with and without anemia. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2016 Apr 15; 120(8):976-81. View in: PubMed

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