Sara Israels, OM MD FRCPC

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Sara Israels, OM MD FRCPC

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Research Discipline(s): Clinical, Basic

Primary Title: Professor, Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, Unversity of Manitoba

Additional Titles & Affiliations: Vice Dean, Academic Affairs, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences; Senior Scientist Cancer Care Manitoba Research Institute


Blood Disorders: Inherited and Acquired Bleeding Disorders, Cancers in Children: Treatment and Supportive Care

Research Summary

Dr. Israels’ primary research activities focus on understanding acquired and inherited hemostatic disorders, particularly platelet function and dysfunction. These have included studies of platelet signal transduction pathways, platelet activation and the biochemical and ultrastructural changes associated with activation. This work intersects with clinical interests in congenital and acquired platelet disorders and the developmental characteristics of platelets in the fetus and newborn. Her work has demonstrated defects in neonatal response and signal transduction, with compensatory increases in other components of the primary hemostatic system. She has studied platelet function in children with hemophilia, where the platelet activation phenotype may influence clinical bleeding; and in children and adolescents with type 2 diabetes, where hyperactive platelets may be contributing to the early onset of cardiovascular disease. She has described the platelet ultrastructural and functional abnormalities caused by germline RUNX1 variants in familial platelet disorder with associated myeloid malignancy (FPD/AML).

She is interested applying electron microscopy techniques to ultrastructural changes during platelet activation and aggregation. She has also collaborated on using these techniques to examine the ultrastructural changes in tumor cell death induced by potential therapeutics, and oxidative stress; and the impact of metabolic inhibitors on CLL cells.
Clinical research interests also extend to clinical studies of new therapeutics in hemophilia care, late effects of childhood cancer treatment and supportive care.


Enhance our understanding of the biological basis of platelet disorders, with a goal to improving treatment options for patients

Research Biography

Dr. Israels received her MD from the University of Manitoba in 1979, and trained in Pediatrics at Stanford University Medical Center. She received her Pediatric Hematology/Oncology training at the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children and her research training at the Manitoba Institute of Cell Biology and Scripps Research Institute. She joined the University of Manitoba in 1986 and has been a Senior Scientist in the CancerCare Manitoba Research Institute since that time.

Dr. Israels is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health. She has worked as an academic clinician in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology since her first appointment, caring for children with cancer and blood disorders. Her clinical interests include acquired and congenital hemostatic disorders, platelet function and dysfunction, and late-effects of childhood cancer and its treatment.

She served as Head of the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology program in the Department of Pediatrics and at CancerCare Manitoba from 1993 to 2012, during which time she developed an accredited training residency program, an expanded multidisciplinary care team, dedicated space for the Pediatric clinic at CCMB, and an aftercare program for childhood cancer survivors.

She is the Medical Director of the Hemostasis Laboratory at the Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre, a provincial resource that provides specialized laboratory testing for acquired and congenital bleeding disorders, serves as a training site for specialty residents in Hematology and Pathology and as a resource for clinical research.


  • WXN Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women, 2020
  • Canadian Pediatric Thrombosis and Hemostasis Network, Dr. Victor Blanchette Award, 2019
  • Order of Manitoba, 2018
  • Canadian Hemophilia Society, Manitoba Chapter, Special Recognition Award, 2017
  • YMCA-YWCA Women of Distinction Award in Science, Research and Technology, 2016
  • Canadian Hemophilia Society, Dr. Cecil Harris Award, 2004
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    Featured Publications

    • Rand M and Israels SJ. The molecular basis of platelet function. In: Hematology Basic Principles and Practice, 8th Ed. (Hoffman R, et al., Eds). Philadelphia, Elsevier (2023, In press)
    • Uminski K, Houston DS, Hartley JN, Liu J, Cuvelier GDE, Israels SJ. Clinical characterizationand hematopoietic stem cell transplant outcomes for congenital sideroblastic anemia caused by a novel pathogenic variant in SLC25A38. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2020; 67: e28623 [Epub ahead of print Aug 13, 2020];
    • Sun P, McMillan-Ward E, Mian R, Israels SJ. Comparison of light transmission aggregometry and multiple electrode aggregometry for the evaluation of patients with mucocutaneous bleeding. Int J Lab Hematol 2019; 41:133-140 [Epub ahead of print Oct 25, 2018. doi: 10.1111/ijlh.12937].
    • Rand ML, Reddy EC, Israels SJ. Laboratory diagnosis of inherited platelet function disorder. Transfus Apher Sci 2018. [Epub ahead of print, July 25, 2018:]
    • Wong JC, Bryant V, Lamprecht T, Ma J, Walsh M, Schwartz J, Alzamora M, Mullighan CG, Loh ML, Ribeiro R, Downing JR, Carroll WL, Davis J, Gold S, Rogers PC, Israels S, Yanofsky R, Shannon K, Klco JM. Germline SAMD9 and SAMD9L mutations are associated with extensive genetic evolution and diverse hematologic outcomes. JCI Insight. 2018; 3:e121086.
    • Israels SJ, McNicol A, Dean HJ, Cognasse F, Sellers, EAC. Markers of platelet activation are increased in adolescents with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care 2014; 37:2400-3 [Epub: May 30, 2014, DOI 10.2337/dc13-2718]
    • Israels SJ. Diagnostic evaluation of platelet function disorders in neonates and children: an update. Sem Thromb Hemost. 2009; 35(2): 181-188.
    • Gerrard JM, Lint D, Sims PJ, Wiedmar T, Fugate RD, McMillan E, Robertson C, Israels SJ: Identification of a platelet dense granule membrane protein which is deficient in a patient with the Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome. Blood 1991;77(1):101-12.

    Publications List

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