Sandra J.F. Degen, PhD

Associate Chair for Academic Affairs

Vice President for Research, University of Cincinnati

Academic Affiliations

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics

Phone 513-636-4816

Fax 513-636-4317


Regulation of expression of proteins in blood coagulation and growth control: prothrombin; hepatocyte growth factor-like protein (HGFL) and its membrane tyrosine kinase receptor (Ron)

Sandra Degen, PhD, is a professor of pediatrics and associate chair for academic affairs at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center within the UC College of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics. She has held this position since 1997.

After receiving a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Washington, Dr. Degen completed two years of postdoctoral work at the Friedrich Miescher Institute, Basel, Switzerland. She joined the faculty and staff of the College of Medicine and Cincinnati Children's Research Foundation in 1985. A Pew Scholar in the biomedical sciences, Dr. Degen's scientific interests include the biological function of the blood coagulation agent prothrombin, as well as a protein identified in her lab that is involved in growth control. Degen holds three patents for her discoveries. In addition to continuous NIH support for her research until 2006, Dr. Degen has been awarded $4.5M in grant and endowment support since 1997 from the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Foundation to support the Center for Development of Careers in Child Health at Cincinnati Children’s.

Her many honors include an Established Investigatorship from the American Heart Association, membership of the Hematology II Study Section at the National Institutes of Health, and participation in the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine Program. She was also awarded the 2005 Special Recognition Award in Thrombosis from the American Heart Association, elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2011 and a Charter Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors in 2013. Dr. Degen currently serves on the board of directors for the local chapter of the Association for Women in Science and the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative (a non-profit organization focused on mentoring underprivileged children). She was appointed by the Governor of Ohio to the Third Frontier Advisory Board from 2009-2011. Dr. Degen has had several administrative roles at the University of Cincinnati, including associate senior vice president for health affairs (2000-2004), vice president for research (2004-2011) and interim chair of the Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry & Microbiology (2011-2014).

Dr. Degen received the Founders Award from the Women’s Faculty Association in the Department of Pediatrics in 2005 in recognition of her commitment to the advancement and mentoring of women faculty and trainees. In the past, she has mentored over 50 students, fellows and faculty as part of her research program. Dr. Degen created the Center for Development of Careers in Child Health at Cincinnati Children’s and is responsible for the mentoring and career guidance of over 800 faculty. Programs supported by this office include high school and undergraduate summer research programs that constitute the pipeline for future recruitment to the medical center, the Office for Postdoctoral Affairs, the Schmidlapp Women Scholars Program (which supports women faculty through an annual scholars competition), workshops, mentoring and support for attendance at national leadership meetings. She is also responsible for overseeing the reappointment, promotion and tenure process for the department. Dr. Degen has been recognized for her mentoring efforts nationally through invitations to speak at the AAMC Midcareer Development Program for Women (2010-present), Columbia University (2010-present), the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Rush Memorial Hospital and Penn State University. In 2013, Dr. Degen received the Mentoring Achievement Award for faculty at Cincinnati Children’s.

BA: University of California, San Diego, 1976.

PhD: University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 1982.

Fellowship: Post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA, 1982-83; post-doctoral Fellowship at the Friedrich Meischer Institute in Basel, Switzerland, 1983-1985.

View PubMed Publications

Mullins ES, Kombrinck KW, Talmage KE, Shaw MA, Witte DP, Ullman JM, Degen SJ, Sun W, Flick MJ, Degen JL. Genetic elimination of prothrombin in adult mice is not compatible with survival and results in spontaneous hemorrhagic events in both heart and brain. Blood. 2009 Jan 15;113(3):696-704.

Wetzel CC, Leonis MA, Dent A, Olson MA, Longmeier AM, Ney PA, Boivin GP, Kader SA, Caldwell CC, Degen SJ, Waltz SE.  Short-form Ron receptor is required for normal IFN-gamma production in concanavalin A-induced acute liver injury. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2007 Jan;292(1):G253-61.

Kahn JA, Degen SJ, Mansour ME, Goodman E, Zeller MH, Laor T, Lanphear NE, Boat TF. Pediatric faculty members' attitudes about part-time faculty positions and policies to support part-time faculty: a study at one medical center. Acad Med. 2005 Oct;80(10):931-9.

Wu J, Wang Y, Xiao W, Meyer KB, Schmidt KM, Morris RE, Degen SJ, La Barbera AR. Assessment of recombinant porcine follicle-stimulating hormone receptor using a novel polyclonal ectodomain antibody. Endocr Res. 2004 May;30(2):269-85.

Hess KA, Waltz SE, Toney-Earley K, Degen SJ. The receptor tyrosine kinase Ron is expressed in the mouse ovary and regulates inducible nitric oxide synthase levels and ovulation. Fertil Steril. 2003 Sep;80 Suppl 2:747-54.

Peace BE, Hill KJ, Degen SJ, Waltz SE. Cross-talk between the receptor tyrosine kinases Ron and epidermal growth factor receptor. Exp Cell Res. 2003 Oct 1;289(2):317-25.

Wetzel CC, Degen SJ, Waltz SE. Cis-acting elements in the hepatocyte growth factor-like protein gene regulate kidney and liver-specific expression in mice. DNA Cell Biol. 2003 May;22(5):293-301.

Hess KA, Waltz SE, Chan EL, Degen SJ. Receptor tyrosine kinase Ron is expressed in mouse reproductive tissues during embryo implantation and is important in trophoblast cell function. Biol Reprod. 2003 Apr;68(4):1267-75.

Sun WY, Coleman MJ, Witte DP, Degen SJ. Rescue of prothrombin-deficiency by transgene expression in mice. Thromb Haemost. 2002 Dec;88(6):984-91.

Leonis MA, Toney-Earley K, Degen SJ, Waltz SE. Deletion of the Ron receptor tyrosine kinase domain in mice provides protection from endotoxin-induced acute liver failure. Hepatology. 2002 Nov;36(5):1053-60.