Mark K. Larson, Ph.D.

Dr. Larson teaches Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Pharmacology, and Introductory Biology for biology majors. He also teaches a First-year seminar class on drug development. Dr. Larson is the co-director of the biochemistry major, along with Dr. Jared Mays, associate professor of chemistry. In addition, Dr. Larson coordinates Augustana’s Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network (BRIN) grant. Learn more about this program.

Mark Larson
  Associate Professor and Chair
  Biology Department
  Augustana College
  2001 S. Summit Ave.
  Sioux Falls, SD 57197
  Toll-Free 800.727.2844 ext. 4700
  Fax 605.274.4718



Ph. D. Pharmacology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, 2003
Dissertation: Mechanisms and functions of the collagen receptor glycoprotein VI-mediated Rap1 small GTPase activation in platelets. Advisor: Leslie V. Parise.

B.A. Biology and Chemistry, Concordia College, Moorhead, MN, 1998
Undergraduate research: Sequencing and characterization of the class II pilin gene in Neisseria meningitidis (at Concordia). Identification of novel Protein Kinase A anchoring proteins (AKAPs) in airway epithelial cells (NSF REU at UNC-Chapel Hill).


Associate Professor, Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD, 2012 to present
Assistant Professor, Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD, 2006 to 2012
Postdoctoral Fellow, Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, 2004-2006 Advisor: Steve P. Watson

 Kollasch, Shaull, Larson, McCue         

Summer Research team 2013
Anna Kollasch ’15 (Mt Marty College) Lance Shaull ’15, Dr. Larson, and Betsy McCue ‘15


Undergraduate Research Opportunities with Dr. Larson

Dr. Larson’s work focuses on the function and cell interactions of human platelets. Platelets are the key cellular component in blood clotting, and are a major focus of therapies designed to prevent adverse cardiovascular events. He collaborates with Dr. Bill Harris of Omegaquant, Inc., Dr. Wally Whiteheart at the University of Kentucky, and  Dr. Mike Holinstat at the University of Michigan to study the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on platelet function. He also collaborates and makes frequent visits to Dr. Owen McCarty’s lab at Oregon Health and Science University to explore links between platelet function and overall blood coagulation. Recently, he has teamed with Dr. Jennifer Gubbels and Dr. Karla Abbott at Augustana to study the interaction of ovarian cancer cells with platelets and differential platelet responses in Native Americans, respectively.

Dr. Larson's past research included a collaboration with Dr. Joe Italiano, Jr. at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Boston on the process of platelet biogenesis. Alumni Matt Braithwaite '11 and Jordan Anderson–Daniels  '10 spent eight weeks with Dr. Larson in Boston working on how tissue matrix proteins in the bone marrow influence platelet development from precursor cells called megakaryocytes.

Matt Braithwaite, Dr. Larson and Jordan Anderson Daniels

Matt Braithwaite, Dr. Larson and Jordan Anderson–Daniels working at Brigham and Women's Hospital with Dr. Joe Italiano, Jr

Larson Lab Research Alumni and further schooling/employment

  • Dr. Joe Ashmore '08: PhD, Nutrition, Penn State University; Postdoc, Molecular Epidemiology, Washington State University
  • Dr. Tina Harris '08: PhD, Nutrition, Penn State University
  • Dr. Jessica Vogelaar ’09:  MD, University of Minnesota-Duluth; Pediatrics Resident, Mayo Clinic
  • Dr. Amanda Korth ’09: OD, Pacific University; Optometry resident, Lexington, KY VA Medical Center
  • Dr. Erika Graslie '10: DPT, Regis University
  • Jordan Anderson–Daniels '10: Graduate School, Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Biomedical and Biological Sciences, Vanderbilt University
  • Jillian Tholen, '10:  MS, Nutrition, University of Minnesota
  • Dr. Matt Braithwaite '11: MD, University of Iowa; Internal Medicine Resident, University of Utah
  • Mercedes Hodges '16: BS, Neuroscience, Georgia State University
  • Rebecca Niewohner '12: BS, South Dakota State University
  • Leah McComas '12: Dental School, University of Minnesota
  • Dr. Carl Hjelmen '13: PhD, Ecology and Entomology, Texas A&M University; Postdoc, Entomology, Texas A&M University
  • Nicole Ensz '13:  BS, Biomedical Engineering, Washington University
  • Dr. Lucinda Weaver ’13: MD, University of South Dakota; Pediatrics Resident, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Kristen (Luepke) Schroeder '14: Pharmacy Student, South Dakota State University
  • Betsy McCue ’15: MS, Global Health; Global Health Research Associate, University of Notre Dame
  • Lance Shaull ’15, Medical School, Rush Medical College
  • Anna Kollasch ’15, BS, Mt. Marty College; MLS, St. Luke's Hospital
  • Jordan Bormann '17: Medical School, University of South Dakota
  • Evan Meyer '17: BA, Augustana University
  • Ellen Voigt '17: Research Associate, Sanford Research
  • Kaitlynn Foss '17, Research Associate, Sanford Research
  • Luke Hurley, '18, undergraduate
  • Amber Veldman '18, undergraduate
  • Katelyn Graber, '18, undergraduate
  • Kirby Hora, '19, undergraduate
  • Tania Rodezno, '19, undergraduate
  • Sarah Stein, '20, undergraduate
  • Kendall Cornick, '19, undergraduate


Dr. Larson specializes in cell biology and biochemistry, with interests in the intersection of science and society. He designs his class labs to maximize the use of the department’s substantial research equipment, including the confocal microscope, the flow cytometer, the tissues culture suite, and the DNA/protein imager, among others. He favors the process of research projects in the clasroom lab, including identifying new platelet agonists in pharmacology, a semester-long enzyme purification and characterization in biochemistry, and a month-long breast cancer cell culture unit in cell biology.
In the classroom, Dr. Larson closely examines real-world applications of biology, including the relationship of cancer treatments to cell function, the acquisition of knowledge for clinical medicine, and how science can often get misconstrued in and out of the laboratory. He encourages students to ask questions at every level, since it is the heart of all scientific endeavor.    

                           Mouse megakaryocyte forming proplatelets      


                      Proplatelets are shed and start to cleave into smaller,  platelet-sized swellings

     Mouse megakaryocyte forming proplatelets, the first stage of platelet develpment from 
the mega karyocyte precursor cell (top photo).
 After megakaryocytes form proplatelets, the proplatelets are shed and start to cleave into smaller, 
platelet-sized swellings (bottom photo).

Research Interests

Ovarian cancer tumor cell interactions with platelets

Mapping agonist-induced platelet responses in Native Americans

Effect of omega-3 fatty acids on platelet function and blood coagulation.

Grants Supporting Undergraduate Research with Dr. Larson

Institutional Development Award (IDeA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health [P20GM103443] (SD BRIN grant, 2006-present, ~$20,000 year)

National Science Foundation/EPSCoR program [IIA-1355423] (2014-present, ~$5,000 per year)

American Physiological Society Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowships (2015 and 2017, $5,500 per year)

GlaxoSmithKline Research Grant (2008) Title: Effects of Lovaza and Aspirin, alone and in combination, on Platelet Activation in Healthy Subjects (in collaboration with Dr. Bill Harris, Sanford Research/University of South Dakota). Amount: $42,000.

Reliant Pharmaceuticals Research Grant (2007) Title: Effects of Omacor and Aspirin, Alone and in Combination, on Platelet Function in Healthy Subjects: A Pilot Study (in collaboration with Dr. Bill Harris, Sanford Research/University of South Dakota). Amount: $43,000.

Selected Publications (*Asterisk denotes Augustana undergraduate)

Adili, R., *Voigt, E.M., *Bormann, J.L., *Foss, K.N., *Hurley, L.J., *Meyer, E.S., *Veldman, A.J., Mast, K.A., Whiteheart, S.W., Holinstat, M., and Larson, M.K. In vivo modeling of DHA- and EPA-mediated inhibition of both platelet function and accumulation in arterial thrombi. Platelets, 2017 (in press). doi: 10.1080/09537104.2017.1420154

Lamichhane, S., Anderson, J.A., Remund, T., Sun, H., Larson, M.K., Kelly, P., Mani, G. Responses of endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells, and platelets dependent on the surface topography of polytetrafluoroethylene. J Biomed Mater Res A. 2016; 104:2291-304. doi: 10.1002/jbm.a.35763.

Thiruppathi, E., Larson, M.K., Mani, G. Surface Modification of CoCr Alloy Using Varying Concentrations of Phosphoric and Phosphonoacetic Acids: Albumin and Fibrinogen Adsorption, Platelet Adhesion, Activation, and Aggregation Studies. Langmuir 2015; 31: 358-370.

Wachira, J.K., Larson, M.K., Harris, W.S. Omega-3 Fatty Acids Affect Hemostasis But Do Not Increase Risk for Bleeding: Clinical Observations and Mechanistic Insights Br. J. Nutr. 2014; 111:1652-62.

Larson, M.K., Tormoen, G.W., *Weaver, L.J., *Luepke, K.J., Patel, I.A., *Hjelmen, C.E., *Ensz, N.M., *McComas, L.S., McCarty, O.J.T. Exogenous modification of platelet membranes with EPA and DHA reduces platelet procoagulant activity and thrombus formation. Amer. J. Phys – Cell Phys., 2013; 304:C273-C279

Keenan, A.H., Pedersen, T.L., Fillaus, K., Larson, M.K., Shearer, G.C., Newman, J.W. Basal omega-3 fatty acid status affects fatty acid and oxylipin responses to high-dose n3 HUFA in healthy volunteers. J. Lipid Res, 2012; 53:1662-1669.

Block, R.C., Dier, U., Calderon Artero, P., Shearer, G.C., Kakinami, L., Larson, M.K., Harris, W.S., Georas, S., Mousa, S.A. The Effects of EPA+DHA and Aspirin on Inflammatory Cytokines and Angiogenesis Factors. World J Cardiovasc Dis, 2012; 2:14-19

Larson, M.K., Shearer, G.C., Ashmore, J.H., *Anderson-Daniels, J.M., *Graslie, E.L., *Tholen, J.T., *Vogelaar, J.L., *Korth, A.J., Nareddy, V., Sprehe, M., Harris, W.S. Omega-3 fatty acids modulate collagen signaling in human platelets. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids, 2011; 84:93-98.

Thon, J.N., Montalvo, A., Patel-Hett, S.R., Devine, M.T., Richardson, J.L., Ehrlicher, A., Larson, M.K., Hoffmeister, K., Hartwig, J.H., Italiano Jr., J.E. Identification of intermediate stages in proplatelet maturation and a mechanism of platelet release. J. Cell Biol., 2010; 191:861-74.

Block R.C., Duff R., Lawrence P., Kakinami L., Brenna J.T., Shearer G.C., Meednu N., Mousa S., Friedman A., Harris W.S., Larson M., and Georas S. The effects of EPA, DHA, and aspirin ingestion on plasma lysophospholipids and autotaxin. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2010; 82:87-95.

Wang, Z., Holly, S.P., Larson, M.K., Liu, J., Yuan, W., Chrzanowska-Wodnicka, M., White II, G.C., and Parise, L.V. Rap1b Is Critical for GPVI- but not ADP Receptor-Mediated alpha 2 beta 1 Activation. J. Thromb. Haemost. 2009; 7:693-700.

Larson, M.K., *Ashmore, J.H., *Harris, K.A., *Vogelaar, J.L., Pottala, J.V., Sprehe, M., and Harris, W.S. Effects of Omega-3 Acid Ethyl Esters and Aspirin, Alone and in Combination, on Platelet Function in Healthy Subjects. Thrombosis and Haemostasis. 2008;100:634-41.


Selected Published Abstracts (*Asterisk denotes Augustana undergraduate)

Larson, M.K. From 0 to 60 in 10 weeks (or less): Mentoring undergraduate research fellows. Oral Presentation, IDeA Central Region Biennial Meeting, Sioux Falls, SD, June 2017.

Larson, M.K., *Lager, T., *Roetman, J., *Kunkel, J., *Thacker, M., Sheets, J., Drapkin, R.I., Liu, J.F., Egland, K.A., Gubbels, J.A.A. Mechanistic and clinical roles of the transmembrane protein SUSD2 in ovarian cancer cell-platelet synergy. Poster Presentation, Gordon Research Conference on Hemostasis, July 2016, Stowe, VT.

*Bormann, J.L., *Meyer, E.S., *Voigt, E.M., Whiteheart, S.W., Larson, M.K. Attenuation of EPA and DHA-mediated platelet inhibition effects following heterogeneous agonist treatment. Poster Presentation, Experimental Biology Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, April 2016.

*Lager, T., *Thacker, M., *Etrheim, C., Egland, K.A., Larson, M.K., Gubbels, J.A.A. A novel epithelial ovarian cancer protein, SUSD2, inhibits platelet activation and binding to tumor cells. Poster Presentation, American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, April 2015.

*McCue, E.A., *Shaull, L.R., *Kollasch, A.K., Ye, S., Whiteheart, S.W., Larson, M.K. The effect of EPA and DHA on platelets treated with multiple agonists found in the thrombus core. Poster Presentation, Experimental Biology Annual Meeting, and Oral Presentation, Microcirculatory Society President’s Symposium, San Diego, CA, April 2014.

Larson, M.K., Tormoen, G.W., *Weaver, L.J., *Luepke, K.J., Patel, I.A., *Hjelmen, C.E., *Ensz, N.M., *McComas, L.S., McCarty, O.J.T. Exogenous modification of platelet membranes with the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA reduces platelet procoagulant activity and thrombus formation. Poster Presentation, Gordon Research Conference on the Cell Biology of Megakaryocytes and Platelets, March 2013, Galveston, TX.

Ensz, N.M.,* Hjelmen, C.E.,* McComas, L.S.,* Tormoen, G.W., Patel, I.A.,* McCarty, O.J.T., Larson, M.K.  Exogenous modification of platelet membranes with theomega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA impairs thrombogenesis. Poster Presentation, Experimental Biology Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, April 2012.

Larson MK. Modulation of platelet and whole blood function following exogenousaddition of omega-3 fatty acids. Oral Presentation, IDeA Central Region Biennial Meeting, Omaha, NE, May 2011.

Larson MK, *Hodges M, Niewohner R, Berny MA, Patel IA, Tormoen G, Shearer GC, Harris WS, and McCarty OJT. Modulation of platelet and whole blood function following exogenous addition of omega-3 fatty acids. Poster presentation, Midwest Platelet Conference, Chapel Hill, NC, October 2010.

*Anderson-Daniels JM, *Graslie EL, *Tholen JT, *Ashmore JH, *Korth AJ, Shearer GC, Harris WS, and Larson MK. Inhibition of collagen-mediated platelet reactivity in response to high doses of polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids. Poster Presentation, Experimental Biology Annual Meeting, Anaheim, CA, April 2010.

*Vogelaar JL, *Anderson-Daniels JM, *Graslie EL, *Ashmore JH, Pottala JV, Sprehe M, Harris WS, and Larson MK Effects of omega-3 fatty acids, alone and in combination with aspirin, on platelet function under static and shear conditions. Oral presentation and Poster, Midwest Platelet Conference, Lexington, KY, October 2008.

Larson MK, *Ashmore JH, *Harris KA, *Vogelaar JL, Sprehe M, and Harris WS. Effects of omega-3 fatty acids and aspirin on human platelet function. Poster, 2nd Annual NISBRE Symposium, Washington, DC, August 2008 and Experimental Biology Annual Meeting, San Diego, April 2008.