J. Evan Sadler, MD, PhD, Expert in Blood-Clotting Disorders, Dies at 67

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J. Evan Sadler, MD, PhD

J. Evan Sadler, MD, PhD

Pioneering hematologist J. Evan Sadler, MD, PhD, an expert in the study and treatment of blood-clotting disorders, died December 13, 2018, at his home in Clayton, Missouri, following a brief illness. He was 67. His death was announced in a news item from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where Dr. Sadler served as Director of the Division of Hematology and the Ira M. Lang Professor of Medicine. Dr. Sadler was also Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics.

Work Critical to von Willebrand, ADAMTS13 Proteins

Dr. Sadler, who has served on the Washington University faculty for 34 years, pioneered the study of several blood coagulation factors. In particular, his contributions have been critical to the molecular, genetic, and biochemical characterization of von Willebrand factor and ADAMTS13, two proteins associated with bleeding and clotting disorders.

His laboratory identified the molecular basis for a range of subtypes of the bleeding disorder von Willebrand disease, which has led to improved diagnosis and therapy. In addition, his complementary studies of the structure and function of ADAMTS13 have important implications for understanding the pathophysiology of the rare clotting disorder thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. The molecular understanding of these diseases enabled Dr. Sadler to lead efforts to develop existing clinical guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of von Willebrand disease and thrombocytopenic purpura.

“Evan had exceptional strengths as a division chief, physician-scientist, mentor, and clinician,” said Victoria J. Fraser, MD, the Adolphus Busch Professor of Medicine and Head of the Department of Medicine. “He was well recognized as a critical thinker who was incredibly curious and deeply focused on answering the most difficult mechanistic questions related to hemostasis. His expertise in biochemistry was widely recognized locally, nationally, and internationally.”

Distinguished Scientist, Humble Individual

Dr. Sadler joined the faculty of Washington University in 1984 and remained there his entire career. A longtime Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, he was named Director of the Division of Hematology in 2009 and was installed as the Ira M. Lang Professor of Medicine in 2014.

Dr. Sadler received numerous awards and honors recognizing his outstanding contributions to the field of hematology. He was especially known for his pioneering research and his dedication to mentorship, including serving as a mentor to nearly 100

[Evan] was well recognized as a critical thinker who was incredibly curious and deeply focused on answering the most difficult mechanistic questions related to hemostasis.
— Victoria J. Fraser, MD

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graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, many of whom have gone on to become leaders in the field. The American Society of Hematology (ASH) recently recognized his exceptional years of service and dedication to the Society and to hematology with the 2018 Exemplary Service Award. His outstanding contributions to hematology over his entire career were recognized when Dr. Sadler received ASH’s Henry M. Stratton Medal for Basic Science in 2016 and the Society’s William Dameshek Prize in 1998.

“Evan was a brilliant scientist who was among the first to apply the tools of recombinant DNA technology to the field of blood coagulation,” said Stuart Kornfeld, MD, the David C. and Betty Farrell Professor of Medicine. “This, combined with the high quality and great depth of his studies, propelled him to the top of his field. On a personal level, I have never met a more humble and fair-minded individual who was always striving for excellence. Evan was the perfect role model for the physician-scientist pathway.”

Dr. Sadler earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry from Princeton University in 1973. He continued his studies at Duke University, where he earned a Doctorate in Biochemistry in 1978 and a medical degree in 1979. After a postgraduate internship at Duke, Dr. Sadler completed his fellowship training at the University of Washington, Seattle.