Kelly Ten Hagen, PhD

Senior Investigator

Developmental Glycobiology Section


Building 30, Room 407
30 Convent Dr, MSC 4370
Bethesda MD 20892-4370


Research Topics

Cells of the body are decorated with a variety of carbohydrates (sugars) that serve diverse functions. Alterations in the presence of these sugars are associated with a number of human diseases, including familial tumoral calcinosis and various cancers. To better understand how alterations in glycosylation contribute to disease onset and progression, Dr. Ten Hagen’s group studies how sugar addition (O-glycosylation) is regulated and how it influences basic biological processes. Using Drosophila models, the group has demonstrated that O-glycosylation is an essential modification that is required in specific cells and tissues during development. Current research is directed at further defining the role this protein modification plays in secretion, secretory vesicle formation, cell adhesion, and cell signaling in both Drosophila and mammals. Ultimately, the aim is to elucidate how O-glycosylation regulates key cellular processes during development and disease.


Dr. Kelly Ten Hagen received a BS from Cornell University and earned a PhD at Stanford University. She served as a research assistant professor at the University of Rochester from 1992-2001, and then as a senior research fellow at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), from 2001-2004. She was appointed chief of the Developmental Glycobiology Unit at NIDCR in 2004 and was promoted to senior investigator and chief in 2012. Dr. Ten Hagen has served as an editorial board member for The Journal of Biological Chemistry and on the Board of Directors for the Society for Glycobiology. She currently serves on the Promotion and Tenure Committee for NIDCR, the Woman Scientist Advisors Executive Committee for the NIH, the steering committees for the NIH Glycobiology and Developmental Biology Scientific Interest Groups, and as an editorial board member for the journal Glycobiology.

Selected Publications

  1. Tian E, Wang S, Zhang L, Zhang Y, Malicdan MC, Mao Y, Christoffersen C, Tabak LA, Schjoldager KT, Ten Hagen KG. Galnt11 regulates kidney function by glycosylating the endocytosis receptor megalin to modulate ligand binding. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019;116(50):25196-25202.

  2. Reynolds HM, Zhang L, Tran DT, Ten Hagen KG. Tango1 coordinates the formation of endoplasmic reticulum/Golgi docking sites to mediate secretory granule formation. J Biol Chem. 2019;294(51):19498-19510.

  3. Ji S, Samara NL, Revoredo L, Zhang L, Tran DT, Muirhead K, Tabak LA, Ten Hagen KG. A molecular switch orchestrates enzyme specificity and secretory granule morphology. Nat Commun. 2018;9(1):3508.

  4. Zhang L, Turner B, Ribbeck K, Ten Hagen KG. Loss of the mucosal barrier alters the progenitor cell niche via Janus kinase/signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK/STAT) signaling. J Biol Chem. 2017;292(52):21231-21242.

  5. Tran DT, Masedunskas A, Weigert R, Ten Hagen KG. Arp2/3-mediated F-actin formation controls regulated exocytosis in vivo. Nat Commun. 2015;6:10098.

This page was last updated on February 20th, 2018