The mission of the Epidemiology Core is to perform epidemiological research within Vitalant on blood donors toward assuring a safe and adequate blood supply; support additional research and operational projects requiring epidemiology, statistics, and database analytics expertise within VRI and more broadly to Vitalant, Creative Testing Solutions and their collaborators; and provide service as a data coordinating center for extramurally-funded projects. The Epidemiology Core maintains a donor/donation research database and a blood donation laboratory-screening database for all centers in the Vitalant network, provides ad hoc epidemiology, statistical, and analytic consulting to VRI and non-VRI collaborators, and offers data coordinating and management services for projects with extramural funding.

  • Co - Director: <br> Roberta Bruhn, MS, PhD

    Co - Director:
    Roberta Bruhn, MS, PhD

  • Co - Director: <br>Anne Guiltinan, MA, LMFT

    Co - Director:
    Anne Guiltinan, MA, LMFT

  • Contact
  • Core Services
  • Research Interests
  • Publications
  • Core Team

Roberta Bruhn, MS, PhD

Blood Systems Research Institute
270 Masonic Ave
San Francisco, CA 94118
Click Here For Email  
Phone: (415) 923-5771 ext. 189


Anne Guiltinan, MA, LMFT

Blood Systems Research Institute
270 Masonic Ave
San Francisco, CA 94118
Click Here For Email  
Phone: (415) 923-5771 ext.517

Epidemiology and Statistics Consulation Support

We provide consultation regarding study design, human subjects research requirements, questionnaire content, sample size calculation, data collection and management, and statistical analysis techniques on an ongoing basis. Complete statistical analysis of projects as well as manuscript review and editing are also provided.


Database Analytics and Statistics Support

We provide database and data linkage support, as well as statistical analysis to colleagues and collaborators for manuscripts and presentations. Support for ArcGIS projects is also available.


Data Coordinating Center (DCC) Support

We provide complete study management and logistical support for research projects of any size.

The Epidemiology Core is extensively involved in the REDS-III Project:


Research Interests

Peer Reviewed Publications

Bahrami SH, Guiltinan AM, Schlumpf KS, Scott E, Banks LL, D'Andrea P, Hartman EL, Vij V, Wright DJ, Spencer B, Murphy EL; NHLBI Retrovirus Epidemiology Donor Study-II. Donation frequency of blood donors participating in a prospective cohort study of iron status. Transfusion 2011;51:1207-12.

Lanteri, M.C., Kaidarova, Z., Peterson, T., Cate, S., Custer, B., Wu, S., Agapova, M., Law, J.P., Bielawny, T., Plummer, F., Tobler, L.H., Loeb, M., Busch, M.P., Bramson, J., Luo, M., Norris, P.J. Association between HLA class I and class II alleles and the outcome of West Nile virus infection: an exploratory study. PLoS One. 2011; 6(8): e22948.

Douceron, E., Kaidarova, Z., Miyazato, P., Matsuoka, M., Murphy, E.L., Mahieux, R. HTLV-2 APH-2 expression is correlated with proviral load but APH-2 does not promote lymphocytosis. J Infect Dis 2012;205:82-86.

Custer, B., Agapova, M., Bruhn, R., Cusick, R., Kamel, H., Tomasulo, P., Biswas, H., Tobler, L., Lee, T.H., Caglioti, S., and Busch, M. Epidemiologic and laboratory findings from 3 years of testing United States blood donors for Trypanosoma cruzi. Transfusion 2012;52:1901-1911.

van den Berg, K., Lam, J., Bruhn, R., Custer, B., and Murphy, E.L. Water administration and the risk of syncope and presyncope during blood donation: a randomized clinical trial. Transfusion 2012;52:2577-2584. PMCID: PMC3404162.

Guiltinan, A.M., Kaidarova, Z., Behan, D., Marosi, C., Hutching, S., Kaiser, M., Moore, E., Devita, D., Murphy, E.L.; for the HTLV Outcomes Study (HOST). Major depression and generalized anxiety disorder among human T-lymphotropic virus Types I- and II-infected former blood donors. Transfusion 2013;53:60-68.

Ngo, L., Bruhn, R., and Custer, B. Risk perception and its role in attitudes toward blood transfusion: a qualitative systematic review. Transfusion Medicine Reviews 2013;27:119-128.

Bruhn, R., Lelie, N., Custer, B., Busch, M., Kleinman, S., and the International NAT Study Group. Prevalence of HIV RNA and antibody in first, lapsed, and repeat blood donations across five international regions and relative efficacy of alternative screening scenarios. Transfusion 2013;53:2399-2412.

Lelie, N., Bruhn, R., Custer, B., Busch, M., Kleinman, S., and the International Individual Donation NAT Study Group. Efficacy and cost effectiveness of nucleic acid amplification testing (NAT) and serologic screening in preventing HBV, HCV and HIV transmission risk. Mexican Journal of Transfusion Medicine 2013;6:37-39.

Chang YB, Kaidarova Z, Hindes D, Bravo M, Kiely N, Kamel H, Dubay D, Hoose B, Murphy EL. Seroprevalence and Demographic Determinants of Human T-Lymphotropic Virus Type-1 and -2 Infections among First-time Blood Donors, U.S. 2000-2009. J Infect Dis 2014;209(4):523-31.

Miranda C, Moreno E, Bruhn R, Larsen NM, Wright DJ, Oliveira CDL, Carneiro-Proietti ABF, Loureiro P, de Almeida-Neto C, Custer B, Sabino EC, and Goncalez TT for the NHLBI Retrovirus Epidemiology Donor Study-II (REDS-II), International Component. Knowledge of HIV testing and attitudes towards blood donation at three blood centres in Brazil. Vox Sanguinis 2014;106:344-353. PMCID: PMC4455888.

Bloch EM, Shah A, Kaidarova Z, Laperche S, Lefrere JJ, van Hasselt J, Zacharias P, Murphy EL; the Anglophone Africa Transfusion Research Group. A pilot external quality assurance study of transfusion screening for HIV, HCV and HBsAG in 12 African countries. Vox Sang 2014;107(4):333-42.

Custer B, Bravo M, Bruhn R, Land K, Tomasulo P, and Kamel H. Predictors of hemoglobin recovery or deferral in blood donors with an initial successful donation. Transfusion 2014;54(9):2267-75.

Bloch E, Cohn C, Bruhn R, Hirschler N, and Nguyen K. A cross-sectional pilot study of blood utilization in twenty-seven hospitals in Northern California. Am J Clin Pathol. 2014 Oct;142(4):498-505.

Bloch E, Busch M, Lee T-H, Montalvo L, Matthews Y, Bird A, Bruhn R, and Stefan V. Microchimerism in the transfused obstetric population. Vox Sanguinis 2014;107(4):428-30.

Kane MA, Bloch E, Bruhn R, Kaidarova Z, and Murphy EL. Demographic determinants of syphilis seroprevalence among U.S. blood donors, 2011-2012. BMC Infect Dis. 2015 Feb 15;15:63. PMCID: PMC4369345.

Bruhn R, Custer B, Vanderpool S, Townsend M, Kamel H, and Tomasulo P. Impact of increasing sample volume from 4 ml to 8 ml on bacterial detection rates in apheresis platelets: a meta-analysis. Vox Sang 2015;108(3):318-20.

Rahbar E, Cardenas JC, Baimukanova G, Usadi B, Bruhn R, Pati S, Ostrowski SR, Johansson PI, Holcomb JB, Wade CE. Endothelial glycocalyx shedding and vascular permeability in severely injured trauma patients. J Transl Med. 2015 Apr;13:117. PMCID: PMC4397670.

Bruhn R, Lelie N, Busch M, Kleinman S and the International NAT Study Group. Relative efficacy of nucleic acid amplification testing and serologic screening in preventing hepatitis C virus transmission risk in seven international regions. Transfusion 2015;55(6):1195-205.

Gibb SL, Zhao Y, Potter D, Hylin MJ, Bruhn R, Baikumanova G, Zhao J, Xue H, Abdel-Mohsen M, Pillai SK, Moore AN, Johnson EM, Cox CS, Dash PK, and Pati S. TIMP3 attenuates the loss of neural stem cells, mature neurons and neurocognitive dysfunction in Traumatic Brain Injury. Stem Cells. 2015;33(12):3530-44. PMID: 26299440.

Li L, Deng X, Da Costa AC, Bruhn R, Deeks SG and Delwart, E. Virome analysis of antiretroviral-treated HIV patients shows no correlation between T-cell activation and anelloviruses levels. J Clin Virol. 2015;72:106-13. PMID: 26479202; NIHMSID: NIHMS728851; PMCID: PMC4697764.

Vo M, Bruhn R, Kaidarova Z, Custer B, Murphy EL, and Bloch E. A retrospective analysis of false positive infectious screening results in blood donors. Transfusion. 2016 Feb;56(2):457-65. doi: 10.1111/trf.13381. PMID: 26509432.

Baimukanova G, Miyazawa B, Potter D, Muench M, Bruhn R, Gibb SL, Spinella PC, Cap AP, Cohen M, Pati S. Platelets Regulate Vascular Endothelial Stability: Assessing the Storage Lesion and Donor Variability of Apheresis Platelets. Transfusion 2016 Mar;56 Suppl 1:S65-75. doi: 10.1111/trf.13532.

Baikumanova G, Miyazawa B, Potter, D, Gibb S, Keating S, Danesh A, Beyer A, Dayter Y, Bruhn R, Muench M, Cap AP, Norris PJ, Spinella P, Cohen M, and Pati S. The effects off 22 and 4C storage of platelets on vascular endothelial integrity and function. Transfusion 2016 Mar;56 Suppl 1:S52-64. doi: 10.1111/trf.13455.

Bloch EM, Levin AE, Williamson PC, Cyrus S, Shaz B, Kessler D, Gorlin J, Bruhn R, Lee TH, Montalvo L and Busch MP. A prospective evaluation of chronic B. microti infection in seroreactive blood donors. Transfusion. 2016 Jul;56(7):1875-82. doi: 10.1111/trf.13617. PMID: 27184253.

Simmons G, Brès V, Lu K, Liss NM, Brambilla DJ, Ryff KR, Bruhn R, Ocampo D, Linnen JM, Latoni G, Petersen LR, Williamson PC and Busch MP. High chikungunya virus incidence and frequency of viremic blood donations in Puerto Rico during 2014 epidemic. EID, 2016;22(7):1221-8. doi: 10.3201/eid2207.160116. PMID: 27070192.

Usadi B, Bruhn R, Lin J, Lee TH, Blackburn E, and Murphy EL. Telomere length, proviral load and neurologic impairment in HTLV-1 and HTLV-2-infected subjects. Viruses. 2016 Aug 11;8(8). pii: E221. doi: 10.3390/v8080221; PMID: 27529270.

Bruhn R, Moreno E, Sabino E, Ferreira NAF, Carneiro-Proietti AB, Lopes ME, Sampaio D, Loureiro P, Custer B and Goncalez TT for the NHLBI Retrovirus Epidemiology Donor Study-II (REDS-II) International Component. Self-reported Historic HIV Testing in a Brazilian Blood Donor HIV Case/Control Study. Transfusion, September 2016 doi: 10.1111/trf.13792. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 27716930.

Bialkowski W, Bruhn R, Edgren G, and Papanek P. Citrate anticoagulation: are blood donors donating bone? J Clin Apher. 2016 Oct;31(5):459-63. doi: 10.1002/jca.21438. PMID: 26607494.

Lelie N, Bruhn R, Busch M, Vermeulen M, Tso W-C, Kleinman S and the International NAT Study Group. Detection of different categories of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in a multi-regional study comparing the clinical sensitivity of HBsAg and HBV DNA testing. Transfusion, 2017 Jan;57(1):24-35. doi: 10.1111/trf.13819. PMID: 27673757.

Prugger C, Laperche S, Murphy EL, Bloch EM, Kaidarova Z, Tafflet M, Lefrere JJ, Jouven X. Screening for transfusion transmissible infections using rapid diagnostic tests in Africa: a potential hazard to blood safety? Vox Sang. 2016 Feb;110(2):196-8. doi: 10.1111/vox.12327. Epub 2015 Dec 8. DOI: 10.1111/vox.12327; PMCID: PMC5061037; PMID: 26646317.

Book Chapters

Murphy EL, Bruhn R.  Human T cell leukemia viruses types 1 & 2.  In Kaslow, R., Stanberry, L. LeDuc, J., eds. Viral Infections in Humans: Epidemiology and Control 5th ed. New York, NY:Springer; 2014.

Murphy EL, Bruhn R.  Human T-cell lymphotropic virus.  In Bennett, J., Dolin, R., Blaser, M., eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett’s Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA:Elsevier; 2014.

Bruhn R, Mahieux R, Murphy EL. Human Lymphotropic viruses: HTLV-1 and HTLV-2. In Richman DD, Whitley RJ, and Hayden, FG, eds. Clinical Virology, 4th ed. Washington, DC:ASM Press, 2017. doi:10.1128/9781555819439

Image of Thelma Goncalez

Thelma T. Goncalez, MD, PhD
Senior Scientist
Click Here For Email  
Phone: (415) 749 - 6685

  • Thelma T. Goncalez, MD, PhD, is a Senior Scientist at Vitalant Research Institute (VRI) and Study Coordinator for the Recipient Epidemiology and Donor Evaluation Study III (REDS-III) - International Component Brazil. Dr. Goncalez received her Ph.D. at the University of São Paulo Medical School in São Paulo, Brazil. She is a physician with primary expertise in pediatrics and ICU pediatrics. In addition, she has extensive experience in blood banking, with a focus on transfusion transmitted diseases, health policy, epidemiology and hemovigilance. Dr. Goncalez conducts interdisciplinary research in the field of donor epidemiology and blood safety, particularly with test-seeking donors and Volunteer Counseling and Testing Centers (VCT).
  • Click Here to read more about Dr. Goncalez
Image of Daniel Hindes

Daniel Hindes, BA
Research Associate II
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Phone: (415) 923 - 5771 ext.306

Daniel A. Hindes, BA has filled a variety of different roles at VRI, from administrative assistant and Fellowship Program Coordinator, to study subject recruiter and database coordinator in REDS II and III, to questionnaire designer, utilizing both web-based and scannable forms, for nationwide studies in the United States, Brazil, and South Africa.

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Zhanna Kaidarova
Statistician II
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Phone: (415) 923 - 5771 ext.455

Zhanna Kaidarova, MA, MBA works as a statistician at VRI for over 10 years and has been engaged in various studies including HOST, WNV, ZIKA, REDS III, TTIMS, performing SAS analytical programming, data management, quality control, and reporting for research projects

Image of Claire Quiner

Claire Quiner
Scientific Project Manager
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Phone: (415) 923 - 5771 ext.265

Claire A. Quiner, MPH, MCP, administers to the Transfusion Transmittable Infectious Disease Monitoring System (TTIMS), maintaining collaborations between the VRI and collaborators across the country. She contributes to designing data flow networks, organizing systems, and communicating TTIMS-related information across agencies. Her research background and interests include the intersection of emerging infectious diseases and cities in light of changing world patterns, i.e. climate change, planned and unplanned urbanization and human migration. By merging virology, spatial epidemiology and predictive modelling, she considerers prevention mechanisms for infectious diseases epidemics.