Philip J. Norris, MD

Director, VRI, Laboratory Science



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Philip Norris, MD, is the Director of Laboratory Science at Vitalant Research Institute (VRI) San Francisco, a UCSF-affiliated research institute and a division of Vitalant, one of the nation's oldest and largest non-profit blood service providers, as well as Adjunct Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Norris earned his BA and BS degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, his MD degree from the College of Physician & Surgeons at Columbia University, and completed his residency in internal medicine at Duke University Medical Center and fellowship in infectious diseases at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Norris has received numerous academic awards and was the recipient of a Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Clinical Scientist Development Award in 2000. 

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  • Director, Laboratory Science, Vitalant Research Institute, San Francisco, California
  • Vice President, Research and Scientific Affairs, Vitalant, Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Adjunct Professor, UCSF Department of Laboratory Medicine
  • Clinical Professor, UCSF Department of Medicine
  • Associate Director, UCSF / Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology Center for AIDS Research 
  • B.A., Molecular Biology, University of California at Berkeley
  • B.S., Bioengineering, University of California at Berkeley
  • M.D., College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University
  • Intern in Internal Medicine, The Presbyterian Hospital, New York City, Columbia University
  • Resident in Internal Medicine, Duke University Medical Center
  • Infectious Disease Fellow, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School
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Erika Marques de Menezes
Post Doctoral Fellow
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Phone:(415) 923-5771 ext.195

Research Interests


The Norris lab research interests focus on how the human immune system responds to viral infections and transfusion.  Early efforts centered on defining how HIV-specific CD4+ T cells contribute to control of viral infection.  A second area of interest has been defining the earliest events of viral infections through study of subjects with HIV, West Nile virus, and hepatitis viruses.  More recent projects include understanding how blood transfusion affects the immune system and modulates immune responses in transfusion recipients, including the role extracellular vesicles play in immune modulation.

  • Viral Immunology

    Transfusion medicine is linked to multiple viral infections, including persistent viruses like HIV and hepatitis B and C, as well as emerging arboviral infections like West Nile virus, Zika virus, and others.  Our goal is to understand the acute immune response associated with viral infections to better identify and interdict these pathogens to increase blood safety, as well as to capitalize to access to subjects identified at the earliest point of infection to better understand the generation of effective immune responses against acute and chronic viral infections.

  • Transfusion Immunology

    Blood transfusion is a life-saving intervention when required, but the procedure also carries risks to the recipient beyond the risk of infection.  Possible complications include developing immune responses against the blood donor (alloimmunization), as well as adverse reactions such as transfusion related acute lung injury (TRALI).  Our group has focused on understanding the immune effects of transfusion and how these are modulated by interventions such as pathogen reduction technologies.

  • Extracellular Vesicles and Immune Signaling

    Long considered uninteresting cellular debris, it is now appreciated that extracellular vesicles (EVs) can play a major role in intercellular signaling.  EVs can arise from endogenous production pathways (exosomes) or bud from the cell surface (ectosomes, or microvesicles).  These particles can be harnessed by viruses to deliver immune signals to cells in trans.  In addition, EVs are generated in blood products, and these EVs can modulate immune responses in cells exposed to the EVs.