Viral Reference Lab and Repository





Mars Stone, PhD, is a Senior Scientist at BSRI and Director of the Viral Reference Laboratory and Repository Core. Dr.  Stone joined BSRI after completing graduate and post doctoral work at the University of California, Davis, investigating rhesus macaque models of HIV vaccines. Currently research interests revolve around transfusion-transmitted viruses, blood screening and diagnostics assays, and transfusion efficacy. The Stone lab leads a range of multicenter clinical and translational studies in these areas.

  • Director: Mars Stone, PhD

    Director: Mars Stone, PhD

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Mars Stone, PhD
270 Masonic Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94118
Click Here For Email  
Phone: (415) 354 1389
Fax: (415) 775-3859

The Viral Reference Laboratory and Repository Core leads the development and operations of the BSRI Biorepository is a comprehensive biobank that supports basic and translational research of internal, domestic and international collaborators. The Core maintains repositories for a number of domestic and international studies, manages study operations and sample testing, and performs pilot studies for study protocol development and research. The VRLRC has expertise in study design, execution and operations, and provides these services through scientific collaboration and consultation. Key functions of the Core are to collect, process and store well-characterized biospecimens, access the comprehensive Biorepository for the development and validation of screening and diagnostic assays, and enable virological and immunological studies. The department serves as liaison to and interfaces with internal and external investigators on both small and large multicenter studies to manage and access samples and to coordinate biospecimen collection and processing. It also provides oversight and management of operations of the biorepository.

Image of Nelly Gefter

Nelly Gefter 
Research Associate II

Image of Honey Dave

Honey Dave
Research Associate II

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Inderdeep Singh 
Research Associate I


Image of Kristen Valanoski

Kristen Valanoski 
Research Associate I


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Joseph Lau 
Research Associate I

Research Interests


    The Reservoir Assay Validation and Evaluation Study will enroll and collect leukapheresis-derived samples from ART-suppressed HIV+ individuals to address three aims: 1) to conduct a validation study of the current and next generation of viral outgrowth assays, 2) to rigorously evaluate the performance characteristics (e.g., sensitivity, specificity, reproducibility and precision) of currently established and novel molecular and immunological assays for HIV reservoir detection and quantitation using coded panels and 3) to compare performance of these assays when applied to clinical samples from representative cohorts of ART-suppressed patients with clade B and clade infection.

  • REDS - III Program

    The Recipient Epidemiology and Donor Evaluation Study-III (REDS-III) US natural history cohort of Zika virus RNA positive blood donors, a collaboration with CDC, was launched in June 2016 with the aim of enrolling up to 130 blood donors found to be RNA positive for the Zika virus upon screening in Puerto Rico and the continental US. Participants are followed at regular intervals during a period of up to 12 months for persistence and outcomes of Zika virus infection. The study will characterize viral and serological markers of early stages of asymptomatic Zika virus infection, study the evolution of viral markers, and establish a biorepository of blood, urine, saliva, and semen samples.


    The External Quality Assurance Program Oversight Laboratory (EQAPOL) Viral Diversity program was created with the goal of generating a HIV Diversity panel representative of the global genetic diversity of contemporaneous isolates to address the challenges posed by the significant diversity among HIV-1 variants for vaccine development and for developing sensitive assays for screening, surveillance, diagnosis, and clinical management. EQAPOL isolates, characterizes and establishes panels of HIV-1 strains representing global diverse subtypes and circulating recombinant forms (CRFs), and to make them available to the research community.