Mars Stone, PhD, is a Senior Scientist at Vitalant Research Institute and Director of the Viral Reference Laboratory and Repository Core. Dr. Stone joined VRI 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
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.
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.