The Research Institute is dedicated to advancing blood safety worldwide through scientific research, education and the promotion of evidence-based policies.
Established more than 50 years ago, the Research Institute has become a world-renowned institute engaged in research ranging from blood donor epidemiology to cellular therapy to virus discovery.
The Research Institute has state-of-the-art equipment to support research related to blood and blood product safety in the areas of molecular biology, immunology, virology, tissue culture, cell processing and epidemiology.
The Research Institute supports the education and training of the next generation of researchers through fellowships, internships, mentoring and classes conducted in San Francisco and around the world.
Dr. Michael Busch principal investigator for the RBC-Omics Study, and his partners at RTI and NHLBI provided a summary of the study’s early findings. The study investigates genetic variations in donors and its’ effects on blood storage and cell function. These findings might open the door to a future in which donor genotype is taken into account. Read more about the research here.
In a recent article published by The Guardian, Dr. Pillai discusses how HIV-infected cells are able to ‘hide’ in the body, and are now being identified and destroyed in a novel strategy. This strategy for finding and destroying this last reservoir of hiding cells could be the key –or holy grail – to eradicating the virus. Read more about the research here.
Dr. Johnson Tran, of Dr. Jackman's lab, received the award for Top Poster at the annual AABB Conference held in Boston. The presentation abstract titled, “Pathogen Reduction of Platelet Rich Plasma Abrogates T Cell Alloresponse in Mice” demonstrated how allogeneic CD4+ and CD8+ T cell activation and effector responses were significantly diminished after pathogen reduction with UV+R treatment. Read more about the AABB Conference here.
Earlier this summer, Pooja Bhardwaj, PhD, was awarded the Cynthia Bolovan-Fritts Research Excellence Award at the 9th annual Bay Area Symposium on Viruses held at UC Berkeley. The award is presented annually to an up-and-coming researcher with the best poster at the symposium.
Bethesda, Md. – AABB announced today the names of the transfusion medicine and cellular therapy leaders who will be receiving the Association’s 2019 Memorial Awards. Award recipients will be recognized during the AABB Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Oct. 19-22.
NHLBI of the NIH awarded VRI multiple seven-year contracts for the next evolution of Transfusion Medicine research that will be conducted under REDS. This is the fourth phase (REDS-IV-P) of funding for the REDS programs that VRI/BSRI has received from NHLBI since 1989, making the research institute a 30-year partner in the REDS project history.
In the recent issue of Cell Host & Microbe, Dr. Jin et al report that some anti-CHIKV neutralizing mAbs inhibit the budding step of the CHIKV replication cycle by inducing crosslinking of viral GPs at the PM. It is demonstrated that anti-CHIKV neutralizing mAbs crosslink viral GPs at the PM of infected cells, preventing envelopment of nucleocapsids and causing the accumulation of arrested nucleocapsids in the cytosol. Watch here.
Dr. Roubinian receives the award for Best Oral Abstract Presentation at the European Donor Health and Outcomes Congress in Copenhagen. The presentation abstract titled, “Influence of Donor, Component, and Recipient Factors on Efficacy of Erythrocyte Transfusions” examined the role of blood donor, component and transfusion recipient factors on hemoglobin increments following red blood cell transfusion. Read more about the ECDHM Congress here.
Dr. Busch received the first annual IPFA Award at the 25th International Workshop held in Athens, Greece to recognize his exceptional scientific contributions to the study and prevention of Transfusion Transmitted Infections. Read more about the award and the selection process here.
The International Society of Blood Transfusion (ISBT) has recently announced that the Foundation of Transfusion Medicine has granted the ISBT Presidential Award to Dr. Michael Busch, the Director of BSRI. This award is granted to those who have made eminent contributions to transfusion medicine through original research, the practice of transfusion therapy and significant service contributions to the field. Read more about the award and the selection process here.
In collaboration with UCLA, NIH and scientists within the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), we have recently demonstrated that survivors of the first recorded outbreak of Ebola virus maintain potent protective immune responses over 40 years after infection. The BSRI Simmons Lab performed serological analysis for evidence of Ebola infection. Multiple serological assays such as ELISA were utilized for multiple virus proteins and algorithms for determining reactivity based on more than one assay. Read more about the serological assays developed for Ebola here.
In a recent interview, Michael Busch discusses the FDA and CDC’s decision to require Zika testing for all blood donors. Those donations infected with Zika are flagged, and the nationwide testing allowed Busch and his team to pull samples and follow up with donors to try to enroll them in research studies, such as REDS-III Zika, helping to further assure the safety of the nation’s blood supply.
Dr. Satish Pillai and collaborators from the Gladstone Institutes, Stanford, UCSF, and Johns Hopkins University are taking on the challenge of identifying biomarkers that could speed up the development of a cure for HIV-infected individuals. To find biomarkers, the researchers will use banked blood and plasma samples from HIV-infected volunteers who participated in various clinical trials.
[Image posted with permission from Gladstone Institutes]
Dr. Custer discusses the early effects of the FDA’s policy change observed within BSI blood centers from an indefinite donor deferral to a 1-year deferral for men who have sex with men (MSM). In this preliminary analysis, while the sample size is small, as expected the early data suggest higher rates of prevalent infection in some first time MSM donors. Longer periods of post-implementation data collection are necessary to be able to answer the most important question of whether there has been any change in the residual risk of infections in donated blood.
[Image posted with permission from AABB]
Dr. Custer received the 2017 Hemphill-Jordan Leadership Award at the AABB annual meeting for his long-term contributions to blood safety research since 2003, and his significant influence in helping U.S. policy-makers revise and set blood donation regulations. Through his consistent willingness to lend expertise and mentorship to colleagues and peers around the world, Custer was a worthy recipient for the award that honors leaders in transfusion medicine and cellular therapy.
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