Affiliate Investigators

  • Mohamed Abdel-Mohsen
  • Charles Chiu
  • Angelo D'Alessandro
  • Shelley Facente
  • Steve Kleinman
  • Marion Lanteri
  • Nico Lelie
  • Willi McFarland
  • Shibani Pati
  • Daniel S Rosenbloom
  • Ester Sabino
  • Mark Seielstad
  • Christopher Silliman
  • Phil Spinella
  • Phillip Williamson

Mohamed Abdel-Mohsen PhD


Assistant Professor, Wistar Institute

Image of Charles Chiu

Charles Chiu, MD, PhD


Assistant Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)
Director, UCSF-Abbott Viral Diagnostics and Discovery Center
Associate Director, UCSF Clinical Microbiology Laboratory, San Francisco, California.



The research in Charles’s laboratory is focused on the development of microarray and next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies for pathogen discovery and infectious disease diagnosis. 


Charles received his MD, PhD degree in Biophysics from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2001 and subsequently completed an internal medicine residency and clinical infectious diseases fellowship at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).  As a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Joseph DeRisi at UCSF, he was instrumental in clinical and translational research applications of the ViroChip, a microarray for comprehensive detection and surveillance of viruses in clinical samples. 

Since founding the UCSF-Abbott Viral Diagnostics and Discovery Center (VDDC) and starting his own laboratory at UCSF in the Department of Laboratory Medicine in 2008, Charles reported the discovery of titi monkey adenovirus, a novel pathogen that caused a fulminant pneumonia outbreak in a New World monkey colony with cross-species transmission to a human researcher, and the Bas-Congo rhabdovirus, a novel virus associated with an acute hemorrhagic fever outbreak in central Africa. 


Currently, his laboratory is involved in a wide range of projects including:
(1) implementation of unbiased NGS assays for real-time clinical diagnosis in the microbiology laboratory,
(2) identification of known and novel viruses associated with acute hemorrhagic fever, tickborne illnesses, encephalitis, and hepatitis
(3) development and validation of a bloodborne pathogen microarray for blood bank screening, and
(4) development of cloud-compatible bioinformatics pipelines for pathogen detection in NGS data from clinical samples, and
(5) transcriptome profiling of acute and chronic Lyme disease.  


Charles is the principal investigator on multiple grants from the NIH and other institutions, and has more than 35 patents and peer-reviewed publications in major scientific journals.  He is currently collaborating with Drs. Eric Delwart, Satish Pillai, and Graham Simmons at the BSRI on projects involving pathogen discovery, metagenomics, viral quasispecies analysis, and characterization of the proteins of Bas-Congo rhabdovirus.


UCSF Faculty Profile

UCSF Viral Diagnostics & Discovery Center

UCSF Department of Laboratory Medicine Profile


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Angelo D'Alessandro,PhD

Affiliate Investigator, Vitalant Research Institute, Denver CO USA


Angelo D’Alessandro, PhD is an Assistant Professor and founder and director of the Metabolomics Core of the Schoool of Medicine at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Colorado Denver – Anschutz Medical Campus. He received his PhD at the Tuscia University (Italy) under the aegis of the Italina National Blood Center. His postdoctoral career focused on Mass Spectrometry-based Omics technologies at Bruker Daltonics (Bremen, Germany), the Beatson Institute for Cancer Center (Glasgow, Scotland) and the University of Colorado Denver (Aurora, USA).

He also serves as Linda Crnic Investigator for the Linda Crnic Institute of Down Syndrome. He is a founder and CSO of Omix Technologies Inc. and Altis Biosciences LLC. He serves as Associate Editor for the journal Blood Transfusion. He has been awarded the 2015 Scott Murphy lectureship by the Biomedical Excellence for Safer Transfusion (BEST) group, the Early Career grant by the National Blood Foundation (2016) and the 2017 Webb-Waring Early Career grant by the Boettcher Foundation. Age 33, he has published over 160 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

University of Denver Profile

Shelley Facente


Affiliate Investigator, Vitalant Research Institute
Principal Consultant, Facente Consulting
PhD student, Department of Epidemiology, University of California, Berkeley


Shelley Facente is a senior public health consultant with over a decade of experience working with government agencies, academic researchers, and community-based non-profits. With a focus on formative research, needs assessments, and evaluation, Shelley’s expertise spans a wide range of skill sets that help her clients understand, implement, and tell their story. In addition to her consulting work, Shelley serves as a project manager and clinical data coordinator for the Consortium for the Evaluation and Performance of HIV Incidence Assays (CEPHIA), a multinational consortium that brings together world leaders in the development, performance assessment and application of established and novel assays to identify recent HIV infection. The CEPHIA project team has worked closely with the WHO HIV Incidence Assays Working Group, the CDC, FHI 360, and others to further the use and application of HIV incidence assays on both a large population level and in individual clinical settings.


Research Interests:

  • HIV diagnostics and incidence testing
  • Hepatitis C epidemiology, prevention, and treatment

Steve Kleinman

Steve Kleinman, MD

Kleinman Biomedical Research, Victoria and Clinical Professor, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Centre for Blood Research, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC CANADA


Dr. Kleinman main interest is the intersection of scientific investigation and policy development particularly in the fields of transfusion safety, emerging pathogens, and TRALI. He chairs the Steering Committee of the NHLBI sponsored Recipient Epidemiology and Donor Evaluation Study-III (REDS-III) and was previously an investigator in several NHLBI-funded multicenter transfusion safety studies (TSS, REDS, and REDS-II) spanning 30 years. He has published over 175 peer-reviewed scientific articles, 20 book chapters, and co-edited two textbooks. He currently co-edits the transfusion medicine section of Up To Date.


Research Interests:

  • Transfusion Medicine
  • Blood Safety

Marion Lanteri

Marion Lanteri, PhD

Director Scientific Affairs, Cerus Corporation, Concord CA USA
Affiliate Investigator, Vitalant Research Institute, San Francisco CA USA
Assistant Adjunct Professor, University of California San Francisco CA USA


With more than 16 years of training in basic science, Marion Lanteri Ph.D. acquired expertise in virology and molecular/cell biology during her Ph.D. training in France while working on glycan modifications in a context of HIV infection. Dr. Lanteri was a lecturer in immunology and virology (specializing in HIV and emerging pathogens) for students attending the Master’s degree program of biochemistry from the University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis, France.


She gained expertise in human immunology during her post-doctoral training at Vitalant Research Institute (formerly named Blood System Research Institute) while working on T cell responses to West Nile virus (WNV) in blood donors. After her post-doctoral fellowship, her primary research focus remained WNV and extended to dengue virus (DENV) infection in humans. As a Co-Investigator and the Project Manager for the multi-center study titled “Viral/Immune parameters of Dengue and WNV in donors: blood safety implications”, Dr. Lanteri helped build repositories of biospecimens collected from longitudinal cohorts of WNV+ and DENV+ blood donors and characterized for immune and viral parameters, in order to inform the WNV and DENV screening guidelines.


Comparing the dynamics of immune and viral parameters in asymptomatic and symptomatic blood donors infected with WNV or DENV, Dr. Lanteri characterized the immune profiles associated with asymptomatic versus symptomatic disease outcomes as well as with viral persistence. Dr. Lanteri was also trained by Dr. Bernard in using the murine model and together they evaluated the remaining risk of WNV transfusion-transmission using the murine model to complement our studies of blood donors. Dr. Lanteri is also interested in using the OMICS approach to identify predictive markers of disease outcome and new therapeutic targets.

Dr. Lanteri played the role of Study Coordinator for several multi-center studies including the Central Laboratory portion of the “Recipient Epidemiology and Donor Evaluation Study (REDS)-III” supported by the NHLBI and as one of the REDS-III investigators, she has led several REDS-III studies addressing a variety of questions on the safety of blood donations and transfusions from both the donor and the recipient points of view.   


Dr. Lanteri now serves as Director Scientific Affairs at Cerus Corporation while remaining an Affiliate Investigator at VRI, participating in ongoing research with the REDS-III group of investigators on: i) Zika virus persistence using samples collected longitudinally from ZIKV-infected donors and ii) the red blood cell storage lesion through the RBC-Omics project.


Nico Lelie, PhD

Lelie Research, Paris FRANCE

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Willi McFarland, MD, PhD, MPH, & TM

Director HIV Epidemiology Section, San Francisco Department of Public Health
Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco
Faculty, UCSF Global Health Sciences, Prevention and Public Health Group


UCSF Faculty Profile

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Shibani Pati, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine, University of California San Francisco (UCSF)


I am a vascular biologist with an interest in the role of endothelial dysfunction and vascular compromise in the pathogenesis of human disease. My specific areas of investigation involve the use of stem cells and novel resuscitative modalities that can mitigate endothelial dysfunction in traumatic injury.

Abnormalities in vascular permeability leading to inflammation, tissue edema, and end-organ dysfunction significantly contribute to the morbidity and mortality associated with a number of human disease processes. For example, although a number of factors contribute to the high mortality and morbidity associated with traumatic brain injury (TBI), the development of cerebral edema with brain swelling remains one of the most significant predictors of outcome. Similarly both hemorrhagic shock and septic shock are characterized by abnormal vascular permeability, which contributes to the development of shock-associated acute lung injury (ALI) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Despite the clear importance of abnormal vascular permeability in a number of human disease processes, there exists no therapeutic modality in current use to attenuate it.


Research Interests:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
  • Endotheliopathy of Trauma (EOT)
  • Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)
  • Hemorrhagic Shock
  • Novel Blood Products
  • Pathogen Reduction
  • Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)

UCSF Faculty Profile

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Daniel Scholes Rosenbloom, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Department of Systems Biology and Department of Biomedical Informatics, Columbia University Medical Center
Affiliate Investigator, Vitalant Research Institute


Daniel Scholes Rosenbloom, Ph.D., is a mathematical biologist working at the intersection of evolutionary biology and human disease. While a graduate student at the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard University, he created mathematical modeling methods to predict outcomes of HIV therapy. As a postdoctoral research scientist in Columbia University Medical Center, he has continued to develop statistical and population genetic tools to advance HIV cure strategies, while also incorporating evolutionary modeling concepts into other disease areas. In particular, he is developing computational methods to interpret cancer genomic data and to track within-host pathogen evolution. As an affiliate of VRI, Dr. Rosenbloom is building a Bayesian approach to validate infection assays, contributing to the RAVEN project on ultra-sensitive HIV detection and measurement. In 2017, he will join the Quantitative Pharmacology and Pharmacometrics group at Merck. 

Research interests:

  • Within-host viral evolution before and during treatment, especially for study of long-term HIV treatment
  • Bayesian statistical methods in cancer genomics and infection assays
  • Combining approaches from the "big data" world of cancer genomics and the "medium-size data" world of mechanistic disease modeling

Daniel Rosenbloom Website

Ester C. Sabino, MD, PhD

Director of the Institute of Tropical Medicine of the University of Sao Paulo
Associate Professor at the Department of Infectious Disease, University of Sao Paulo Medical School, BRAZIL


Research Interests:

  • Blood Borne Infectious Disease
  • Blood Safety
  • Chagas Disease
  • HIV Diversity
  • Sickle cell disease


Instituto de Medicina Tropical
USP Medicina

Photo of Mark Seielstad


Affiliate Investigator, Vitalant Research Institute
Professor, Institute for Human Genetics and Department of Laboratory Medicine, University of California, San Francisco
Adjunct Investigator, Genome Institute of Singapore


For the last decade, Mark Seielstad, Ph.D., has been at the forefront of research in human and medical genetics and genetic epidemiology. While a postdoctoral fellow and, later, a faculty member at the Harvard School of Public Health, Dr. Seielstad accomplished a transition from the anthropological and evolutionary genetics of his doctoral training to the related field of medical genetics and genetic epidemiology. This led to a nearly 8 year stint at the Genome Institute of Singapore, where he rose to become the Senior Group Leader and Associate Director of Human Genetics. While there, he built and ran a high-throughput genomics and computational lab centered on the genome-wide genotyping and analysis of SNP variation as it relates to common, primarily immune-related diseases of importance to public health. Now at BSRI in San Francisco, Dr. Seielstad continues his search for human genetic variation that alters susceptibility to and outcomes of infections caused by pathogens of importance to the blood supply. Additional efforts aim to gain insight into the genetic causes of pregnancy and transfusion related alloimmunization. A third research initiative seeks to address a wide variety of other genetic questions of health and disease that are inherently answerable in large cohorts of blood donors and recipients.



Research Interests:


  • Identifying human genetic variation altering risk of disease - especially susceptibility to infectious diseases, autoimmunity, and metabolic diseases (i.e., Type 2 Diabetes).
  • High-Throughput genomic technologies, especially DNA sequencing and SNP genotyping.
  • Anthropological and population genetics, applied to questions of modern human origins and subsequent migrations and local adaptations.

UCSF Institute for Human Genetics Profile

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Christopher C. Silliman, MD, PhD

Affiliate Investigator, Vitalant Research Institute, Denver CO USA


Chris Silliman received his Doctor of Medicine from Tulane University School of Medicine in 1985 and his Doctorate in Cell and Molecular Biology from Tulane University Graduate School, New Orleans LA in 1987. He completed Residency training in General Pediatrics at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA in 1989 and his Fellowship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Bone Marrow transplantation at Colorado Children’s Hospital, Aurora, CO in 1992.

He is currently a tenured Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and has a joint appointment in the Department of Surgery at the School of Medicine University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, CO. He is also a Senior Independent Investigator in the Research Laboratory, Bonfils Blood Center, Denver, CO and an attending Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist at Colorado Children’s Hospital, Aurora, CO.

His basic research interests include inflammation and innate immunity, receptor-mediated signaling in neutrophils and vascular endothelium, lipid biochemistry, and Transfusion Medicine with emphasis on transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI) and resuscitation following injury. His clinical interests include the etiology of the acute chest syndrome in children with sickle cell anemia and the role of intermediate altitude on children with sickle cell anemia and its (intermediate altitude) role in coagulation with specific regard to venous thromboembolic formation.

Chris has published >240 papers in peer-reviewed journals, has >300 presentations at national and international meetings. He has trained >40 physicians in basic science and translational research. Chris has also been fortunate to have received >20 years of extramural funding. He serves as a reviewer for ~20 journals, is a past member of the Editorial Board of Blood, sits on the Scientific Committee for Transfusion Medicine for the American Society of Hematology National Meeting, and is the Transfusion Medicine Editor for HemOnc Today. He and his wife Lori have 3 children: Harper 17, Maggie 15, and Emily 12.

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Phil Spinella, MD, FCCM

Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Director, Critical Care Translational Research Program, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine


Research Interests:

  • Blood product storage lesion effects on microvasculature and clinical outcomes;
  • Coagulation monitoring


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Phillip Williamson, PhD

Vice President, Scientific Affairs, Creative Testing Solutions (CTS), Tempe, Arizona


Research Interests:

  • Development of rapid nucleic acid and immunologic diagnostic systems for vector-borne pathogens
  • Development of methods and tools for the rapid assessment of disease outbreaks
  • Metagenomic analysis of hematophagus arthropod microbiomes
  • Horizontal gene transfer in spotted fevers