Michael P. Busch, MD, PhD

Institute Director, Senior VP of Research and Scientific Programs, Vitalant


Michael Busch


Dr. Busch is the Director of Vitalant Research Institute, Senior Vice President for Research & Scientific Programs of Vitalant, and Professor of Laboratory Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the UCSB, and his MS, MD and PhD degrees from the USC and completed his residency at UCSF.  He has played a leadership role in a number of national multi-center research studies funded by NIH and CDC contracts and has directed numerous NIH and CDC grant-funded studies based at the Research Institute and conducted in collaboration with UCSF, UCB and other national and international institutions. Dr. Busch has published nearly 500 peer-reviewed original scientific articles, and over 150 review articles, editorials and book chapters.

View a recent Q&A interview with Dr. Busch about his experience working at the Research Institute prior to our transition to Vitalant here

  • Contact
  • Current Positions
  • Links
  • Education and Training
  • Publications

Michael P. Busch, MD, PhD
Institute Director, Senior VP of Research and Scientific Programs, Vitalant
Click Here For Email  
Phone (415) 749-6615
Fax (415) 567-5899

  • Senior Vice President, Research and Scientific Affairs, Vitalant, Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Director, Vitalant Research Institute, San Francisco, California
  • Professor of Laboratory Medicine, University of California, San Francisco
  • 1977 BA, Pharmacology, University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), cum laude
  • 1982 MS, Experimental Pathology, University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles
  • 1982 MD, USC, magna cum laude
  • 1985 PhD, Experimental Pathology, USC
  • 1976 Edmondson Research Fellowship, USC
  • 1977 Cancer Center Research Fellowship, USC
  • 1978 Cancer Center Research Fellowship, USC
  • 1980 Cancer Center Research Fellowship, USC
  • 1982-1984 Internship/Residency, Anatomic Pathology, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)
  • 983-1984 Chief Resident, Anatomic Pathology, Veterans Administration Medical Center, San Francisco (SF VAMC)
  • 1984-1985 Residency, Laboratory Medicine, UCSF
  • 1985-1986 Chief Resident, Laboratory Medicine, UCS

Research Interests


My major research interests include the epidemiology, natural history, pathogenesis, and laboratory evaluation of transfusion-associated infections, blood safety implications of new and emerging viruses, and immunological consequences of transfusion. I have focused on a wide spectrum of transfusion-transmitted infectious diseases and immunological complications to enhance blood safety and to capitalize on the unique opportunities for natural history and pathogenesis research derived from identification of research subjects as a result of large-scale blood and plasma donor screening.


  • HIV - Diagnosis, Early Infection Staging, and Recency Testing for Estimating Incidence

    My early work focused on understanding the residual risk of HIV infection from transfusions after implementation of HIV antibody screening in 1985. I led studies using infected plasma donor seroconversion panels to perform cross sectional staging of acute and early HIV infection based on laboratory parameters, now known as the Fiebig Staging system. Later, while pursuing work to close the pre-seroconversion HIV window period to maximize blood safety, I developed a new approach to estimate HIV incidence.

  • Responses to Emerging Infectious Disease to Assure Blood Safety

    Despite dramatic progress over the past five decades in understanding and reducing risk from established transfusion-transmitted viral and parasitic infections, emerging infectious threats to blood safety continue to be identified. My team at the Research Institute, and collaborators in the REDS programs (the American Red Cross and globally), have responded to numerous blood safety threats with rigorous studies in multiple countries to verify and quantify rates of infected donations, and consequent risks of transmission to and disease outcomes in recipients.

  • Non-infectious Consequences of Blood Transfusions and Blood Donation

    Although my career initially focused on infectious diseases relevant to blood safety, over the decades I have led a number of studies on non-infectious consequences of transfusions as well as efficacy of transfusions and improvements in safety and efficacy consequent to advances in blood banking.