Affiliate Investigators

 

Mohamed Abdel-Mohsen PhD

MOHAMED ABDEL-MOHSEN PHD

Assistant Professor, Wistar Institute

Charles Chiu, MD, PhD

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

Angelo D'Alessandro, PhD

ANGELO D'ALLESSANDRO, PHD

Affiliate Investigator, Vitalant Research Institute, Denver CO USA

Angelo D’Alessandro, PhD is an Associate 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

SHELLEY FACENTE, PHD

Affiliate Investigator, Vitalant Research Institute
Principal Consultant, Facente Consulting

Shelley Facente is a PhD level infectious disease epidemiologist and 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, MD

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, PhD

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

Willi McFarland, MD, PhD, MPH, & TM

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

Daniel Scholes Rosenbloom, PhD

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

Christopher C Silliman, MD, PhD

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.

Phillip Williamson, PhD

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
Eric Delwart, PhD

ERIC DELWART, PHD

Senior Investigator, Molecular Virology, Vitalant Research Institute, San Francisco, CA

Eric Delwart, PhD, is a senior investigator at the Vitalant Research Institute and adjunct professor in laboratory medicine at UCSF. He earned his undergraduate degree in biochemistry and genetics at Newcastle University in the UK and his MSc in molecular biology at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. He was then a research assistant at Genentech in South San Francisco before completing his PhD from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He was a post-doc at Stanford University and assistant professor at NYU and Rockefeller University before joining VRI.

Research Interests:

Viral discovery is performed on human, animals, biologics, and environmental samples using viral particle enrichment, random nucleic acid amplification, and deep sequencing followed by bioinformatics analysis for the presence of viral sequences. Through local, national, and international collaborations, biological samples from humans and mammals with unexplained symptoms of possible infectious origins are analyzed for the presence of known and new viruses.
Viral discovery was initiated at the Research Institute in 2004 with the characterization of a previously unknown human parvovirus commonly found in the blood of people with blood exposure, such as injection drug users and hemophiliacs. We have since sequenced numerous genomes of human, animal, insect or unknown cellular origin. Following genome characterization and phylogenetic analysis, our goals are to measure viral prevalence, diversity, and pathogenicity. The Research Institute is equipped with an Illumina MiSeq and a high-performance computing platform for bioinformatics analyses, an example of which can be seen here.

Many human and animal diseases of likely infectious origin remain unexplained. Such diseases may be caused or aggravated by viruses for which genomes have not yet been characterized. Sequencing potential viral pathogen genomes provides the starting information required for studies to determine whether these viruses are associated with unexplained diseases using PCR, in situ hybridization, antibody staining and/or serology.

The complex viromes of different human as well as wild and domesticated animal populations are also characterized to allow future changes associated with disease outbreak to be rapidly identified.

A better definition of the many viruses circulating in different animal species will also help rapidly identify the origin of viral outbreaks from cross-species transmissions.
 

Shannon Kelly, PhD

SHANNON KELLY, PHD

Assistant Clinical Investigator, Vitalant Research Institute, San Francisco
Assistant Medical Director, Blood Centers of the Pacific

Dr. Kelly is a pediatric hematologist oncologist whose research interests are in transfusion and sickle cell disease. She is board certified in transfusion medicine and pediatric hematology oncology. Her current research is focusing on alloimmunization and tolerance induced by chronic erythrocytapheresis. She is an investigator in the NHLBI/NIH REDS-III transfusion safety and retrovirus donor program with a focus in Brazil and Tanzania. With Dr. Michael Busch (PrincipaI Investigator), Dr. Kelly is investigating the influence of sickle cell disease on HIV. She is performing in vitro experiments to determine if peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) collected from sickle cell disease (SCD) are less susceptible to HIV infection than PBMC collected from age, gender and race matched controls. Dr. Kelly is also Assistant Medical Director at Vitalant (formerly named Blood Centers of the Pacific), the Bay Area’s nonprofit blood service provider.

Research Interests:

  • Transfusion outcomes in children with hematologic/oncologic disorders
  • Alloimmunization in sickle cell anemia
  • Impact of erythrocytapheresis in sickle cell anemia
Establishing a Brazilian Sickle Cell Disease Cohort and Identifying Molecular Determinants of Response to Transfusions and Genetic Determinants of Alloimmunization

This project will develop a centralized electronic database of clinical, laboratory and transfusion information as well as a biospecimen repository for a cohort of ~7,000 sickle cell patients in Brazil.  Planned initial studies from this cohort include characterization of the immune modulation that occurs with transfusion and identification of single nucleotide polymorphisms that contribute to the risk of red blood cell alloimmunization in sickle cell anemia patients.

Gene Expression Profiles in Sickle Cell Disease

In order to characterize gene expression patterns in pediatric sickle cell patients, mRNA expression was quantified for patients at baseline, during crisis and post red blood cell transfusion. Evaluation of differential gene expression patterns in these clinical scenarios may further characterize the central pathways involved in sickle cell pathophysiology as well as those pathways impacted by transfusion therapy.

Alloimmunization of Pediatric Sickle Cell Patients on a Chronic Transfusion Program: Impact of Erythrocytapheresis

The alloimmunization rates of pediatric sickle cell patients in chronic transfusion programs were examined to determine differences in rates of antibody formation between patients on simple and exchange programs.

 

Nareg Roubinian, MD, MPHTM

Nareg Roubinian, MD, MPHTM

Assistant Clinical Investigator, Vitalant Research Institute, San Francisco
Adjunct Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research
Assistant Adjunct Professor, UCSF Department of Laboratory Medicine

Nareg Roubinian, MD, MPHTM, is a clinical investigator with appointments at the Research Institute, the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Dr. Roubinian received his BS from the University of California, Berkeley and his MD from the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Washington University in St. Louis, and his fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine at UCSF.

Research Interests:

Pulmonary Transfusion Reactions
Pulmonary transfusion reactions are important complications of blood transfusions yet differentiating these clinical syndromes remains diagnostically challenging. Within the NHLBI-funded Recipient Epidemiology Donor Evaluation Study-III (REDS-III), I helped lead the Severe Transfusion Reactions Including Pulmonary Edema (STRIPE) study of pulmonary transfusion reactions, such as transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI) and transfusion-associated circulatory overload (TACO). As part of STRIPE and parallel studies including TRALI SCCOR, we have been examining the role of laboratory biomarkers in identifying individuals at highest risk of developing a transfusion-related pulmonary complication with the goal of improving the specificity of definitions of these clinical syndromes.

Clinical Outcomes of Blood Transfusion
Our work with the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research has been relevant to the understanding of clinical transfusion practice. The integrated and granular nature of this study setting has also provided the opportunity to study the impact of blood conservation and associated anemia on resource utilization and subsequent hospitalization. We have utilized the expertise in our collaboration to improve methodology of observational data in transfusion medicine and to develop tools to predict blood utilization using readily available discharge data and to help inform evidence-based guidelines for RBC transfusion.

Mohamed Abdel-Mohsen PhD

MOHAMED ABDEL-MOHSEN PHD

Assistant Professor, Wistar Institute

Charles Chiu, MD, PhD

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

Angelo D'Alessandro, PhD

ANGELO D'ALLESSANDRO, 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

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.

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

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, PhD

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

Willi McFarland, MD, PhD, MPH, & TM

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

Daniel Scholes Rosenbloom, PhD

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

Christopher C Silliman, MD, PhD

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.

Phillip Williamson, PhD

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
Eric Delwart, PhD

ERIC DELWART, PHD

Senior Investigator, Molecular Virology, Vitalant Research Institute, San Francisco, CA

Eric Delwart, PhD, is a senior investigator at the Vitalant Research Institute and adjunct professor in laboratory medicine at UCSF. He earned his undergraduate degree in biochemistry and genetics at Newcastle University in the UK and his MSc in molecular biology at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. He was then a research assistant at Genentech in South San Francisco before completing his PhD from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He was a post-doc at Stanford University and assistant professor at NYU and Rockefeller University before joining VRI.

Research Interests:
Viral discovery is performed on human, animals, biologics, and environmental samples using viral particle enrichment, random nucleic acid amplification, and deep sequencing followed by bioinformatics analysis for the presence of viral sequences. Through local, national, and international collaborations, biological samples from humans and mammals with unexplained symptoms of possible infectious origins are analyzed for the presence of known and new viruses.
Viral discovery was initiated at the Research Institute in 2004 with the characterization of a previously unknown human parvovirus commonly found in the blood of people with blood exposure, such as injection drug users and hemophiliacs. We have since sequenced numerous genomes of human, animal, insect or unknown cellular origin. Following genome characterization and phylogenetic analysis, our goals are to measure viral prevalence, diversity, and pathogenicity. The Research Institute is equipped with an Illumina MiSeq and a high-performance computing platform for bioinformatics analyses, an example of which can be seen here.

Many human and animal diseases of likely infectious origin remain unexplained. Such diseases may be caused or aggravated by viruses for which genomes have not yet been characterized. Sequencing potential viral pathogen genomes provides the starting information required for studies to determine whether these viruses are associated with unexplained diseases using PCR, in situ hybridization, antibody staining and/or serology.

The complex viromes of different human as well as wild and domesticated animal populations are also characterized to allow future changes associated with disease outbreak to be rapidly identified.

A better definition of the many viruses circulating in different animal species will also help rapidly identify the origin of viral outbreaks from cross-species transmissions.
 

Shannon Kelly, PhD

SHANNON KELLY, PHD

Assistant Clinical Investigator, Vitalant Research Institute, San Francisco
Assistant Medical Director, Blood Centers of the Pacific

Dr. Kelly is a pediatric hematologist oncologist whose research interests are in transfusion and sickle cell disease. She is board certified in transfusion medicine and pediatric hematology oncology. Her current research is focusing on alloimmunization and tolerance induced by chronic erythrocytapheresis. She is an investigator in the NHLBI/NIH REDS-III transfusion safety and retrovirus donor program with a focus in Brazil and Tanzania. With Dr. Michael Busch (PrincipaI Investigator), Dr. Kelly is investigating the influence of sickle cell disease on HIV. She is performing in vitro experiments to determine if peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) collected from sickle cell disease (SCD) are less susceptible to HIV infection than PBMC collected from age, gender and race matched controls. Dr. Kelly is also Assistant Medical Director at Vitalant (formerly named Blood Centers of the Pacific), the Bay Area’s nonprofit blood service provider.
Research Interests:

  • Transfusion outcomes in children with hematologic/oncologic disorders
  • Alloimmunization in sickle cell anemia
  • Impact of erythrocytapheresis in sickle cell anemia

Establishing a Brazilian Sickle Cell Disease Cohort and Identifying Molecular Determinants of Response to Transfusions and Genetic Determinants of Alloimmunization

This project will develop a centralized electronic database of clinical, laboratory and transfusion information as well as a biospecimen repository for a cohort of ~7,000 sickle cell patients in Brazil.  Planned initial studies from this cohort include characterization of the immune modulation that occurs with transfusion and identification of single nucleotide polymorphisms that contribute to the risk of red blood cell alloimmunization in sickle cell anemia patients.

Gene Expression Profiles in Sickle Cell Disease

In order to characterize gene expression patterns in pediatric sickle cell patients, mRNA expression was quantified for patients at baseline, during crisis and post red blood cell transfusion. Evaluation of differential gene expression patterns in these clinical scenarios may further characterize the central pathways involved in sickle cell pathophysiology as well as those pathways impacted by transfusion therapy.

Alloimmunization of Pediatric Sickle Cell Patients on a Chronic Transfusion Program: Impact of Erythrocytapheresis

The alloimmunization rates of pediatric sickle cell patients in chronic transfusion programs were examined to determine differences in rates of antibody formation between patients on simple and exchange programs.

Nareg Roubinian, MD, MPHTM

Nareg Roubinian, MD, MPHTM

Assistant Clinical Investigator, Vitalant Research Institute, San Francisco
Adjunct Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research
Assistant Adjunct Professor, UCSF Department of Laboratory Medicine

Nareg Roubinian, MD, MPHTM, is a clinical investigator with appointments at the Research Institute, the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Dr. Roubinian received his BS from the University of California, Berkeley and his MD from the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Washington University in St. Louis, and his fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine at UCSF.

Research Interests:

Pulmonary Transfusion Reactions
Pulmonary transfusion reactions are important complications of blood transfusions yet differentiating these clinical syndromes remains diagnostically challenging. Within the NHLBI-funded Recipient Epidemiology Donor Evaluation Study-III (REDS-III), I helped lead the Severe Transfusion Reactions Including Pulmonary Edema (STRIPE) study of pulmonary transfusion reactions, such as transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI) and transfusion-associated circulatory overload (TACO). As part of STRIPE and parallel studies including TRALI SCCOR, we have been examining the role of laboratory biomarkers in identifying individuals at highest risk of developing a transfusion-related pulmonary complication with the goal of improving the specificity of definitions of these clinical syndromes.

Clinical Outcomes of Blood Transfusion
Our work with the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research has been relevant to the understanding of clinical transfusion practice. The integrated and granular nature of this study setting has also provided the opportunity to study the impact of blood conservation and associated anemia on resource utilization and subsequent hospitalization. We have utilized the expertise in our collaboration to improve methodology of observational data in transfusion medicine and to develop tools to predict blood utilization using readily available discharge data and to help inform evidence-based guidelines for RBC transfusion.