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For Immediate Release
August 22, 2016
AABB Communications Department
Magda Yang
National Blood Foundation Announces Early-Career Grants for 2016

Bethesda, Md. – AABB’s National Blood Foundation (NBF), today announced the names of five early-career researchers who will receive NBF Scientific Research Grants in 2016.

Each of the awardees: Angelo D’Alessandro, PhD; David Gibb, MD, PhD; Mobin Karimi, MD, PhD; Troy Lund, MD, PhD; and Sandhya Panch, MBBS, MPH, will receive up to $75,000 to further one- or two-year research projects in transfusion medicine, cellular therapies or patient blood management.

“Since 1985, the NBF has awarded over $9 million in grants to more than 200 early career researchers through its Scientific Research Grants Program,” said Jeanne Hendrickson, MD, Chair of the NBF Grants Review Committee. “NBF grants are instrumental in providing support to these investigators at critical junctures in their careers, for exploration of cutting-edge topics that can advance transfusion medicine, cellular therapies, and patient blood management.”

The topics and scope of the five research projects recognized this year are summarized below.

Angelo D’Alessandro, PhD, University of Colorado Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus
The Role of Adenosine Signaling in the Preservation of Energy Metabolism of Stored Erythrocytes.

The project proposes an integrated metabolomics, proteomics and functional approach to investigate the role of adenosine signaling through the ADORA2B/AMPK axis in mouse and human red blood cells during storage under blood bank conditions. We hypothesize that genetic or pharmacological manipulation of the adenosine/ADORA2B/AMPK signaling cascade may ameliorate energy metabolism and reduce the storage lesion.

David Gibb, MD, PhD, Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Laboratory Medicine  
Characterizing Innate Immune Mechanisms Underlying the Link Between Inflammation and RBC Alloimmunization.

Red blood cell (RBC) alloimmunization can lead to potentially fatal hemolysis. Alloimmunization is
influenced by numerous factors, including recipient inflammation. We will investigate mechanisms
underlying the role of Type 1 interferons in promoting RBC alloimmunization. This knowledge could improve transfusion safety by allowing for personalized transfusion protocols for at risk patients.

Mobin Karimi, MD, PhD, University of Pennsylvania
Separation of GVHD from GVT Responses by Modulation of T Cell Signaling Pathways.

Cellular therapies such as allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT) represent important
therapeutic strategies against malignancies. Thus, understanding the molecular basis of tumor-directed cytotoxicity by T cells is critical. In this proposal, I will investigate the role/mechanism of the transcription factor Eomesodermin in regulating cytotoxic responses of T cells after allo-BMT.

Troy Lund, MD, PhD, University of Minnesota
Adipokine Regulation of Hematopoietic Cell Homing.                                                      

Very little research has addressed mediators that impede in homing/engraftment of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPC). Our preliminary data suggest that a specific adipokine, dermatopontin (DPT), is upregulated in response to myeloablative radiation and impedes transendothelial migration of HSPC leading to our specific hypothesis that DPT is a negative regulator of HSPC homing.

Sandhya Panch, MBBS, MPH, Cell Processing Section, Dept. of Transfusion Medicine, NIH
Barcoded Macaque Transplants: A Novel Approach to Study Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cell (HUVEC) Expanded Hematopoietic Stem and Progenitor Cell (HSPC) Engraftment and Repopulation Kinetics.

Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells(HUVEC) can be used to expand Hematopoietic Stem and
Progenitor Cells (HSPC) ex-vivo and are of direct relevance to cord blood transplantation and gene
therapy. We developed HUVEC co-culture modulated rhesus macaque HSPC expansion. Our novel primate autologous transplantation model will track clonal behavior of barcoded HUVEC-expanded HSPCs in-vivo over time.
The NBF is now accepting applications for the 2017 Scientific Research Grants. Grant applications are available on the NBF Web page (, or by contacting the NBF at +1.301.215.6552 or Applications must be received by Dec. 1, 2016. Grant awards will be announced in June 2017 and funded in early July 2017.

About The National Blood Foundation

AABB’s National Blood Foundation (NBF), established in 1983, fuels innovation in transfusion medicine and cellular therapies for the benefit of patients and donors through grant making, educational offerings and industry leadership engagement and recognition. NBF encourages innovation through early-career scientific research grants and strategic research and education grants. Both grant programs supplement AABB’s mission to further develop transfusion medicine, cellular therapies and regenerative medicine science.

About AABB

AABB is an international, not-for-profit association representing individuals and institutions involved in transfusion medicine, cellular therapies and patient blood management. The association is committed to improving health by developing and delivering standards, accreditation and educational programs that focus on optimizing patient and donor care and safety. AABB membership consists of nearly 1,500 institutions and 7,500 individuals, including physicians, nurses, scientists, researchers, administrators, medical technologists and other health care providers. Members are located in more than 80 countries. For more information, visit

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