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For Immediate Release
August 03, 2017
AABB Communications Department
Jay Lewis
National Blood Foundation Announces 2017 Early-Career Grant Recipients

Bethesda, Md. — AABB’s National Blood Foundation (NBF) is pleased to announce that the recipients of the 2017 early-career scientific research grants are Benjamin Samelson-Jones, MD, PhD, and Juliana Xavier-Ferrucio, PhD.

The two recipients will each receive a grant of up to $75,000 to further a one- or two-year research project. These are the latest researchers to receive funding from the NBF, which has promoted early-career research in the fields of transfusion medicine, cellular therapies and patient blood management for more than 30 years.

“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 scopes of this year’s recipients’ research are summarized below:

Benjamin Samelson-Jones, MD, PhD
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Philadelphia, PA

Project Title: "Novel Therapeutics for Hemophilia B: A Rational Pursuit of Bioengineered Factor IX Variants with Enhanced Clotting Activity."

Summary of Proposed Research:
A rational strategy, based on studies of Factor IX (FIX) R338L, will be used to identify new hyperactive FIX variants. New variants will be biochemically characterized utilizing recombinant protein and the in vivo hemostatic efficacy and immunogenicity will be determined. This approach is anticipated to develop highly translatable FIX variants with enhanced activity and comparable immunogenicity for use in hemophilia B therapeutics.

Juliana Xavier-Ferrucio, PhD
Yale University
New Haven, CT

Project Title: "Megakaryocyte erythroid progenitor fate specification under iron and oxygen deficiency."

Summary of Proposed Research:
There is a dearth of information regarding how megakaryocyte-erythroid progenitor cells (MEP) make their fate decisions toward megakaryocyte (Mk) or erythroid (E) lineages. This project aims to study iron deficiency anemia as a model of benign elevated platelet and reduced red blood cells (RBCs), with a novel focus on the molecular mechanisms of the MEP biphenotypic fate decision. This could help improve strategies for in vitro maturation of RBCs and platelets for transfusion.

AABB and the NBF congratulate this year’s awardees. In addition, the NBF is now accepting applications for the 2018 Early-Career Scientific Research Grants. Grant applications are available on the NBF web page ( or by contacting the NBF at +1.301.215.6552 or Applications for 2018 must be received by Dec. 1, 2017.

About the National Blood Foundation

AABB’s National Blood Foundation (NBF), established in 1983, serves the fields of transfusion medicine and cellular therapies through grant making, educational offerings and industry leadership engagement and recognition.

About AABB

AABB is an international, not-for-profit association representing individuals and institutions involved in the fields of transfusion medicine and cellular therapies. The association is committed to improving health through the development and delivery of standards, accreditation and educational programs that focus on optimizing patient and donor care and safety. AABB membership includes physicians, nurses, scientists, researchers, administrators, medical technologists and other health care providers. AABB members are located in more than 80 countries and AABB accredits institutions in more than 50 countries.

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