Connie Westhoff, SBB, PhD
Executive Scientific Director, National Center for Blood Group Genomics
Head, Laboratory of Blood Group Genomics
Member, Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute
The primary focus of the laboratory is to improve transfusion practice through the use of genomics to bring personalized medicine to the field with a focus on patients with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD). The discovery that patients with SCD have increase RH genetic diversity has led to our current studies to address alloimmunization by implementing genetic matching.
A second focus is on the production of cultured RBCs (cRBCs) from stem and iPS cells, which hold the promise of revolutionizing the existing RBC supply system, however the number of cells and the cost of production remain major road blocks. Our goal is to generate clinically useful rare reagent cRBCs to improve and expedite patient workups. This lays the foundation for the future by providing clinically useful products that require relatively small amounts achievable with today’s technology.
- Hyunryung Hong, Research Technologist
- Judith Aeschlimann, Research Technologist III
- NIH U01HL13469 PI: Chou; NYBC Subcontract PI (Westhoff) 09/15/2016 – 05/31/2023 “Improving transfusion for patients with sickle cell disease with pluripotent stem cell derived erythrocytes”
- NIH R01HL130764 PI: Bouhassira /Westhoff 09/15/2015-05/31/2019 " Clinical Grade Cultured Rare Red Blood Cells as Reagents and Future Transfusion Support"
- Doris Duke Foundation Innovations in Clinical Research Award PI: Chou/ Westhoff 01/01/2011-12/31/2017 "Expanding Genomic Approaches for Transfusion Therapy for Patients with Sickle Cell Disease"
- NIH R01 HL140625 An, Lobo, Westhoff (Multi-PI) 12/15/2017-11/30/2021 "Use of forward genetic approaches to identify Babesia receptors”