Connie Westhoff, SBB, PhD


Member, Lab Head

Research Area

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.

Contact Information

Phone: +1 (212) 570-3205


Blood Group Genomics

Lab Personnel

  • Hyunryung Hong, Research Technologist
  • Judith Aeschlimann, Research Technologist III

Funding Support

Doris Duke Foundation Innovations in Clinical Research Award. Expanding Genomic Approaches for Transfusion Therapy for Patients with Sickle Cell Disease
The goal of this project is to extend our single center study on RH diversity (below) and association with alloimmunization to a national cohort consisting of five other centers, and to apply next generation sequencing technology and bioinformatics approaches to characterize RH genes and validate with RH genotyping performed by DNA array and traditional Sanger sequencing. 

R01   HL130764-01 NHLBI/NIH Clinical Grade Cultured Rare Red Blood Cells as Reagents and Future Transfusion Support
This project seeks to develop new culture methods to expand hematopoietic cells harvested from peripheral blood and to generate iPSCs from rare blood donors that are useful as reagent red cells as proof of principal to provide rare blood for transfusion.