With donor and patient safety always as our top priority, Vitalant Research Institute leads the way in understanding new threats to blood safety and helping to find practical applications of new knowledge in transfusion biology. Established nearly 60 years ago, our world-renowned Research Institute engages in studies related to blood safety and efficacy with particular expertise in epidemiology, public health policy, molecular biology, immunology, virology, cell processing and cell therapy. 

Some 70 scientific investigators and support staff occupy our main state-of-the-art facility in San Francisco, comprising 9,000 square feet of laboratories and a 2,200-square-foot sample repository with capacity to store more than one million specimens. 

In 2016, the Research Institute established a campus in Denver to focus on the development of novel transfusion therapeutics and methodologies with two investigators and eight staff who work in partnership with colleagues at our San Francisco site and in industry.

Advancing Blood Safety Worldwide

The Research Institute is one of the largest blood-center-based transfusion medicine research programs in the U.S. and is among the leading programs in the world with respect to transfusion-transmitted infectious diseases. Our distinguished investigators are dedicated to advancing blood safety worldwide through scientific research, education and the promotion of evidence-based policies, testing strategies and cutting-edge technologies.

Numerous grant-funded studies, supported by the National Institutes of Health, the FDA and the CDC, among others, are conducted within our facilities in collaboration with scientists at multiple universities and blood organizations.

Other Research 

Vitalant physicians constantly work to improve patient and donor safety. As a proactive measure, in 2016, Vitalant began ferritin testing blood donations from all 16-, 17- and 18-year-old donors. Ferritin testing provides a reliable measure of how much iron is stored in the body. Our physicians have reported the results of this safety initiative to share the success of this measure to promote good iron health in young donors.

In addition, our research initiatives work to unravel the mysteries of human blood. Our blood center in Pittsburgh—formerly the Institute for Transfusion Medicine—has partnered with the University of Pittsburgh to fund research in hemostasis and vascular biology and perform joint research to further our understanding of blood and blood disorders while creating opportunities for new and more effective treatments. Our partnership with the University of Pittsburgh enables us to conduct more extensive clinical and translational research, which directly impacts the patients and donors we serve.