Research Faculty

630 West 168th Street
Room P&S 15-408
New York, NY 10032

Phone: 212-305-2204
Fax: 212-305-3693
Education and Training
M.D. 1978 University of Chicago
Research Fellowship 1980-81 University
of Rochester
Research Fellowship 1983-85 National Institutes of Health
Residency 1978-80 University of
Rochester School of Medicine
Residency 1981-83 University of
Rochester School of Medicine
Steven Spitalnik, M.D.
Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology
Vice Chairman, Laboratory Medicine
Research Summary

My research program in the Laboratory of Transfusion Biology uses in vitro systems, mouse models, and human studies to investigate important problems related to red blood cell biology. We are particularly interested in improving the quality of red blood cell transfusions, and preventing or ameliorating the adverse effects resulting from this therapeutic intervention. As a result, we study the consequences of refrigerated storage, alloimmunization, and hemolytic transfusion reactions. We have a particular interest in the role of oxidative stress during refrigerated storage of red blood cells and its effects on red blood cell storage quality. In addition, we study the role of iron deficiency, iron supplementation, and iron metabolism in the biology of malaria, bacterial infections, and co-infections of malaria with bacterial pathogens. Results from these studies provided the impetus for the “iron hypothesis” to explain some of the adverse effects of red blood cell transfusion, particularly with regard to infectious disease.


Service Activities

Director of Laboratory Medicine with subspecialty interest and expertise in transfusion medicine

As Director of Clinical Laboratories at the CUMC campus of the NYPH, I coordinate the clinical service, educational, and scholarly activities of our division.

Selected Publications

1. Hod EA, Zhang N, Sokol SA, Wojczyk BS, Francis RO, Ansaldi D, Francis KP, Della-Latta P, Whittier S, Sheth S, Hendrickson JE, Zimring JC, Brittenham GM, Spitalnik SL. Transfusion of red blood cells after prolonged storage produces harmful effects that are mediated by iron and inflammation. Blood 115:4284-4292, 2010.

2. Jang J-E, Hod EA, Spitalnik SL, Frenette PS. CXCL1 and its receptor, CXCR2, mediate murine sickle cell vaso-occlusion during hemolytic transfusion reactions. Journal of Clinical Investigation 121:1397-1401, 2011.

3. Hendrickson JE, Hod EA, Cadwell CM, Eisenbarth SC, Spiegel DA, Tormey CA, Spitalnik SL, Zimring JC. Rapid clearance of transfused murine RBCs is associated with recipient cytokine storm and enhanced alloimmunogenicity. Transfusion 51: 2445-2454, 2011.

4. Hod EA, Brittenham GM, Billote GB, Francis RO, Ginzburg YZ, Hendrickson JE, Jhang J, Schwartz J, Sharma S, Sheth S, Sireci AN, Stephens HL, Stotler BA, Wojczyk BS, Zimring JC, Spitalnik SL. Transfusion of human volunteers with older, stored red blood cells produces extravascular hemolysis and circulating non-transferrin-bound iron. Blood 118:6675-6682, 2011.

5. Smith NH, Hod EA, Spitalnik SL, Zimring JC, Hendrickson JE. Transfusion in the absence of inflammation induces antigen specific tolerance to murine RBCs. Blood 119:1566-1569, 2012.

6. Liepkalns JS, Hod EA, Cadwell CM, Spitalnik SL, Zimring JC. Biphasic clearance of incompatible red blood cells through a novel mechanism requiring neither complement nor Fc-gamma receptors in a murine model. Transfusion 52:2631-2645, 2012.

7. Francis RO, Jhang J, Hendrickson JE, Zimring JC, Hod EA, Spitalnik SL. Frequency of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficient packed red blood cell units in a metropolitan transfusion service. Transfusion 53:606-611, 2013.

8. Liepkalns JS, Cadwell CM, Stowell SR, Hod EA, Spitalnik SL, Zimring JC. Resistance of a subset of RBCs to clearance by antibodies in a mouse model of incompatible transfusion. Transfusion 53:13-19-1327, 2013.

9. Francis RO, Jhang J, Pham HP, Hod EA, Zimring JC, Spitalnik SL. Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase-Deficient Red Blood Cell Transfusions: The Unknown Risk for the Recipient. Vox Sanguinis 105:271-282, 2013.

10. Zimring JC, Spitalnik SL. On the appropriate use and interpretation of animal models in transfusion medicine research. Transfusion 53:2334-2339, 2013.

Honors and Awards

1974 - Phi Beta Kappa, Princeton University

1989-1992 - Mallinckrodt Scholar

1995 - Peter C. Nowell Teaching Award, University of Pennsylvania

1996 - Leonard Berwick Memorial Teaching Award, University of Pennsylvania

1998 - Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Teaching Award, University of Pennsylvania

2002 - Faculty Mentor Award, 4th Annual Marvin J. Hoffman Day, University of Rochester

2003 - Eric A. Schenk Award for Excellence in Teaching, University of Rochester

2005- Gerald T. Evans Award for outstanding leadership and service to the Academy, Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists

2013- Graham A. Jamieson Memorial Lectureship, American Red Cross

2013- Emily Cooley Award and Lectureship, American Association of Blood Banks

Committees , Council, and Professional Society Memberships

Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists

Representative to the Council of Academic Societies

American Association of Blood Banks

American Society for Clinical Investigation

American Society of Investigational Pathology

International Glycoconjugate Society

Society for Glycobiology

Society for Leukocyte Biology

American Society of Hematology

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