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Senior Investigator at Versiti Awarded More Than $3 million for Work at Blood Research Institute

Senior Investigator at Versiti Awarded More Than $3 million for Work at Blood Research Institute

October 12, 2020

Today, Versiti, Inc., a national leader in blood health innovation, announced that Bonnie Dittel, PhD, a senior investigator at Versiti’s Blood Research Institute, has been selected as a 2020 grant recipient of the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) High-Risk, High-Reward Research program. More specifically, Dr. Dittle has been awarded the NIH Director’s Transformative Research Award with a grant totaling over $3 million to help develop a first-of-its kind treatment for autoimmune diseases. The treatment could hold promise for patients suffering from diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

“I am very honored to receive the National Institutes of Health Director’s Transformative Research Award, which recognizes research that has the potential to create or challenge existing paradigms,” says Dittel. “Our goal is to develop a universal cellular therapy for the treatment of autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, which is based on our findings characterizing a new B cell subset important for dampening inflammatory responses. This award would not have been possible without the support of the Versiti Blood Research Institute Foundation.”

Established in 2009, the Director’s Transformative Research Award, part of the NIH High-Risk, High-Reward Research Program, promotes cross-cutting, interdisciplinary approaches and is open to individuals and teams of investigators who propose research that could potentially create or challenge existing paradigms.

The National Institutes of Health has awarded 85 grants through its High-Risk, High-Reward Research (HRHR) program that will fund highly innovative and unusually impactful biomedical or behavioral research proposed by extraordinarily creative scientists. Examples of supported research include understanding the role of neighborhoods on urban substance abuse, brain-machine interfaces that allow learning by both brain and machine, engineering multi-organs in a dish, and exploiting latent immune pathways to treat disease. The 85 awards total approximately $251 million over five years, pending available funds.

Versiti, a national leader in blood health innovation, was formed with the mission to improve the health of patients and enable the success of our health care partners nationally. We provide innovative, value added solutions in the fields of transfusion medicine, transplantation, and blood-related diseases to meet the needs of each of our customers. The collective efforts across Versiti result in improved patient outcomes, expanded access to care and cost efficiencies for health care systems nationwide. For more information, visit


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